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2024 Archive | Most Recent Court of Appeals Summaries

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

Opinion Summaries

Case No. 21-1491:  State of Iowa v. Joseph Vernon Kremer

Filed May 22, 2024

View Opinion No. 21-1491

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Fae Hoover Grinde, Judge.  APPEAL DISMISSED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  (6 pages)

            Joseph Kremer contends that he was denied due process when the district court imposed judgment and sentence before he entered guilty pleas for two offenses—operating without owner’s consent and eluding—committed in September 2021.  The State concedes that those convictions postdated the judgment and sentence but argues that Kremer lacks good cause to appeal because the premature sentence was what he bargained for in the later-filed plea agreement.  OPINION HOLDS: Kremer lacks good cause to appeal because the sentence was what he bargained for in the plea agreement.  We dismiss the appeal. 

Case No. 22-0392:  Goettsch v. Heidman Law Firm LLP

Filed May 22, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-0392

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, Sarah Crane, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Ahlers, P.J., and Chicchelly and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Buller, J.  (15 pages)

            A claimant appeals adverse rulings following a jury trial and post-trial motions in a legal malpractice action against the attorneys representing him in the buy-out of shares in a family-farm corporation.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm, finding the requested instruction was not supported by the evidence, issue preclusion was appropriately decided, and the remaining motion-in-limine issue was not preserved.

Case No. 22-1736:  State of Iowa v. Chase Brian Mead

Filed May 22, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1736

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, David M. Porter, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Ahlers, P.J., Chicchelly, J., and Carr, S.J.  Opinion by Carr, S.J.  (8 pages)

            Chase Mead appeals his convictions for possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver, failure to affix a drug tax stamp, possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, and possession of a firearm as a felon.  OPINION HOLDS: We conclude there is substantial evidence in the record to show Mead had constructive possession of the methamphetamine, marijuana, and firearm.  Also, the district court did not abuse its discretion in sentencing Mead.  We affirm his convictions and sentences.

Case No. 22-2082:  State of Iowa v. William Vernale Stephenson

Filed May 22, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-2082

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dubuque County, Monica Zrinyi Ackley, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., Buller, J., and Gamble, S.J.  Opinion by Gamble, S.J. (12 pages)

            William Stephenson appeals his convictions for sexual abuse in the second degree and continuous sexual abuse of a child.  OPINION HOLDS: Finding substantial evidence supports the verdicts and the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Stephenson’s motions for mistrial, we affirm.

Case No. 22-2104:  Justin Michael Stickrod v. State of Iowa

Filed May 22, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-2104

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Monroe County, Myron Gookin, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Ahlers and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, J.  (7 pages)

            Justin Stickrod appeals the district court’s denial of his application for postconviction relief, arguing he received ineffective assistance of counsel when his trial lawyer failed to move for a mistrial after a prospective juror claimed Stickrod confessed and was guilty during voir dire.  OPINION HOLDS: Because Stickrod has failed to establish prejudice, we affirm.

Case No. 22-2107:  Logan Jeffrey Shoemaker v. State of Iowa

Filed May 22, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-2107

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Patrick A. McElyea, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J.  (18 pages)

            An applicant appeals the denial of his application for postconviction relief.  OPINION HOLDS: Because we find that trial counsel was not required to bring meritless motions for a change of venue or judgment of acquittal, object to evidence that was inextricably linked with other admissible evidence, or request jury instructions not supported by caselaw, we affirm the postconviction-relief court’s denial of his application.

Case No. 23-0207:  Ambrashia Marie Chrzan v. State of Iowa

Filed May 22, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0207

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Washington County, Joel D. Yates, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  (11 pages)

Ambrashia Chrzan appeals the district court’s denial of her application for postconviction relief.  On appeal, she argues her trial counsel was ineffective because he failed to (1) move for a court-appointed expert medical witness; (2) object to or prevent introduction of prior bad acts evidence that she used drugs while pregnant; (3) investigate and present family members as witnesses to her parenting abilities; and (4) move for a change of venue.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm, finding upon our de novo review of the record that Chrzan failed to meet her burden to prove that trial counsel was ineffective.

Case No. 23-0230:  In re Marriage of Edwards

Filed May 22, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0230

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dallas County, Terry Rickers, Judge.  AFFIRMED AS MODIFIED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Buller and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Buller, J.  (12 pages)

            A husband appeals the spousal support and valuation of a checking account in the decree dissolving his marriage.  The other spouse defends the decree and requests appellate attorney fees.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the decree as modified and decline to award appellate attorney fees.

Case No. 23-0293:  Nicholas Dean Freitag v. State of Iowa

Filed May 22, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0293

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Cerro Gordo County, Rustin Davenport, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  (10 pages)

            An applicant appeals a district court ruling denying his applications for postconviction relief.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the district court’s ruling, concluding that it properly denied the applicant’s claims of ineffective assistance of counsel.

Case No. 23-0350:  In re the Marriage of Nye

Filed May 22, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0350

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Lee (North) County, John M. Wright, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Bower, C.J., and Badding and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (7 pages)

            Lonnie Nye appeals the district court’s denial of his petition to modify the parties’ dissolution decree, claiming his disability payments through his pension are spousal support subject to modification.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm.

Case No. 23-0390:  State of Iowa v. Raymond Leo Showers

Filed May 22, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0390

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Des Moines County, Michael J. Schilling, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J. (14 pages)

            Raymond Showers appeals his conviction for third-degree sexual abuse, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the conviction.  OPINION HOLDS: We find that there was sufficient evidence for the jury to find that the defendant performed a sex act with the victim against her force of will, and we affirm.

Case No. 23-0494:  South Construction and Insulation, LLC v. Iowa Workforce Development

Filed May 22, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0494

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Bremer County, Rustin Davenport, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Tabor, P.J., and Greer and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J.  (14 pages)

            A limited liability company (LLC) challenges the dismissal of its petition for judicial review.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the statute at issue here—Iowa Code section 96.1A (2022)—defines wages, we are bound by its definition.  Its definition includes all remuneration received by a member of the LLC unless proportional to membership interest.  Thus, Iowa Workforce Development’s (IWD)’s determination that only the amount of remuneration one member received beyond that of the other member was wages is a correct interpretation of a provision of law, with justification, and required by law.  The calculation that IWD used to determine the amount of that remuneration that is wages was reasonable and correct.  We affirm the court’s dismissal of the LLC’s petition for judicial review.

Case No. 23-0612:  Duke Carter v. Mike Fricke and Laura Fricke

Filed May 22, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0612

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Monroe County, Crystal S. Cronk, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Schumacher and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Langholz, J.  (10 pages)

            Duke Carter appeals the district court’s ruling in a quiet-title action rejecting his claim of ownership of a disputed parcel of land by adverse possession.  OPINION HOLDS: Assuming Carter eventually did act as owner of the disputed land, we cannot find proof of ten straight years of qualifying conduct.  Nor do we find most of Carter’s use to be hostile, as the prior owners permitted Carter to store items on the lot, and Carter has failed to show any act or event that ripened his possession from permissive to hostile.  And so, because the law favors regular title and Carter has not shown clear and positive proof of hostile, continuous possession of Lot 3, we affirm the district court’s rejection of his adverse-possession claim.

Case No. 23-0623:  State of Iowa v. Mark David Russell

Filed May 22, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0623

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Webster County, Angela L. Doyle, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Bower, C.J., and Tabor, Greer, Schumacher, and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J.  (9 pages)

            The defendant appeals his conviction for first-degree murder.  OPINION HOLDS: The State presented substantial evidence that Russell did not act in self-defense because he instigated the physical altercation, escalated it, and continued it after disarming the victim.  We affirm.

