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February 2022 Archive | Most Recent Court of Appeals Summaries

For summaries from opinions prior to August, 2018, view PDF versions here

Opinion Summaries

Case No. 21-0992:  In the Matter of the Guardianship of B.B.

Filed Feb 22, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-0992

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Davis County, William Owens, Associate Juvenile Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Vaitheswaran and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (9 pages)

            The father, Q.B., appeals the appointment of a guardian for his seventeen-year-old child, B.B., contending the statutory requirements for appointment of a guardian have not been met and the court did not properly consider the parental preference.  OPINION HOLDS: On our de novo review, we disagree with both contentions.  We affirm.

Case No. 19-0911:  State of Iowa v. Anthony Alexander Mong

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 19-0911

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, William P. Kelly, Judge.  REVERSED IN PART, AFFIRMED ON CONDITION IN PART, AND REMANDED.  Heard by Bower, C.J., Tabor, J., and Mullins, S.J.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (20 pages)

            Anthony Mong appeals his convictions for attempted murder, intimidation with a dangerous weapon, willful injury causing bodily injury, and going armed with intent.  OPINION HOLDS: Because Mong did not have the benefit of the Plain/Lilly/Veal line of cases, and because he is entitled to access the information needed to enforce his constitutional right to a jury trial and was not given access to that information, we will remand to give him an opportunity to develop his arguments.  We affirm in the court’s denial of Mong’s motion to compel.  Finally, there is no evidence of a specific intent to harm or kill Shane Woods and, thus, there is insufficient evidence to support the charges of for attempted murder, intimidation with a dangerous weapon, and willful injury causing bodily injury.  We reverse those convictions.  We conditionally affirm the conviction for going armed with intent and remand the matter to the district court for development of the record on the challenge to the composition of the jury.  Following development of the record, we direct the district court to determine whether Mong’s constitutional right to a representative jury was violated.  If so, the court shall grant a new trial.

Case No. 19-1649:  State of Iowa v. Toby Lee McCunn

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 19-1649

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Page County, Margaret Reyes and Jeffrey L. Larson, Judges.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Tabor, P.J., and Greer and Ahlers, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J. (23 pages)

            Toby McCunn appeals his conviction for murder in the first degree.  He contends (1) the court did not properly instruct the jury on justification; (2) the court should have moved the trial from Page County; (3) the jury was biased because the court failed to strike a juror for cause; and (4) the court should have excluded prior bad acts evidence.  OPINION HOLDS: We find no basis for reversal in the jury instructions, the court’s decision not to change venue, its refusal to strike juror R.Y. for cause, or the admission of prior bad acts evidence.  So we affirm.

Case No. 19-1715:  Michael A. LaJeunesse v. State of Iowa

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 19-1715

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Robert B. Hanson, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., Vaitheswaran, J., and Danilson, S.J.  Opinion by Danilson, S.J.  (8 pages)

            Michael Lajeunesse appeals the denial of his application for postconviction relief (PCR), contending his trial and appellate counsel were ineffective.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the denial of Lajeunesse’s PCR application.

Case No. 20-0323:  State of Iowa v. David M. Boggs

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 20-0323

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Cass County, Jeffrey L. Larson, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., May, J., and Vogel, S.J.  Opinion by May, J.  (2 pages)

            David Boggs appeals an order denying his motion to extinguish his restitution obligation.  OPINION HOLDS: Boggs raised an identical argument in a prior appeal, in which we affirmed.  Because his claims are identical, we affirm again and without further opinion.

Case No. 20-0636:  Mar'yo Doyuan Lindsey, Jr. v. State of Iowa

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 20-0636

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Andrea Dryer, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by May, P.J., Ahlers, J., and Mullins, S.J.  Opinion by Ahlers, J.  (8 pages)

            Mar’yo Lindsey appeals the district court’s denial of his postconviction relief application.  OPINION HOLDS: Lindsey failed to preserve error on one of his ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims.  All others are denied on their merits.  We do not reach the merits of Lindsey’s claims regarding the district court’s refusal to keep the record open to obtain testimony from an alleged alibi witness who was subpoenaed for the hearing but failed to appear.  The denial of his application is affirmed.

Case No. 20-0908:  Joshua McDonald v. State of Iowa

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 20-0908

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Lawrence P. McLellan, Judge.  AFFIRMED AND REMANDED FOR FURTHER PROCEEDINGS.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Badding, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J.  (8 pages)

            Joshua McDonald appeals from the dismissal of his application for postconviction relief (PCR).  Despite the fact he was not convicted, but instead held in contempt, McDonald argues that he is entitled to PCR.  Alternatively, he argues the case should have proceeded as a habeas corpus claim.  OPINION HOLDS:  Because McDonald was not convicted of a public offense, PCR is not available to him.  We affirm the dismissal and remand to address the motions still pending in his contempt case. 

Case No. 20-1098:  State of Iowa v. Quintarius Brown

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 20-1098

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Andrea Dryer, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Schumacher, P.J., and Badding, J., and Gamble, S.J.   Opinion by Schumacher, P.J. (17 pages)

            Quintarius Brown appeals his convictions and sentences for first-degree murder and first-degree robbery.  OPINION HOLDS: We find the district court did not err by overruling Brown’s hearsay objections.  The court did not abuse its discretion by permitting the State to present evidence of Brown’s Facebook messages or a video Brown sent to a friend.  The court properly denied Brown’s motion for new trial.  The court did not abuse its discretion in ordering Brown to serve consecutive sentences.  We affirm Brown’s convictions and sentences.

Case No. 20-1121:  In re the Marriage of McCabe

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 20-1121

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Floyd County, Chris Foy, Judge.  AFFIRMED AS MODIFIED AND REMANDED.  Considered by May, P.J., Ahlers, J., and Mullins, S.J.  Opinion by Mullins, S.J.  (15 pages)

            Brandon McCabe appeals, and Lori McCabe cross-appeals, the decree dissolving their marriage.  Brandon argues the district court erred in failing to enforce the parties’ premarital agreement, inequitably distributing property, modifying the amount of child-support, and awarding attorney fees.  Lori argues on cross-appeal that the district court erred in failing to award spousal-support, a premarital property credit should not have been given, and the district court miscalculated Brandon’s income for the purposes of child support.  OPINION HOLDS: On our de novo review of the record, we find the parties’ prenuptial agreement was unconscionable at the time of execution and is unenforceable.  The district court’s property distribution appropriately considered the value of assets the parties brought to the marriage as a factor in its exercise of equitable distribution.  The distribution of real property was equitable.  The district court’s award of child support was appropriate and equitable, but we modify the decree to vacate the upward deviation and remand to the district court for further proceedings.  Following our consideration of the property distribution, we agree that no spousal support was warranted.  We affirm the award of trial attorney fees and find each party should be responsible for their own appellate attorney fees.  Costs on appeal shall be split equally between the parties.

Case No. 20-1173:  State of Iowa v. Todd Michael Mullis

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 20-1173

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Delaware County, Thomas A. Bitter, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Schumacher, P.J., Badding, J., and Gamble, S.J.  Opinion by Gamble, S.J.  (16 pages)

            Todd Mullis appeals his conviction for first-degree murder.  He challenges the sufficiency of the evidence and the district court’s denial of his motion for new trial.  OPINION HOLDS: The State presented sufficient evidence of Mullis’s guilt.  And the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion for new trial.

Case No. 20-1290:  Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. v. Polk County Board of Review

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 20-1290

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Paul D. Scott, Judge.  REVERSED.  Heard by Schumacher, P.J., and Ahlers, J., and Mullins, S.J.  Opinion by Schumacher, P.J.  (13 pages)

            Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. (Nationwide) appeals the assessment for tax purposes of its property by the Polk County Board of Review (Board).  The district court affirmed the Board’s valuation.  OPINION HOLDS: Nationwide presented evidence from two disinterested witnesses to support its claim the actual value of the property was less than the assessed value and the burden then shifted to the Board to uphold the assessment.  The Board did not meet its burden because its experts did not rely on the sales approach to value the property.  Nationwide entered into a minimum assessment agreement that established the minimum actual value of the property and we determine this amount is the tax assessment value for the property.  We reverse the decision of the district court.

Case No. 20-1394:  Daryl Bortvit and Sheila Bortvit v. Donald Christensen, Roger Christensen and Christensen Construction & Design Company, Inc.

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 20-1394

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Emmet County, Carl J. Petersen, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Bower, C.J., Vaitheswaran, J., and Mullins, S.J.  Opinion by Vaitheswaran, J.  Greer, J., takes no part.  (6 pages)

            Plaintiffs appeal the district court’s order granting summary judgment in favor of defendants.  OPINION HOLDS: We conclude the loss sustained by plaintiffs was outside the remaining defendants’ scope of liability as a matter of law.  Accordingly, the district court did not err in granting their summary judgment motions.