Case No. 23-0711:  Janet Walker and Linda Martens v. Marlin Daniels, Glenn Daniels, and David Daniels, each in their capacity as Co-Executors of the Estate of Lucille Daniels, Deceased, and individually, Estate of Lucille Daniels, and Daniels, Inc.

Filed May 22, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0711

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Lyon County, Charles Borth, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Tabor, P.J., and Buller and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Langholz, J.  (16 pages)

            A family farming corporation—Daniels, Inc.—and its majority shareholders—three brothers and the estate of their mother—appeal the district court’s determination of the fair value of their sisters’ shares in Daniels, Inc. after it elected to buy the shares to avoid corporate dissolution under Iowa Code section 490.1434 (2021).  They argue the district court used the wrong valuation date and failed to discount the valuation for potential tax consequences and transaction costs.  OPINION HOLDS: The plain text of section 490.1434(4) presumptively sets the valuation date as the day before the sisters filed their amended petition first asserting a dissolution claim—not the day before their original petition seeking damages for common law minority-shareholder oppression.  And since a sale of the farming corporation’s assets was not imminent—or even expected ever—it was proper not to discount the corporation’s fair value for hypothetical taxes or transaction costs.  We thus affirm the district court's fair-value determination of the sisters’ shares.

Case No. 23-0786:  State of Iowa v. Isaiah Cecil Hakeem Duffield

Filed May 22, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0786

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Fayette County, Richard D. Stochl, Judge.  SENTENCE VACATED IN PART AND REMANDED FOR RESENTENCING.  Considered by Schumacher, P.J., Ahlers, J., and Potterfield, S.J.  Opinion by Ahlers, J. (5 pages)

            Isaiah Duffield appeals the sentence imposed following his guilty plea.  OPINION HOLDS: Because Duffield cannot establish the district court committed any legal error or abused its discretion when selecting the amount of the fine, we do not disturb the fine imposed.  But because the district court did not provide any reasoning for imposing the sentence in this case consecutively to a sentence in a separate case, we must remand for resentencing as to whether the sentence should run consecutively to the other sentence.  Resentencing is to be before a different judge.

Case No. 23-0812:  Walter James Mead v. State of Iowa

Filed May 22, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0812

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, James N. Daane, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., Badding, J., and Blane, S.J.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (6 pages)

            Walter Mead appeals the dismissal of his application for postconviction relief (PCR).  OPINION HOLDS: Because Mead’s PCR application was filed more than three years after his conviction was final and he asserted no ground of fact material to his substantive claim that could not have been presented within the three-year time frame, see Iowa Code § 822.3 (2022), we affirm.

Case No. 23-0826:  Katie Venechuk n/k/a Katie Vandewalker v. Gary A. Landherr

Filed May 22, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0826

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Worth County, Blake H. Norman, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Schumacher, P.J., and Ahlers and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, J.  Dissent by Langholz, J.  (17 pages)

            A parent appeals the district court’s denial of her petition to modify her custody decree to allow her child to switch schools.  OPINION HOLDS:  Because the mother did not seek modification to receive sole legal custody, we affirm.  DISSENT ASSERTS:  I do not read In re Marriage of Frazier, 1 N.W.3d 775 (Iowa 2024), to remove a court’s authority to modify a school-district-setting provision in an order or decree when a party shows a material change in circumstances and the modification is in the child’s best interest.  And applying that proper standard here, I would reverse the district court’s denial of the modification request because the move to Riceville and enrollment of a half-sister in the Riceville school district is a material change in circumstances and attending the local school, with her half-sisters, less than two minutes away—rather than a twenty-five-minute car ride or an hour-plus car-and-bus trip to St. Ansgar—is in the daughter’s best interest.

Case No. 23-0865:  State of Iowa v. Dallas Dean Hoffman

Filed May 22, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0865

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Boone County, John R. Flynn, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Ahlers, P.J., and Chicchelly and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (5 pages)

            Dallas Hoffman appeals his convictions after a jury found him guilty of four counts of second-degree sexual abuse.  OPINION HOLDS: Because substantial evidence supports the jury’s verdicts, we affirm Hoffman’s convictions.

Case No. 23-0925:  State of Iowa v. Terry Dean Erickson

Filed May 22, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0925

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Michael D. Huppert, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Greer and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Schumacher, J. (5 pages)

            A defendant appeals his sentence.  He argues the court improperly considered only the nature of the offense in determining the sentence.  OPINION HOLDS: We determine no abuse of discretion by the district court and affirm.

Case No. 23-0958:  Abbas v. Franklin County Board of Supervisors

Filed May 22, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0958

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Franklin County, Rustin Davenport, Judge.  APPEAL AFFIRMED IN PART, VACATED IN PART, AND REMANDED WITH DIRECTIONS; CROSS-APPEAL AFFIRMED.  Heard by Tabor, P.J., and Buller and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Buller, J.  (11 pages)

            Plaintiffs appeal and defendants cross-appeal the award of damages to plaintiffs following repairs to a drainage ditch, raising issues related to the existence of an easement, damages, and the conveyance of property.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the defendants did not abandon the easement and the district court’s award of damages fell within the permissible range of evidence and was not overly speculative, we affirm the appeal in part and affirm the cross-appeal.  We vacate and remand with directions on the property-conveyance issue.

Case No. 23-1040:  Bobby Joe Morris v. State of Iowa

Filed May 22, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1040

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Scott D. Rosenberg, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Schumacher and Ahlers, JJ.  Opinion by Schumacher, J.  (7 pages)

            An applicant appeals the dismissal of his application for postconviction relief.  OPINION HOLDS: The applicant’s illegal sentence claim was litigated in a prior postconviction relief action, and his claim of actual innocence is barred by the statute of limitations.  Accordingly, we affirm.

Case No. 23-1067:  State of Iowa v. David Ralph Latham

Filed May 22, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1067

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Johnson County, David Cox, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Greer and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Schumacher, J. (5 pages)

            Defendant challenges his sentence, arguing an abuse of discretion by the district court. OPINION HOLDS: We determine no abuse of discretion by the district court and affirm.

Case No. 23-1080:  Macy Alexander Worth v. Matthew Noel Geinitz

Filed May 22, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1080

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dickinson County, Shane Mayer, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Ahlers, P.J., and Chicchelly and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, P.J.  (7 pages)

            A mother appeals the physical-care determination made in a custodial decree, which placed physical care of her children with the children’s father.  The father requests appellate attorney fees.  OPINION HOLDS: On our review of the record and deferring to the district court’s credibility findings, we conclude that the children’s interests are best served by placing their physical care with their father.  We affirm the district court’s physical-care determination.  We do not award the father appellate attorney fees.

Case No. 23-1106:  State of Iowa v. Alexander Isaiah Knight

Filed May 22, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1106

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Warren County, Mark F. Schlenker, Judge.  SENTENCES VACATED AND REMANDED FOR RESENTENCING.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., Schumacher, J., and Danilson, S.J.  Opinion by Danilson, S.J.  (6 pages)

            Alexander Knight appeals his sentences following his convictions for assault causing bodily injury and operating a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent.  OPINON HOLDS: Because the district court considered an impermissible sentencing factor, we must vacate Knight’s sentences and remand for resentencing before a different judge.

Case No. 23-1513:  Mitch Robeoltman and Sabrina Risley v. Timothy Hartkopp

Filed May 22, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1513

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Hardin County, Amy M. Moore, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Buller, P.J., Langholz, J., and Carr, S.J.  Opinion by Carr, S.J.  (8 pages)

            The plaintiffs appeal the denial and dismissal of their claims of breach of implied warranty of workmanlike construction and failure to disclose defects against the seller of a house.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the seller was not a buyer-vendor, the implied warranty of workmanlike construction is inapplicable here.  Likewise, because there was no evidence that the seller had actual knowledge of any defects and failed to disclose them, that claim also does not provide relief.  We affirm.

Case No. 24-0191:  In the Interest of A.W., J.B., and K.W., Minor Children

Filed May 22, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0191

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Johnson County, Joan M. Black, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Buller, J.  (11 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her three children.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm.

Case No. 24-0230:  In the Interest of A.W., Minor Child

Filed May 22, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0230

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Cerro Gordo County, Adam Sauer, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Tabor and Badding, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (9 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her children, claiming the State failed to prove the ground for termination cited by the juvenile court, termination is not in the child’s best interests, a six-month extension would eliminate the ground for termination, and the court should apply a permissive exception to preclude termination.  OPINION HOLDS: Upon review, we affirm.

Case No. 24-0233:  In the Interest of M.D., Minor Child

Filed May 22, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0233

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Cynthia S. Finley, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Schumacher, P.J., Ahlers, J., and Potterfield, S.J.  Opinion by Potterfield, S.J.  (6 pages)

            Following the mother’s short-term mental-health committal for stimulant-induced psychosis, the juvenile court ordered the removal of the mother’s child, M.D., from her custody and later adjudicated M.D. in need of assistance pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.96A(3)(a), (3)(b), and (14) (2023).  The mother challenges M.D.’s initial removal and whether the State proved the grounds for adjudication.  OPINION HOLDS: Because any deficiencies in the removal proceedings were rendered moot by the entry of a subsequent dispositional order, we do not consider the mother’s challenge of that issue.  We affirm adjudication of M.D. on all three grounds. 

Case No. 24-0253:  In the Interest of D.F., Minor Child

Filed May 22, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0253

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Humboldt County, Hans Becker, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Ahlers, P.J., and Chicchelly and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, P.J.  (4 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights.  She argues termination is not in the child’s best interests and the court should have applied a permissive exception to preclude termination.  OPINION HOLDS: Termination is in the child’s best interests, and we decline to apply a permissive exception to termination.

Case No. 24-0355:  In the Interest of I.T., Minor Child

Filed May 22, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0355

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Appanoose County, Richelle Mahaffey, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Greer and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Schumacher, J.  (9 pages)

            A mother appeals the district court order terminating her parental rights.  OPINION HOLDS: We find the termination of the mother’s parental rights is supported by clear and convincing evidence, termination is in the child’s best interests, and an exception to termination should not be applied.  We affirm the decision of the district court.

Case No. 24-0411:  In the Interest of R.C., L.C., and M.M., Minor Children

Filed May 22, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0411

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Carrie K. Bryner, Judge.  AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Greer and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J.  (11 pages)

            A mother and father separately appeal the termination of their parental rights.  OPINION HOLDS: The mother did not preserve error on her reasonable efforts challenge or her argument that the juvenile court should have considered terminating her rights to only one or two of the children rather than all three.  The State presented clear and convincing evidence to support the statutory ground for termination of the father’s rights, and termination of his parental rights was in the children’s best interests.  For these reasons, we affirm on both appeals.

Case No. 24-0456:  In the Interest of A.C., Minor Child

Filed May 22, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0456

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Carrie K. Bryner, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Greer and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  (6 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her six-year-old son, A.C.  OPINION HOLDS: The State proved grounds for termination by clear and convincing evidence, and termination is in A.C.’s best interests, so we affirm.

Case No. 24-0495:  In the Interest of L.G., Minor Child

Filed May 22, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0495

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Marion County, Steven Guiter, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Ahlers, P.J., and Chicchelly and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (10 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her child.  OPINION HOLDS: Clear and convincing evidence supports terminating the mother’s parental rights under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(h) (2024).  Because granting the mother additional time will not change the need for the child’s removal and termination is in the child’s best interests, we affirm.

Case No. 22-1523:  In re Estate of Clegg

Filed May 08, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1523

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Washington County, Shawn Showers, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Ahlers, P.J., and Chicchelly and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (11 pages)

            The plaintiffs in a will contest appeal the orders directing the clerk of court to hold funds subject to an attorney’s lien until ownership is determined.  OPINION HOLDS: Because ownership of the funds is disputed, the court did not abuse its discretion by ordering the clerk of court to hold the funds in trust pending a legal determination of ownership or a valid release of the attorney’s lien.

Case No. 22-1711:  State of Iowa v. Mark Todd Fishler

Filed May 08, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1711

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dubuque County, Monica Zrinyi Ackley, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Tabor, P.J., and Greer and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J.  (12 pages)

            Mark Fishler appeals his conviction for first-degree murder.  OPINION HOLDS: Fishler failed to preserve error on his Brady claim.  Because substantial evidence supports his conviction, juror bias did not deprive him of a fair trial by an impartial jury, and the greater weight of the credible evidence supports the jury’s verdict, we affirm.

Case No. 22-1832:  State of Iowa v. Sharon Kay Collins

Filed May 08, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1832

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Boone County, Stephen A. Owen, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., Buller, J., and Mullins, S.J.  Opinion by Mullins, S.J. (11 pages)

            Sharon Collins appeals her convictions on two counts of child endangerment and the sentences imposed.  As to the convictions, she argues the evidence was insufficient to support one of the alternative theories for guilt.  In relation to this challenge, she argues the savings statute for general verdicts—Iowa Code section 814.28 (2021)—is unconstitutional, and she is therefore entitled to a new trial.  As to the sentences, Sharon argues the “court impermissibly considered the [presentence investigation report’s] references to [her] difficulties with problem solving and decision-making as aggravating rather than mitigating factors.”  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the convictions as supported by substantial evidence.  As a result, we need not address the challenge to the constitutionality of Iowa Code section 814.28.  Finding no abuse of discretion in sentencing, we affirm the sentences imposed.

Case No. 22-1870:  Michael William Walker McPeek Jr. v. State of Iowa

Filed May 08, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1870

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Story County, Amy M. Moore, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., Chicchelly, J., and Vogel, S.J.  Opinion by Vogel, S.J.  (8 pages)

            Michael McPeek Jr. appeals from the denial of his application for postconviction relief, arguing he was deprived of effective assistance of counsel.  OPINION HOLDS: Because McPeek’s trial counsel did not breach any essential duty, nor was McPeek prejudiced by appellate counsel’s form-of-review error, we affirm.

Case No. 22-1953:  In re Estate of Clegg

Filed May 08, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1953

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Washington County, Shawn Showers, Judge.  APPEAL DISMISSED.  Heard by Ahlers, P.J., and Chicchelly and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (5 pages)

            The plaintiffs in a will contest appeal the order approving the executor’s final report and closing the estate.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the claims the plaintiffs raise on appeal concern an earlier order of the probate court that was not appealed, we dismiss for lack of jurisdiction.

Case No. 22-1958:  State of Iowa v. Douglas Arthur Hagenow

Filed May 08, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1958

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Cerro Gordo County, DeDra Schroeder, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (23 pages)

            Douglas Arthur Hagenow appeals his convictions for sexual abuse, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the convictions and contending the district court abused its discretion when ruling on his pretrial motions.  OPINION HOLDS: Because there is sufficient evidence for the convictions and the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motions, we affirm.