Case No. 20-1408:  Thomas G. Ruthers, Jr. v. Iowa Department of Human Services, Civil Commitment Unit for Sex Offenders

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 20-1408

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Cherokee County, Nancy Whittenburg, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by May, P.J., Ahlers, J., and Vogel, S.J.  Opinion by Vogel, S.J.  (3 pages)

            Thomas Ruthers appeals the dismissal of his petition for judicial review of the treatment decision of the Iowa Department of Human Services, Civil Commitment Unit for Sex Offenders.  OPINION HOLDS: Ruthers did not preserve an argument regarding an annual review under Iowa Code section 229A.8 (2020).  Even if his argument were preserved, he did not file in the correct court for judicial review of an annual review.  Furthermore, in the record before us and the issues properly presented on appellate review, we find no due process violation.

Case No. 20-1465:  Malea D. Merchant v. Garrett Lee Wilson

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 20-1465

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Benton County, Chad A. Kepros, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by May, P.J., Ahlers, J., and Mullins, S.J.  Opinion by Ahlers, J.  (7 pages)

            Malea Merchant appeals the grant of summary judgment in favor of Garrett Wilson on the basis of defective service of original notice.  OPINION HOLDS: We find no genuine issue of material fact that the manner of service of original notice on Wilson was defective.  Serving Wilson’s mother at her residence at a time when Wilson did not live there is not effective substitute service.

Case No. 20-1551:  State of Iowa v. Patrick H. Booker, Jr.

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 20-1551

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dubuque County, Monica Zrinyi Wittig, Judge.  CONVICTIONS AFFIRMED, AMENDMENT TO SENTENCING ORDER VACATED.  Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and May, JJ.  Opinion by May, J. (12 pages)

            Patrick Booker appeals his conviction for third-degree sexual assault and the district court’s amended sentence.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the verdict was supported by sufficient evidence and the district court did not err in evidentiary rulings or juror challenges, we affirm the conviction.  But because the district court did not have jurisdiction to amend Booker’s sentence, we vacate the sentencing amendment.

Case No. 20-1607:  In re the Marriage of Erlandson

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 20-1607

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Melissa Anderson-Seeber, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Greer, P.J., Badding, J., and Potterfield, S.J.  Opinion by Badding, J.  (14 pages)

            Susan Erlandson appeals an adverse summary judgment ruling dismissing her petition to modify the property and spousal support provisions of the decree dissolving her marriage.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the district court correctly concluded it lacked authority to entertain the modification action, we affirm its summary judgment ruling. 

Case No. 20-1619:  McDermott Propane, LLC v. Board of Review of Dubuque County

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 20-1619

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dubuque County, Michael J. Shubatt, Judge.  REVERSED AND REMANDED WITH INSTRUCTIONS.  Heard by Schumacher, P.J., and Badding, J., and Gamble, S.J.  Opinion by Badding, J.  (14 pages)

            A propane distributor appeals a district court ruling affirming the Dubuque County Board of Review’s determination that three above-ground fuel storage tanks on its commercial property were taxable under Iowa Code section 427A.1 (2020).  OPINION HOLDS: Because the record shows the tanks were not attached to the property under section 427A.1(3) and thus not taxable as real property, we reverse the district court’s ruling and remand with instructions. 

Case No. 20-1703:  In re the Marriage of Shipp

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 20-1703

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Des Moines County, Mark Kruse, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and May, JJ.  Opinion by May, J.  (7 pages)

            Corina Shipp appeals the physical care provisions of her dissolution decree.  OPINION HOLDS: Like the district court, we conclude the father should have physical care of the parties’ child.

Case No. 21-0031:  Matthew Duane McGuire v. State of Iowa

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-0031

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, Roger L. Sailer, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Badding, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  (10 pages)

            Matthew McGuire appeals following the district court’s grant of summary disposition on his fourth application for postconviction relief.  He argues he “is entitled to a hearing to determine if the life without parole sentence upon him is grossly disproportionate to the crime he committed and is, thus, cruel and unusual punishment under the Iowa Constitution thereby making his sentence illegal,” a claim he raises for the first time on appeal.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the entry of summary disposition on McGuire’s application for postconviction relief, and we reject his challenge to his sentence as illegal.