Case No. 22-1988:  State of Iowa v. Milton Andrew Bokemeyer

Filed May 08, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1988

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Buchanan County, Joel Dalrymple, Judge.  CONVICTIONS AFFIRMED IN PART AND REVERSED IN PART, SENTENCES AND REMANDED FOR RESENTENCING.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  Partial dissent by Buller, J. (24 pages)

            Milton Bokemeyer appeals his convictions and sentences for drug and firearm offenses, claiming the State presented insufficient evidence that he possessed psilocybin, failed to affix drug tax stamps, or possessed a firearm.  Bokemeyer alternatively claims that the evidence only supports one conviction for possessing a firearm in violation of Iowa Code section 724.26 (2021).  OPINION HOLDS: Because we find there was insufficient evidence to support Bokemeyer’s convictions for possession of psilocybin and failure to affix dug tax stamps, we reverse these convictions.  Additionally, while we find sufficient evidence that Bokemeyer possessed a firearm, we agree that he could properly be convicted of only one violation of section 724.26, so we reverse one of his convictions under that statute.  This leaves Bokemeyer with convictions for possession of methamphetamine, manufacturing marijuana while in possession of a firearm, and one count of possession of a firearm under section 724.26.  Because the district court imposed consecutive sentences on two of Bokemeyer’s convictions—one of which we have reversed—we vacate the sentences on the remaining convictions and remand for resentencing.  PARTIAL DISSENT ASSERTS: I dissent in part because the video and photo evidence was sufficient to prove a tax-stamp violation for the methamphetamine.  I also disagree with the majority’s reliance on what I consider outdated and wrongly decided unpublished cases. 

Case No. 22-2002:  State of Iowa v. Dennis Wayne Ruppe

Filed May 08, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-2002

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Pottawattamie County, Gregory W. Steensland, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Schumacher, P.J., Chicchelly, J., and Carr, S.J.  Opinion by Carr, S.J.  (6 pages)

            Dennis Ruppe appeals his convictions for attempted murder, willful injury causing serious injury, assault while displaying a dangerous weapon, and criminal mischief.  OPINION HOLDS: We do not address Ruppe’s claim he received ineffective assistance of counsel while the court was polling the jury, as we do not address claims of ineffective assistance in a direct appeal.  Ruppe did not file a pretrial objection to the venue and this issue is therefore waived.  The district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Ruppe’s motion for a new trial.  We affirm Ruppe’s convictions.

Case No. 22-2033:  State of Iowa v. Dean Edward Hilpipre

Filed May 08, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-2033

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Hardin County, Amy M. Moore, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., Schumacher, J., and Carr, S.J.  Opinion by Carr, S.J.  (9 pages)

            The defendant appeals his convictions for second-degree sexual abuse, lascivious acts with a minor, and third-degree sexual abuse.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the State’s expert witness did not impermissibly vouch for the credibility of the child victim and there was substantial evidence presented to support the convictions, we affirm.

Case No. 22-2048:  Fatima E. Belhak and Abdellatif Elfila v. Denice Smith, M.D., and Women's Care Specialists, P.C.

Filed May 08, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-2048

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Jeffrey D. Bert, Judge.  REVERSED AND REMANDED.  Heard by Bower, C.J., and Badding and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Langholz, J.  (17 pages)

            Denice Smith and her employer appeal from a medical malpractice verdict against them arising from her care of Fatima Belhak following an episiotomy performed during the birth of Belhak’s first child.  Smith seeks a new trial because of insufficient evidence of causation for one of the three specifications of negligence submitted to the jury and because of attorney misconduct during closing arguments and the rest of the trial.  OPINION HOLDS: Because Belhak’s expert witness did not testify that the size of suture was more likely than not a cause of Belhak’s injury, the suture specification should not have been submitted to the jury.  And Smith properly preserved error on this issue by moving for a directed verdict and raising it again in her posttrial motion for a new trial.  It matters not that she agreed to the jury instruction.  Smith is thus entitled to a new trial on this basis alone, and we need not address whether the conduct of Belhak’s counsel would also warrant a new trial.

Case No. 23-0005:  John Feller v. State of Iowa

Filed May 08, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0005

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dubuque County, Michael J. Shubatt, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., Schumacher, J., and Blane, S.J.  Opinion by Blane, S.J.  (15 pages)

            John Feller appeals the denial of his application to modify sex offender registry requirements.  OPINION HOLDS: Although it is a difficult case, substantial evidence supports the district court’s decision that Feller’s risk of reoffense and the interests of public safety require that he continue placement on the registry at this time.  So we find no abuse of discretion and affirm.

Case No. 23-0236:  Fox Prairie Investors, LLC, Fox Prairie Plaza South Building Owners Association, Fox Prairie North Building Owners Association v. Walters Companies, Inc.

Filed May 08, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0236

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, David Nelmark, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Bower, C.J., and Schumacher and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Langholz, J.  (17 pages)

            Some owners of the Fox Prairie Plaza appeal the district court’s grant of summary judgment dismissing their breach-of-contract suit against Walters Companies, Inc.—the original developer and general contractor that built the Fox Prairie Plaza—under an assignment of a construction contract that Walters allegedly made with itself.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the owners presented no evidence from which a jury could find that they obtained a valid assignment of a right to sue Walters under Walters’s alleged contract with itself, their breach-of-contract claim fails. 

Case No. 23-0247:  Damion John Seats v. State of Iowa

Filed May 08, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0247

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Cerro Gordo County, James M. Drew, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Ahlers and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Buller, J.  (4 pages)

            An applicant appeals the denial of postconviction relief.  OPINION HOLDS: Finding trial counsel did not render ineffective assistance, we affirm.

Case No. 23-0365:  State of Iowa v. Christy Ann Gainvors

Filed May 08, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0365

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Casey D. Jones, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., Badding, J., and Carr, S.J.  Opinion by Carr, S.J.  (5 pages)

            Christy Gainvors failed to pay the outstanding balance on her charge account, which she allegedly opened and charged at her prior place of employment without proper authorization.  A jury convicted Gainvors of theft in the third degree.  She now appeals her conviction, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence.  OPINION HOLDS: Finding the verdict is supported by substantial evidence, we affirm.

Case No. 23-0384:  State of Iowa v. Trivansky Tyrique Swington

Filed May 08, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0384

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Brook Jacobsen, Judge.  AFFIRMED AND REMANDED WITH DIRECTIONS.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  Dissent by Buller, J.  (5 pages)

            A defendant appeals his sentence for assault causing bodily injury.  OPINION HOLDS: Finding that the district court sentenced the defendant according to his plea agreement but included the wrong assault title and code section in the judgment order, we affirm the conviction and remand for the district court to amend the judgment to reflect the correct offense.  DISSENT ASSERTS: Because the elected branches did not intend for us to find “good cause” to correct typos, I dissent.

Case No. 23-0402:  Emerson Dennis Saul v. Seaboard Triumph Foods, L.L.C.

Filed May 08, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0402

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, Roger L. Sailer, Judge.  REVERSED AND REMANDED.  Heard by Bower, C.J., and Badding and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Langholz, J.  (16 pages)

            Emerson Saul was injured at a Seaboard Triumph Foods, LLC pork processing plant, where he was a temporary employee, while employed by a staffing agency.  He appeals the district court’s grant of summary judgment to Seaboard Triumph, dismissing his negligence lawsuit over his workplace injury after holding that Seaboard Triumph was also his employer.  OPINION HOLDS: Seaboard Triumph presented strong evidence supporting its motion for summary judgment from which a factfinder could conclude that it was Saul’s second employer.  But we cannot say that this is the only reasonable conclusion a factfinder could reach from the evidence—especially given that Seaboard Triumph’s human resources manager testified that Saul was not Seaboard Triumph’s employee.  The district court thus erred in granting summary judgment.

Case No. 23-0407:  Curtis Cortez Jones v. State of Iowa

Filed May 08, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0407

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Johnson County, Paul D. Miller, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Ahlers and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, J.  (5 pages)

            Curtis Jones appeals the summary disposition of his application for postconviction relief.  He argues that his trial counsel was ineffective when arguing against a motion to strike a potential juror for cause and appellate counsel was ineffective for failing to raise the issue.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the potential juror had a felony conviction, under the Iowa Rules of Criminal Procedure in effect at the time of trial, the district court was required to grant the motion to strike for cause.  Trial and appellate counsel did not provide ineffective assistance.  Summary disposition of the application for postconviction relief was properly granted.

Case No. 23-0458:  Beverage v. ALCOA, Inc

Filed May 08, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0458

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Patrick A. McElyea, Judge.  REVERSED AND REMANDED WITH DIRECTIONS.  Heard by Greer, P.J., and Ahlers and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Buller, J.  Special Concurrence by Greer, P.J.  (28 pages)

            A deceased independent contractor and his family challenge the grant of summary judgment for a land possessor in a premises-liability action.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the district court applied the incorrect duty of care and we do not modify the duty of care of land possessors, we reverse and remand with directions to apply the correct duty of care owed by land possessors to entrants.  SPECIAL CONCURRENCE ASSERTS: I agree with the majority that this case should be remanded for further consideration but disagree over what we should direct the district court to do.  In my opinion, the court must revisit Alcoa, Inc.’s (Alcoa) potential liability under both the land possessor-entrant theory and the employer-independent contractor theory without separating the two—as Charles Beverage was both an entrant and the employee of Alcoa’s independent contractor at the same time.

Case No. 23-0459:  Aspire of Pleasant Valley v. Creighton

Filed May 08, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0459

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Tom Reidel, Judge.  APPEAL DISMISSED.  Heard by Ahlers, P.J., and Chicchelly and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, P.J.  (8 pages)

            Aspire of Pleasant Valley appeals the district court’s order dismissing its claim against an agent under her mother’s power of attorney.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the person named as agent in the power of attorney does not and cannot serve as agent any longer, the issue whether an agent can be sued in the agent’s representative capacity is now moot.  As neither the voluntary-cessation or public-importance exceptions to the mootness doctrine apply, we dismiss the appeal.

Case No. 23-0650:  Daniel Ray Penticoff v. State of Iowa

Filed May 08, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0650

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Kellyann M. Lekar, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Greer and Schumacher, JJ.  Buller, J., takes no part.  Opinion by Greer, J.  (4 pages)

            Daniel Penticoff appeals from the denial of his application for postconviction relief.  OPINION HOLDS: Penticoff cannot establish by clear and convincing evidence that no reasonable factfinder could find him guilty of first-degree robbery; we affirm. 

Case No. 23-0796:  Miltner Insurance Services, LLC v. Roberts

Filed May 08, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0796

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Adams County, Brad McCall, Judge.  AFFIRMED ON APPEAL; AFFIRMED AND REMANDED WITH DIRECTIONS ON CROSS-APPEALHeard by Bower, C.J., and Badding and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  (18 pages)

            Parties appeal and cross-appeal the district court’s remand ruling on remedies in an employment-contract dispute.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm on the employee’s appeal, concluding she did not meet her burden to prove the liquidated-damages clause constituted a penalty and was therefore unenforceable.  On the employer’s cross-appeal, we find the affirmative-defense and burden-shifting argument was not preserved and substantial evidence supports the court’s conclusion on the amount of damages.  We affirm and remand the issue of appellate attorney fees to the district court, to be considered with its determination of trial attorney fees.

Case No. 23-0856:  State of Iowa v. Justin Raymond Mann

Filed May 08, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0856

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Lucas County, Elisabeth Reynoldson, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Buller, J.  (4 pages)

            A criminal defendant appeals his conviction, challenging denial of his motion to suppress.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the traffic stop was supported by probable cause and reasonable suspicion, we affirm.

Case No. 23-0973:  State of Iowa v. John Robert West

Filed May 08, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0973

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Muscatine County, Henry W. Latham II, Judge.  CONVICTIONS AFFIRMED AND SENTENCES VACATED IN PART.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J. (8 pages)           

            John West was convicted of third-degree sexual abuse, lascivious acts with a child, and false imprisonment.  On appeal, he challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the confinement element of his conviction for false imprisonment.  Additionally, he challenges a portion of his sentences requiring him to complete sex offender treatment.  OPINION HOLDS: Finding that the evidence was sufficient to convince a rational jury beyond a reasonable doubt that West confined the victim, we affirm his conviction for false imprisonment.  And because we find that the district court exceeded its authority by ordering West to complete sex offender treatment, we vacate this part of his sentences. 

Case No. 23-0983:  Hard Rappen Ranch, LLC v. Corey L. Bosma

Filed May 08, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0983

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Osceola County, Carl J.  Petersen, Judge.   AFFIRMED.   Considered by Bower, C.J., Langholz, J., and Potterfield, S.J.   Opinion by Langholz, J.   (8 pages)

            Plaintiff Hard Rappen Ranch, LLC, appeals the dismissal of his suit with prejudice after he repeatedly failed to pay the defendant’s venue-change attorney fees ordered under Iowa Rule of Civil Procedure 1.808.  OPINION HOLDS: Considering Hard Rappen’s willful noncompliance—it offered no viable justification for its venue jockeying, nor any credible explanation for twice disregarding the court’s order—and affording due weight to the district court’s discretion, we affirm.

Case No. 23-1034:  Reyes v. International Van Lines, Inc.

Filed May 08, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1034

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Jasper County, Charles Sinnard, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Tabor, P.J., and Greer and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  (14 pages)

            A moving company challenges a district court order granting plaintiff’s motion to substitute parties in a personal injury case.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the right defendant had notice of the plaintiff’s misnomer from the start, we find the district court properly allowed him to amend his pleadings.  Thus, we affirm.

Case No. 23-1091:  State of Iowa v. Sam Sando

Filed May 08, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1091

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Michael D. Huppert, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., Badding, J., and Danilson, S.J.  Opinion by Badding, J.  (6 pages)

Sam Sando appeals the sentence imposed on his conviction following the revocation of his deferred judgment.  OPINION HOLDS: Finding no affirmative showing of an abuse of discretion or defect in the sentencing procedure, we affirm the sentence imposed.

Case No. 23-1156:  State of Iowa v. Louis Lee Cubbage, Jr.

Filed May 08, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1156

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Jackson County, Meghan Corbin, Judge.  SENTENCE VACATED AND REMANDED FOR RESENTENCING.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  (7 pages)

            Louis Cubbage appeals his sentence for willful injury causing bodily injury, arguing that the district court considered and relied on an improper sentencing factor when it stated that he “almost killed” his victim.  OPINION HOLDS: Because we find that the district court improperly considered unproven activity that was unsupported by the record when it stated Cubbage “almost killed” his victim, we vacate his sentence and remand for resentencing in front of a different judge.

Case No. 23-1166:  State of Iowa v. Mohammed Baduruddin Hussain

Filed May 08, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1166

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dubuque County, Thomas A. Bitter, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., Schumacher, J., and Doyle, S.J.  Opinion by Doyle, S.J.  (6 pages)

            Mohammed Baduruddin Hussain appeals his sentences after pleading guilty to two counts of third-degree sexual abuse.  OPINION HOLDS: The court did not rely on an impermissible sentencing factor by considering the need for punishment.  Because the court acted within its discretion when it imposed consecutive sentences, we affirm.

Case No. 23-1181:  State of Iowa v. Louis Lee Cubbage, Jr.

Filed May 08, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1181

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Jackson County, Meghan Corbin, Judge.  SENTENCE VACATED AND REMANDED FOR RESENTENCING.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  Dissent by Buller, J.  (8 pages)

            Louis Cubbage appeals his sentence for driving while barred. OPINION HOLDS: We conclude that Cubbage’s sentence for driving while barred should be vacated and this case remanded for resentencing with a companion case in which he was sentenced for willful injury resulting in bodily injury.  By imposing concurrent sentences, without much mention of the driving-while-barred conviction, we conclude the district court considered the sentences to be interconnected.  We accordingly vacate the sentence for driving while barred without further opinion and remand for resentencing in front of a different judge.  DISSENT ASSERTS: Because the majority decides an unbriefed issue, bypasses the supreme court’s denial of a motion to consolidate, and applies inapposite case law from combined sentencing appeals, I dissent.