Case No. 21-0097:  Michele Oldenburger v. Keith Oldenburger

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-0097

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Butler County, Gregg R. Rosenbladt, Judge.  AFFIRMED AS MODIFIED.  Heard by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and May, JJ.  Opinion by Vaitheswaran, J.  (13 pages)

            Michele Oldenburger appeals the financial provisions of the decree dissolving her marriage to Keith Oldenburger.  OPINION HOLDS: We modify the dissolution decree to require Keith to pay Michele a total of $2,347,415.92 in five equal installments of $457,024.36 over a period of five years, with the first payment to be made 180 days after procedendo issues and each payment thereafter to be made one year following the previous payment.

Case No. 21-0337:  In the Interest of R.G. and L.G., Minor Children

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-0337

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dallas County, Virginia Cobb, District Associate Judge.  REVERSED AND REMANDED WITH DIRECTIONS.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Tabor and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Schumacher, J.  (10 pages)

            A father appeals the district court order terminating his parental rights following a petition filed by the mother under Iowa Code chapter 232 (2019).  OPINION HOLDS: We find the district court did not have subject matter jurisdiction to consider the termination petition filed by the mother because she did not have standing to seek termination of the father’s parental rights under chapter 232.  We reverse the decision of the district court and remand with directions to dismiss the petition.

Case No. 21-0406:  Jason Bringus v. State of Iowa

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-0406

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Webster County, Angela L. Doyle, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and May, JJ.  Opinion by Vaitheswaran, P.J.  (4 pages)

            Jason Bringus appeals the denial of his application for postconviction relief, claiming his plea attorney “breached an essential duty by failing to procure a medical expert to testify on [his] behalf.”  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the denial of Bringus’ postconviction-relief application.

Case No. 21-0535:  Jonathan David Gordon v. State of Iowa

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-0535

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Johnson County, Chad A. Kepros, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and May, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, J.  (8 pages)

            Jonathan Gordon challenges the summary disposition of his postconviction-relief (PCR) petition.  OPINION HOLDS: Gordon failed to present genuine issues of material fact for any of his three PCR claims.  So summary disposition was proper.  We affirm.

Case No. 21-0586:  In re the Marriage of McClenathan

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-0586

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Poweshiek County, Lucy G. Gamon, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., Badding, J., and Gamble, S.J.  Opinion by Gamble, S.J.  (7 pages)

            Kelly Scott, formerly Kelly McClenathan, appeals the district court decision denying her application for modification of the child custody provisions of the parties’ dissolution decree.  OPINION HOLDS: Kelly has not shown a material change in circumstances outside of the court’s contemplation at the time of the dissolution decree nor the ability to provide superior care for the children at issue.  So we affirm the district court.  We also deny Kelly’s request for appellate attorney fees.

Case No. 21-0587:  In re the Marriage of Gibson

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-0587

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Clarke County, John D. Lloyd and Elisabeth Reynoldson, Judges.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Vaitheswaran and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (5 pages)

            Alexa Gibson appeals from the temporary child support order where the court ordered joint physical care.  OPINION HOLDS: We discern no error requiring a modification of the temporary support order.  We therefore affirm.

Case No. 21-0745:  Brandi Kay Preul v. Carlson Edward Schindler

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-0745

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Robert B. Hanson, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and May, JJ.  Opinion by Vaitheswaran, P.J.  (5 pages)

            Carlson Schindler appeals following a ruling on his petition to modify a dissolution decree, arguing the district court “abused its discretion in awarding [Brandi Preul] attorney fees” and in ordering him “to pay the attorney fees for representation of the minor child.”  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the district court’s attorney fee awards to Preul and the child’s attorney, and we conclude Schindler should pay the entirety of Preul’s $7700 appellate attorney fee bill. 

Case No. 21-0799:  State of Iowa v. Michael Steven Proffitt

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-0799

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Marshall County, Kim M. Riley, District Associate Judge. AFFIRMED.  Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and May, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, J.  (5 pages)

            Michael Proffitt appeals his sentences for two counts of felony stalking.  He argues that the district court should have granted him probation.  OPINION HOLDS: Given Proffitt’s criminal history and the pervasive nature of his acts, the court exercised proper discretion by imposing incarceration rather than probation.  We affirm. 

Case No. 21-0822:  In re the Marriage of Nygren

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-0822

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Patrick McElyea, Judge.  REVERSED.  Considered by Schumacher, P.J., and Ahlers, J., and Vogel, S.J.  Opinion by Schumacher, P.J.  (11 pages)

A father appeals from the modification of a joint physical care arrangement.  OPINION HOLDS: Upon our de novo review, we find there has not been a substantial and material change in circumstances warranting a modification in the physical care provisions of the parties’ original decree. 