Case No. 23-1240:  In re the Marriage of Cowern

Filed May 08, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1240

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Jeanie Vaudt, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Schumacher, P.J., and Ahlers and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Langholz, J.  (9 pages)

            Read Cowern appeals from a district court order modifying the joint-physical-care provision of the decree dissolving his marriage with Brandis Cowern.  He argues that rather than placing their children in Brandis’s physical care, the court should have placed them in his care or increased the amount of his visitation.  OPINION HOLDS: Discord between the parents amounted to a substantial change in circumstances warranting modifying the physical-care provision of the decree.  And placement with Brandis and the modified care schedule serves the best interests of the children by creating more stability for the children and reducing points of conflict between the parents.  We also award Brandis appellate attorney fees.   

Case No. 23-1322:  State of Iowa v. Tyler Michael Fontanini

Filed May 08, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1322

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Hancock County, Karen Kaufman Salic, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Ahlers, P.J., and Chicchelly and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J. (6 pages)

            Tyler Michael Fontanini appeals the sentences imposed by the district court after pleading guilty, contending that the sentencing court abused its discretion by failing to consider certain mitigating factors.  OPINION HOLDS: Because we find no abuse of discretion, we affirm the sentences.

Case No. 23-1423:  Nordstrom, Inc. v. Pamela Carmer f/k/a Pamela Hyde

Filed May 08, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1423

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Heather L. Lauber, Judge.  AFFIRMED IN PART, REVERSED IN PART, AND REMANDED WITH INSTRUCTIONS.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Badding and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (12 pages)

            Nordstrom, Inc. appeals the district court’s order affirming the decision of the workers’ compensation commissioner awarding industrial disability benefits to Pamela Carmer for injuries to Carmer’s shoulders.  OPINION HOLDS: Upon review, we affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand with instructions.

Case No. 24-0102:  In the Interest of R.N., B.N., and J.N., Minor Children

Filed May 08, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0102

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Cerro Gordo County, Adam D. Sauer, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Schumacher and Badding, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (7 pages)

            A father appeals the termination of his parental rights to three children, claiming the State failed to prove the grounds for termination cited by the juvenile court, termination is not in the children’s best interests, a six-month extension would eliminate the grounds for termination, and the court should apply a permissive exception to preclude termination.  OPINION HOLDS: Upon review, we affirm.

Case No. 24-0111:  In the Interest of F.W., Minor Child

Filed May 08, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0111

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Ringgold County, Monty Franklin, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Buller, J.  (13 pages)

            A father appeals the termination of his parental rights, challenging the grounds for termination and arguing termination is not in the child’s best interests, the State did not provide reasonable efforts towards reunification, a permissive exception to termination should have been applied, and the court should have given him another six months for reunification.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm. SPECIAL CONCURRENCE ASSERTS: I disagree that the juvenile court’s termination of the father’s parental rights under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(b) (2023) allows us to avoid addressing his reasonable-efforts argument.  Although we often state reasonable efforts are not a “strict substantive requirement of termination,” In re C.B., 611 N.W.2d 489, 493 (Iowa 2000), once the juvenile court transfers custody of a child to the department of health and human services, the department must make reasonable efforts to return the child safely home unless the court waives that requirement.  Iowa Code § 232.102(4)(b).  In my view, it is time for our supreme court to clarify the “strict substantive requirement” reference in C.B. and correct our court’s practice of snubbing reasonable-efforts claims in cases where the juvenile court terminates based on paragraph (b).  I would address the father’s reasonable efforts challenge and find that his request was untimely.  So I concur on the ultimate result. 

Case No. 24-0231:  In the Interest of Y.G. and D.G., Minor Children

Filed May 08, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0231

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Romonda Belcher, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Greer and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J.  (6 pages)

            The mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her two children.  OPINION HOLDS: The mother did not challenge termination under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(f) (2023), so we summarily conclude there is clear and convincing evidence for termination under that section.  Termination is in the children’s best interests because of the mother’s inability to provide these children with safety and a permanent home.  The permissive exception in section 232.116(3)(a) is inapplicable because the children are not in the legal custody of a relative, and we do not find that the need for termination will no longer exist in six months.  We affirm.

Case No. 24-0232:  In the Interest of A.D., Minor Child

Filed May 08, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0232

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Grundy County, Daniel L. Block, Judge.  REVERSED AND REMANDED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  Partial Dissent by Buller, J.  (21 pages)

            A father appeals the termination of his parental rights raising six distinct arguments.  OPINION HOLDS: We find the father’s arguments meritorious in three respects.  First, we agree that the guardian ad litem’s reports did not comply with statutory requirements and cannot be relied on to support the termination order.  Second, we find the father was making sufficient progress in the case to warrant an extension of six months to work toward reunification.  Third, we find the department should have performed additional drug testing to determine whether the father’s mental-health medications were giving false positive results as part of its obligation to make reasonable efforts toward reunifying the family.  So we reverse the termination order and remand for further proceedings.  PARTIAL DISSENT ASSERTS: Because I would find error was not preserved on the guardian ad litem issue and I believe the majority’s remedy suggestion carries negative consequences contrary to legislative intent, I dissent in part.

Case No. 24-0431:  In the Interest of L.L., B.L., and K.L., Minor Children

Filed May 08, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0431

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Jasper County, Steven J. Holwerda, Judge.  AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Badding and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  (8 pages)

            Parents separately appeal the termination of their parental rights, the mother to three children and the father to one child.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the termination of both parents’ rights.

Case No. 22-0071:  State of Iowa v. Reginald Demorrow Little

Filed Apr 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-0071

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Johnson County, Lars G. Anderson, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., Greer, J., and Carr, S.J.  Opinion by Carr, S.J.  (11 pages)

            Reginald Little appeals his conviction for first-degree murder under a theory of felony murder, with the underlying felony being first-degree robbery.  OPINION HOLDS: We find there is substantial evidence in the record to show first-degree robbery was committed by another person and Little aided and abetted, or engaged in joint criminal conduct, with this person.  We also find the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Little’s motion for a new trial.  We affirm Little’s conviction.

Case No. 22-0861:  State of Iowa v. Lamont Lloyd

Filed Apr 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-0861

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, John D. Telleen, Judge. AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (11 pages)

            Lamont Llyod appeals his conviction for domestic abuse assault, third or subsequent offense, challenging the district court’s denial of his motions in limine and for mistrial.  OPINION HOLDS: Upon our review we affirm.

Case No. 22-1110:  State of Iowa v. Chris William Kelly, Jr.

Filed Apr 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1110

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

            A defendant challenges the denial of his motion for a new trial on weight-of-the-evidence grounds.  OPINION HOLDS: Finding no abuse of discretion in the denial of the new-trial motion, we affirm.

Case No. 22-1364:  State of Iowa v. Alexis Stephan Kuberski

Filed Apr 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1364

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, David Porter, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Buller, J.  (4 pages)

            A criminal defendant appeals his convictions for assault causing bodily injury and criminal mischief in the fourth degree, claiming the State presented insufficient evidence of his specific intent for each offense.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm.

Case No. 22-1666:  State of Iowa v. Alvonni Jante Stone

Filed Apr 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1666

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Kellyann M. Lekar, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Schumacher, P.J., Badding, J., and Danilson, S.J.  Opinion by Danilson, S.J.  (6 pages)

            Alvonni Stone appeals his convictions for first-degree robbery and first-degree burglary, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence.  OPINION HOLDS: Stone’s convictions are supported by sufficient evidence.

Case No. 22-1674:  State of Iowa v. D'iona Asia Marie Wilson-Bass

Filed Apr 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1674

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Andrea J. Dryer, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., Badding, J., and Danilson, S.J.  Opinion by Danilson, S.J.  (6 pages)

            D’iona Wilson-Bass appeals the revocation of her deferred judgment and the sentence imposed.  She claims the court incorrectly believed it was adjudicating multiple allegations of probation violations and abused its discretion by considering those prior violations at sentencing and failing to consider mitigating sentencing factors.  OPINION HOLDS: The court understood what probation violations it was to adjudicate.  The court properly considered Wilson-Bass’s prior violations when adjudicating the most recent report of violation because it informed the court what services had already been offered to Wilson-Bass and had been unsuccessful.  The court did not abuse its discretion when it revoked Wilson-Bass’s deferred judgment following her violation of the terms of her probation.  The court also did not abuse its discretion when it considered her history of probation violations when imposing sentencing, and it adequately explained why it selected the chosen sentence.

Case No. 22-1793:  Siobhan Nicole Foster v. State of Iowa

Filed Apr 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1793

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Jasper County, Stacy Ritchie, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (6 pages)

            Siobhan Foster appeals the district court’s denial of her application for postconviction relief.  She claims there was not a sufficient factual basis for her guilty plea and her trial counsel was ineffective in failing to file a motion in arrest of judgment.  OPINION HOLDS: Upon our review, we affirm.

Case No. 23-0084:  State of Iowa v. Tyrell Jarule Gaston

Filed Apr 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0084

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, David M. Cox, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  (3 pages)

            A defendant appeals his criminal convictions, contending the prior testimony of an unavailable witness was improperly admitted in violation of his Sixth Amendment right to confrontation.  OPINION HOLDS: We agree with the State that the defendant failed to preserve error and affirm.

Case No. 23-0087:  State of Iowa v. Nicolas Ross Heims

Filed Apr 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0087

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Muscatine County, Tom Reidel and Joel W. Barrows, Judges.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Ahlers and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, J.  (19 pages)

Nicolas Heims appeals his convictions for sexual abuse in the third degree, assault causing bodily injury, willful injury causing bodily injury, and criminal mischief in the fourth degree.  He argues his retrial after a mistrial violated his double-jeopardy rights, the court erred by allowing amendment to the trial information, insufficient evidence supports his conviction for criminal mischief, and he should have been granted a new trial on the charges of sexual abuse in the third degree, assault causing bodily injury, and willful injury causing bodily injury because the verdicts were against the weight of the evidence.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the prosecutor did not intentionally goad Heims into moving for a mistrial, retrial did not violate his double-jeopardy rights.  Heims waived any objection to the amendment to the trial information.  His convictions are supported by sufficient evidence.  The district court did not abuse its discretion in finding the weight of the evidence did not preponderate against the convictions for sexual abuse, assault causing bodily injury, and willful injury causing bodily injury.  We affirm Heims’s convictions.

Case No. 23-0124:  Jason Dwaine Tate v. State of Iowa

Filed Apr 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0124

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Clinton County, Mark R. Lawson, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  (15 pages)

            Jason Tate appeals the denial of his application for postconviction relief.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm, finding Tate has not established that (1) he was prejudiced by trial counsel’s alleged failure to communicate a plea offer; (2) trial counsel breached an essential duty by failing to sever two of his charges; (3) he was prejudiced by the defense expert witness’s failure to examine the weapon used in the shooting; (4) he was prejudiced due to a juror being shown on television; (5) trial counsel had an actual conflict of interest; and (6) the cumulative effect of these errors resulted in prejudice.

Case No. 23-0161:  State of Iowa v. Victoria Jo Dawdy

Filed Apr 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0161

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, Timothy T. Jarman, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  (6 pages)

Following her conviction for operating while intoxicated, Victoria Dawdy appeals the denial of her motion to suppress, claiming the warrant authorizing a blood draw was not supported by probable cause in violation of the federal and state constitutions.  OPINION HOLDS: The totality of the facts in the warrant application would allow a person of reasonable prudence to believe that Dawdy was operating while intoxicated.  The issuing magistrate therefore had a substantial basis to conclude probable cause existed.  We accordingly affirm the district court’s denial of Dawdy’s motion to suppress.

Case No. 23-0541:  Akuk Atak Alem Akok v. State of Iowa

Filed Apr 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0541

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Story County, Amy M. Moore, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (7 pages)

            Akuk Akok appeals the denial of his applications for postconviction relief, claiming his trial counsel were ineffective in two different cases.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm. 

Case No. 23-0591:  State of Iowa v. Preston Douglas Enlow

Filed Apr 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0591

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Washington County, Shawn Showers, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  (4 pages)

A defendant appeals his convictions for possession of methamphetamine and being a person ineligible to carry dangerous weapons, arguing his constitutional rights were violated because the so-called search of his vehicle was not supported by probable cause.  OPINION HOLDS: Finding the defendant’s challenge to his convictions was not preserved, we affirm.

Case No. 23-0687:  In re Trust of Uhl

Filed Apr 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0687

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, Patrick H. Tott, Judge.  AFFIRMED AND REMANDED WITH DIRECTIONS.  Heard by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  (14 pages)

            Eric Hennings, in his official trustee and individual capacities, appeals the district court’s ruling denying his petition for authority to sell real estate belonging to the Herthel C. Uhl Revocable Trust to himself.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the district court’s denial of the petition for authority to sell real estate and remand with directions for the court to resolve the objecting beneficiaries’ request for appellate attorney fees and costs.

Case No. 23-0776:  State of Iowa v. Aaron Gary Whittle

Filed Apr 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0776

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Winneshiek County, Laura Parrish, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Greer and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Schumacher, J. (10 pages)

            Defendant appeals his conviction for second-degree murder, asserting the district court should not have admitted certain evidence.  OPINION HOLDS: We conclude the district court did not abuse its discretion in admitting evidence of deceased cattle and farm equipment in disuse and disrepair.  And even if the admission of the evidence were in error, such admission was harmless in the face of overwhelming evidence of the defendant’s guilt.  We affirm.

Case No. 23-0859:  State of Iowa v. Sylvester Lavelle Trotter

Filed Apr 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0859

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Story County, Steven P. Van Marel, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J.  (10 pages)

            A defendant appeals his convictions for operating while intoxicated, third offense, and interference with official acts causing bodily injury, challenging the denial of his motion in arrest of judgment.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the record contains a factual basis to support Trotter’s guilty pleas and Trotter failed to present clear and convincing evidence of his actual innocence, the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying his motion in arrest of judgment.  We affirm.

Case No. 23-0953:  In the Interest of S.W., Minor Child

Filed Apr 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0953

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, Mark Cord, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Ahlers, P.J., Langholz, J., and Carr, S.J.  Opinion by Langholz, J.  (6 pages)

            A mother appeals from the denial of her petition to terminate the parental rights of her son’s father because she failed to prove abandonment.  OPINION HOLDS: Given the relatively short period without contact and the medical condition that prevented the contact, we cannot say that the mother has met her heavy burden to prove abandonment by clear and convincing evidence.

Case No. 23-1031:  State of Iowa v. Christopher Wayne Kackley

Filed Apr 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1031

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Cerro Gordo County, Adam D. Sauer, Judge.  SENTENCE VACATED AND REMANDED FOR RESENTENCING.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  Dissent by Buller, J.  (9 pages)

            Christopher Kackley appeals his sentence, arguing the district court gave no explanation for sending him to prison.  OPINION HOLDS: The court’s omission prevents us from reviewing its exercise of discretion.  Under Iowa Rule of Criminal Procedure 2.23(3)(d), we vacate the sentence and remand for resentencing.  DISSENT ASSERTS: Because I would find the reasons for sentence in the written order were sufficient to permit appellate review and I am not convinced those written reasons were “boilerplate,” I dissent.