Case No. 21-0942:  State of Iowa v. Walter Brown

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-0942

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Andrea Dryer, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by May, P.J., and Schumacher and Badding, JJ.  Opinion by Schumacher, J.  (7 pages)

A defendant appeals his conviction and sentence for possession with intent to distribute, claiming the district court violated his due process rights by not conducting an in-person plea colloquy.  He also contends the court improperly sentenced him to prison, rather than a term of probation.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm.

Case No. 21-1134:  State of Iowa v. John Edward Hoffman

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-1134

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dubuque County, Monica Zrinyi Ackley, Judge.  SENTENCES VACATED AND CASE REMANDED FOR RESENTENCING.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Vaitheswaran and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (7 pages)

            John Hoffman appeals the sentences imposed after he pled guilty to homicide by vehicle, nonconsensual termination of a human pregnancy, and serious injury by vehicle.  OPINION HOLDS: Hoffman’s guilty plea was conditioned on the district court’s adherence to the parties’ agreement for concurrent sentences.  Because the court imposed consecutive sentences, Hoffman was entitled to withdraw his guilty plea. 

Case No. 21-1236:  In the Interest of A.N., E.N., M.N., R.I., and A.B., Minor Children

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-1236

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dallas County, Virginia Cobb, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Vaitheswaran and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (4 pages)

            A mother challenges the termination of her parental rights to five children, claiming maintaining a relationship with her is in the children’s best interests and guardianships in the children’s current placements was preferable to termination.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm.

Case No. 21-1248:  In the Interest of C.S., Minor Child

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-1248

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Mitchell County, Karen Kaufman Salic, District Associate Judge.  REVERSED AND REMANDED WITH INSTRUCTIONS.  Considered by May, P.J., Schumacher and Badding, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  (16 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her child, arguing termination is contrary to the child’s best interests, statutory exceptions should be applied to preclude termination, and permanency should be accomplished through either the establishment of a guardianship in the maternal grandmother or another planned permanent living arrangement.  OPINION HOLDS: We reverse the decision of the juvenile court terminating the mother’s parental rights and remand for dismissal of the petition and the entry of a permanency order consistent with this opinion.

Case No. 21-1272:  In the Interest of C.K., Minor Child

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-1272

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Cynthia S. Finley, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Vaitheswaran and Ahlers, JJ.  Opinion by Vaitheswaran, J.  (5 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to a child, contending (1) the State failed to prove the ground for termination cited by the juvenile court and failed to afford her additional time to reunify; (2) the department of human services failed to make reasonable efforts to facilitate reunification; (3) termination was not in the child’s best interests; and (4) the juvenile court should have granted an exception to termination based on the parent-child bond.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the termination of the mother’s parental rights to the child.

Case No. 21-1285:  In the Interest of J.H., Minor Child

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-1285

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Floyd County, Karen Kaufman Salic, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by May, P.J., and Schumacher and Badding, JJ.  Opinion by Schumacher, J.  (7 pages)

            A mother appeals the district court order terminating her parental rights.  OPINION HOLDS: There is clear and convincing evidence in the record to support termination of the mother’s rights, an extension of time would not be in the child’s best interests, and termination of the mother’s parental rights is in the child’s best interests.  We affirm the decision of the district court.

Case No. 21-1316:  In the Interest of C.O., Minor Child

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-1316

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Linda M. Fangman, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by May, P.J., and Schumacher and Badding, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  (7 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her child, contending termination was not in the child’s best interest because of their bond and she should have been granted additional time to work toward reunification.  OPINION HOLDS: Upon our de novo review, we find that termination of the mother’s parental rights was in this child’s best interest despite any bond between them.  The mother failed to show that additional time would eliminate the need for removal.  We therefore affirm.

Case No. 21-1342:  In the Interest of R.M. and H.M., Minor Children

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-1342

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Marion County, Steven Guiter, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., Chicchelly, J. and Danilson, S.J.  Opinion by Danilson, S.J.  (6 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her children, contending the State failed to prove the grounds for termination cited by the juvenile court and termination was not in the best interests of the children.  OPINION HOLDS: Upon our review, we affirm.

Case No. 21-1359:  In the Interest of W.N., H.K., and C.N., Minor Children

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-1359

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Carrie K. Bryner, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Schumacher and Ahlers, JJ.  Opinion by Schumacher, J.  (8 pages)

            The father appeals the modification of the dispositional order and modification of the permanency goal in child-in-need-of-assistance proceedings.  OPINION HOLDS: The father was unable to maintain sobriety.  The district court properly modified the dispositional order and property modified the permanency goal.  We affirm the decision of the district court.

Case No. 21-1379:  In the Interest of B.M., Minor Child

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-1379

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Guthrie County, Virginia Cobb, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by May, P.J., and Schumacher and Badding, JJ.  Opinion by Schumacher, J.  (7 pages)

            A father appeals the district court order terminating his parental rights.  OPINION HOLDS: We find there is clear and convincing evidence in the record to support termination of the father’s parental rights.  Also, termination of his parental rights is in the child’s best interests.  We affirm the decision of the district court.

Case No. 21-1440:  In the Interest of B.C., P.C., T.C., and J.B., Minor Children

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-1440

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Story County, Stephen A. Owen, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and May, JJ.  Opinion by Vaitheswaran, P.J.  (4 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to four children, contending the State failed to prove the children could not be returned to her custody.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the termination of her parental rights to all four children.

Case No. 21-1443:  In the Interest of K.T., Minor Child

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-1443

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Calhoun County, Joseph B. McCarville, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and May, JJ.  Opinion by Vaitheswaran, P.J.  (6 pages)

            A mother appeals juvenile court orders adjudicating her child in need of assistance and removing the child from her home at the time of adjudication and disposition.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the juvenile court’s adjudication and dispositional orders.

Case No. 21-1450:  In the Interest of A.H. and M.S., Minor Children

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-1450

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Johnson County, Deborah Farmer Minot, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Greer and Ahlers, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  (9 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to two children.  OPINION HOLDS: We find the State showed the statutory grounds for termination, and the mother failed to show a permissive factor to avoid termination.  The State also showed the department of human services made reasonable efforts toward reunification.  We affirm.

Case No. 21-1470:  In the Interest of A.B., Minor Child

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-1470

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Rachael E. Seymour, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.  Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and May, JJ.  Opinion by Vaitheswaran, P.J.  (7 pages)

            A mother and a father separately appeal the termination of their parental rights to their child.  Both parents contend (1) the State failed to prove the grounds for termination; (2) termination was not in the child’s best interests; and (3) the district court should not have ordered termination in light of their bond with the child.  The mother additionally argues the district court “erred in granting the State’s motion for modification of disposition.”  The father additionally asserts the district court should have placed the child in a guardianship with the child’s grandmother.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the district court’s thorough order terminating parental rights to this child.

Case No. 21-1471:  In the Interest of W.R., Minor Child

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-1471

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Crawford County, Mary Timko, Associate Juvenile Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Greer and Ahlers, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, J.  (7 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights.  OPINION HOLDS: The State proved the statutory grounds for termination under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(d) (2021).  Accordingly, termination was proper.

Case No. 21-1472:  In the Interest of K.D. and K.D., Minor Children

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-1472

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Lynn Poschner, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and May, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, J.  Dissent by Vaitheswaran, P.J.  (15 pages)

            The guardian ad litem (GAL) and intervenor appeal a guardianship decision after the juvenile court terminated Ke.D. and Ki.D.’s parents’ rights.  GAL Paul White and paternal grandmother Carletta asked the court to remove the department of human services (DHS) as the children’s guardian and appoint Carletta guardian.  They assert DHS acted unreasonably, its guardianship is not in the children’s best interests, DHS violated its procedure by removing the children from Carletta and placing them in foster care, and DHS’s guardianship should be terminated.  OPINION HOLDS: We agree DHS acted unreasonably in failing to send relative notices.  But it generally acted in the children’s best interests.  And it is in the children’s best interests for DHS to remain as guardian and custodian.  We affirm the denial of White’s and Carletta’s motions.  DISSENT ASSERTS: I agree the key question is whether removal of the department as guardian is in the children’s best interests.  I believe it is; therefore, I respectfully dissent.

Case No. 21-1608:  In the Interest of G.R.,, Minor Child

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-1608

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Webster County, Joseph L. Tofilon, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and May, JJ.  Opinion by Vaitheswaran, P.J.  (5 pages)

            A father appeals the termination of his parental rights to his child.  He contends (1) the State failed to prove the ground for termination cited by the district court; (2) the State failed to make reasonable efforts toward reunification; and (3) termination was not in the child’s best interests.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the termination of the father’s parental rights to the child.

Case No. 21-1661:  In the Interest of N.W., Minor Child

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-1661

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Johnson County, Jason A. Burns, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by May, P.J., and Schumacher and Badding, JJ.  Opinion by May, P.J.  (4 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her child, N.W.  OPINION HOLDS: The State proved the statutory grounds for termination by clear and convincing evidence, termination is in N.W.’s best interest, and we decline to apply any permissive exceptions to termination.  So we affirm. 

Case No. 21-1679:  In the Interest of J.S., M.S., and A.S., Minor Children

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-1679

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Clay County, Andrew J. Smith, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Vaitheswaran and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (9 pages)

            A mother and a father separately appeal the termination of their parental rights to three children.  OPINION HOLDS: Clear and convincing evidence establishes the grounds for terminating parental rights.  Additional visitation would not have impacted the State’s burden of proving the children cannot be returned to either parent’s care, and we cannot find the need for removal will no longer exist if the parents are granted six more months to attempt to remedy their deficiencies.  Because the children’s best interests require termination, we affirm.

Case No. 21-1745:  In the Interest of H.K., Minor Child

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-1745

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Pottawattamie County, Scott Strait, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED IN PART AND REVERSED IN PART.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Badding, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  (12 pages)

            A mother appeals the adjudication of her child as a child in need of assistance under Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(c)(2), (n), and (p) (2021).  OPINION HOLDS: Upon our de novo review, we affirm the child’s adjudication under section 232.2(6)(c)(2) and (n).  But we reverse the adjudication under section 232.2(6)(p).

Case No. 21-1760:  In the Interest of L.F., Minor Child

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-1760

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Warren County, Mark F. Schlenker, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Badding, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (6 pages)

            A mother and father separately appeal the termination of their parental rights.  OPINION HOLDS: We find the State established grounds for termination, termination is in the child’s best interests, and no exception to termination applies.  We affirm.

Case No. 21-1769:  In the Interest of J.V., Minor Child

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-1769

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Madison County, Kevin Parker, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and May, JJ.  Opinion by May, J.  Dissent by Tabor, J.  (10 pages)

            An intervenor in a child-in-need-of-assistance proceeding appeals the juvenile court’s decision to not bifurcate the guardian ad litem and child attorney roles and to not modify placement of the child to place the child in the intervenor’s care.  She also makes an evidentiary challenge.  OPINION HOLDS: The juvenile court did not abuse its discretion when it decided to not bifurcate.  Because modification of placement would require modification of the dispositional order, only those authorized by statute to seek modification may seek modification of placement.  The intervenor is not statutorily authorized to do so.  The juvenile court should have admitted certain hearsay evidence.  But because the evidence was ultimately admitted through other testimony, no prejudice resulted.  DISSENT ASSERTS: Because I believe J.V. needed a separate attorney to advocate for his placement preference, the court should have bifurcated the roles and appointed an attorney. 

Case No. 21-1784:  In the Interest of M.D., C.D., C.D., and K.D., Minor Children

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-1784

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Tama County, Casey D. Jones, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Schumacher and Ahlers, JJ.  Opinion by Schumacher, J.  (10 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her four children.  She alleges the State failed to prove a statutory ground for termination, termination is not in the best interests of the children, and the court should have applied a permissive exception to termination.  OPINION HOLDS: On our de novo review, we affirm. 

Case No. 21-1798:  In the Interest of M.R., D.R., S.R., A.R., and L.R., Minor Children

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-1798

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Cheryl Traum, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Vaitheswaran and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (5 pages)

            A mother and father separately appeal the termination of their parental rights.  OPINION HOLDS: The State established the grounds for termination by clear and convincing evidence, and termination of both parents’ rights is in the children’s best interests.  We affirm on both appeals.

Case No. 21-1809:  In the Interest of K.P., Minor Child

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-1809

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Mahaska County, Rose Anne Mefford, District Associate Judge.  FATHER’S APPEAL DISMISSED; AFFIRMED ON MOTHER’S APPEAL.  Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., Ahlers, J. and Vogel, S.J.  Opinion by Vogel, S.J.  (10 pages)

            The father and the mother separately appeal the termination of their parental rights.  OPINION HOLDS: With no facts beyond the mere speculation of the father’s attorney to explain the father’s late-filed notice of appeal, the father’s appeal is dismissed as untimely.  Due to the mother’s ongoing substance abuse, termination is in the child’s best interests, the parent-child bond does not overcome termination, and additional time for reunification is not appropriate.  The mother did not preserve her other issues for appeal.

Case No. 21-1810:  In the Interest of B.W., Z.W., T.W., and W.W., Minor Children

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-1810

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Carrie Bryner, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Greer and Ahlers, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  Special Concurrence by Ahlers, J.  (16 pages)

            A father and a mother appeal the termination of their parental rights.  In his appeal, the father asserts the DHS failed to make reasonable efforts toward reunification.  The mother, in contrast, argues that termination was not in her children’s best interests, and that guardianship is the preferable alternative.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the father did not request specific assistance, we affirm.  Likewise, the termination is in the children’s best interests and better serves their needs for stability and permanency.  So we affirm on the mother’s appeal as well.  SPECIAL CONCURRENCE ASSERTS: The father filed his notice of appeal three days late.  I disagree with the majority that a three-day delay is negligible in most circumstances.  However, because the father filed his notice when the clerk’s office was closed due to a holiday and unable to process filings until reopening, I would conclude the unique circumstances here make the delay negligible.  I otherwise join in the majority opinion.

Case No. 21-1816:  In the Interest of M.W. and L.W., Minor Children

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-1816

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Carroll County, Joseph McCarville, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Vaitheswaran and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (5 pages)

            A father appeals the removal of two children from his care following a dispositional review hearing in a child-in-need-of-assistance proceeding.  OPINION HOLDS: The State proved the grounds for modifying the dispositional order under Iowa Code section 232.103(4)(c) (2021).  Because the father refuses to cooperate with the department of human services or to participate in the services offered to him, removal is necessary to ensure the children’s safety. 

Case No. 21-1819:  In the Interest of C.M.-P., Minor Child

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-1819

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, Stephanie Forker Parry, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Vaitheswaran and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Vaitheswaran, J.  (4 pages)

            A father appeals the termination of his parental rights to a child, contending the State failed to prove the grounds for termination cited by the district court and termination was not in the child’s best interests.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the termination of the father’s parental rights to the child.

Case No. 21-1853:  In the Interest of J.A., Minor Child

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-1853

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Clinton County, Kimberly K. Shepherd, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED IN PART AND REVERSED IN PART.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Greer and Ahlers, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J.  (11 pages)

            J.A. is a seven-year-old child with severe asthma.  Following his parents’ unilateral decision to reduce his daily medicine, J.A. suffered a near-fatal asthma attack in June 2021.  This led to J.A.’s intubation and hospitalization, and the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) became involved with the family.  Until court ordered, the parents resisted working with DHS or providing signed releases for J.A.’s medical information.  Under these circumstances, the court adjudicated J.A. a child in need of assistance (CINA) pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(b), (c)(1), (c)(2), and (e) (2021).  The father appeals each of the adjudicatory grounds.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the adjudication of J.A. as a CINA under Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(b), (c)(2) and (e).  We reverse the adjudication under section Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(c)(1).

Case No. 21-1894:  In the Interest of T.T., Minor Child

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-1894

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, Mark C. Cord, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Greer and Ahlers, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J.  (5 pages)

            The juvenile court terminated the father’s rights under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(b), (e), and (h) (2021).  The father does not contest the statutory grounds.  He argues termination of his rights is not in the child’s best interests and makes a passing argument he should be given more time to be released from prison and reunify with the child.  OPINION HOLDS: Termination is in the child’s best interests, and more time is not warranted here.  We affirm. 

Case No. 21-1908:  In the Interest of J.M. and E.K., Minor Children

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-1908

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Winneshiek County, Linnea M.N. Nicol, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by May, P.J., and Schumacher and Badding, JJ.  Opinion by May, P.J.  (4 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights.  OPINION HOLDS: Clear and convincing evidence shows that the children could not have been returned to their mother at the time of the termination hearing. 

Case No. 21-1944:  In the Interest of H.M., Minor Child

Filed Feb 16, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-1944

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, Mark C. Cord III, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.  Considered by Ahlers, P.J., Badding, J., and Scott, S.J.  Opinion by Scott, S.J.  (6 pages)

            A mother and a father separately appeal the termination of their parental rights.  OPINION HOLDS: Because grounds for termination exist, an extension of time for reunification is unwarranted, and termination is in the child’s best interests, we affirm the termination of both parties’ parental rights. 

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