Case No. 23-1331:  Marc Alan Ray v. State of Iowa

Filed Apr 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1331

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dallas County, Michael Jacobsen, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Ahlers, P.J., and Chicchelly and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Buller, J.  (5 pages)

            An applicant appeals the denial of postconviction relief, contending he was not adequately advised about a mandatory minimum and that counsel should have advocated differently at sentencing.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm, rejecting the plea-advice claim on the merits and finding the sentencing challenge unpreserved.

Case No. 23-1457:  Raymond John Miller v. State of Iowa

Filed Apr 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1457

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Carroll County, Derek Johnson, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (7 pages)

            Raymond Miller appeals the denial of his application for postconviction relief, raising claims of ineffective assistance of trial and postconviction counsel.  OPINION HOLDS: Upon our review, we affirm.

Case No. 23-1884:  In the Interest of K.W., S.W., C.W., and L.W., Minor Children

Filed Apr 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1884

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, Stephanie Forker Parry, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Ahlers, P.J., Chicchelly, J., and Carr, S.J.  Schumacher, J., takes no part.  Opinion by Carr, S.J.  (8 pages)

            A mother appeals the juvenile court decision terminating her parental rights.  OPINION HOLDS: We find the termination is supported by clear and convincing evidence and is in the children’s best interests.  We affirm the decision of the juvenile court.

Case No. 23-1886:  State of Iowa v. Justice Lee Hill

Filed Apr 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1886

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Michael Motto, Judge.  APPEAL DISMISSED.  Considered by Ahlers, P.J., and Chicchelly and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (4 pages)

            Justice Lee Hill challenges his convictions for animal abuse after pleading guilty.  OPINION HOLDS: Because no good cause exists to hear Hill’s appeal and we decline to grant discretionary review, we lack jurisdiction and must dismiss.

Case No. 23-1916:  In the Interest of A.V., A.V.-N., A.V., and S.C., Minor Children

Filed Apr 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1916

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Shelby County, Charles D. Fagan, Judge.  AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J.  (16 pages)

            A mother and a father (J.C.) separately appeal the termination of their parental rights.  OPINION HOLDS: Because after our de novo review of the record we conclude that a statutory ground for termination was met as to each child and the mother has waived her challenges to reasonable efforts and the best interests of the children, we affirm the termination of her parental rights.  We also affirm the termination of J.C.’s parental rights to S.C., holding that a statutory ground for termination was proved by clear and convincing evidence, termination is in S.C.'s best interests, the department made reasonable efforts at reunification, and the strength of J.C.’s bond with S.C. does not overcome the advantage of termination.

Case No. 23-2121:  In the Interest of A.G., Minor Child

Filed Apr 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-2121

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Adair County, Monty Franklin, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Schumacher, P.J., and Ahlers and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Schumacher, P.J.  (6 pages).

            A mother appeals the dispositional order in a child-in-need-of-assistance proceeding.  OPINION HOLDS: Finding sufficient evidence was presented for the modification and that modification was in the best interest of the child, we affirm.

Case No. 24-0071:  In the Interest of S.S., R.S., and S.S., Minor Children

Filed Apr 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0071

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

            Parents separately appeal the termination of their parental rights to three children.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the termination of both parents’ parental rights.

Case No. 24-0284:  In the Interest of K.B., Minor Child

Filed Apr 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0284

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dallas County, Virginia Cobb, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Schumacher, P.J., and Ahlers and Badding, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, J.  (5 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights.  She challenges the statutory grounds, and she requests we apply a permissive exception to termination and establish a guardianship for the child.  OPINION HOLDS: The State established a statutory ground authorizing termination.  We decline to apply a permissive exception to termination or to establish a guardianship.

Case No. 24-0287:  In the Interest of K.A., Minor Child

Filed Apr 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0287

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Johnson County, Joan M. Black, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  (6 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights.  She challenges the sufficiency of evidence supporting the grounds for termination and argues termination is contrary to the child’s best interests due to the closeness of the parent-child bond.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the termination of the mother’s parental rights.

Case No. 24-0327:  In the Interest of O.K., N.K., and A.K., Minor Children

Filed Apr 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0327

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Susan Cox, Judge.  AFFIRMED. on both appeals.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Greer and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  (9 pages)

            A father and a mother each appeal the termination of their parental rights.  The father challenges the statutory grounds and argues that termination is not in the children’s best interests.  The mother also raises a best-interests claim, invokes the exception for a child over ten who objects to termination, and lobbies for a guardianship.  OPINION HOLDS: Finding no merit to the parents’ claims, we affirm the order in both appeals.

Case No. 21-1893:  State of Iowa v. Thon Robin Bol

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 21-1893

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Scott J. Beattie, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Tabor and Greer, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, J.  (17 pages)

            A defendant appeals his convictions for attempted murder, intimidation with a dangerous weapon, and willful injury causing serious injury.  He contests the weight of the evidence supporting his convictions.  He also renews his hearsay objections to the admission of his phone conversation with his sister and the recorded statements of the severed defendants.  In another evidentiary challenge, he urges that the district court abused its discretion in allowing expert testimony from a police detective.  Lastly, he argues the court abused its discretion in failing to remove a crying juror.  OPINION HOLDS: After a careful review of the defendant’s claims, we find no grounds to grant a new trial and affirm.

Case No. 22-0499:  Atiba A. Spellman v. State of Iowa

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-0499

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Story County, Amy M. Moore, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (8 pages)

            Atiba Spellman appeals the grant of summary judgment and dismissal of his application for postconviction relief (PCR).  Spellman contends the court should not have granted the State’s motion for summary judgment and dismiss his application for PCR and his PCR counsel was ineffective for failing to “timely depose trial counsel.”  OPINION HOLDS: Upon our review, we affirm.

Case No. 22-0908:  State of Iowa v. Arnold Ray Toomer

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-0908

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Kevin McKeever, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., Greer, J., and Vogel, S.J.  Opinion by Greer, J.  (4 pages)

            A defendant appeals the sentence imposed following his conviction for failure to register as a sex offender, second or subsequent offense.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the sentence imposed by the district court was the product of the parties’ agreement, the court did not need to provide additional reasons for the sentence.  We affirm.

Case No. 22-1448:  State of Iowa v. Chad Alan Stechcon

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1448

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Ian K. Thornhill, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Schumacher, P.J., Buller, J., and Potterfield, S.J.  Opinion by Potterfield, S.J.  (11 pages)

            Stechcon appeals his convictions of willful injury causing bodily injury and false imprisonment, arguing (1) the district court should have granted his motion for mistrial after one of the State’s witnesses violated the court’s ruling on the motion in limine prohibiting witnesses from referencing that Stechcon had been in legal trouble before and “would spend seventeen more years locked up” and (2) the court erred in giving a jury instruction on general intent because it was not applicable to any of the charged offenses.  OPINION HOLDS: The district court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion for mistrial and any alleged error in providing the general-intent instruction was harmless.  We affirm.

Case No. 22-1593:  State of Iowa v. Tommy Gene Collins

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1593

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Boone County, Christopher C. Polking, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Ahlers and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, J.  (8 pages)

            Tommy Gene Collins appeals his convictions for sexual abuse in the second degree, sexual abuse in the third degree, and continuous sexual abuse of a child, arguing the district court improperly excluded evidence that he offered to be interviewed by law enforcement and that the district court should have required the State to provide specifics of the alleged acts supporting each charge.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the district court did not abuse its discretion when it excluded evidence that Collins offered to be interviewed by law enforcement, Collins did not present an issue for our review regarding his request for specificity, and Collins received a fair trial, we affirm.

Case No. 22-1734:  State of Iowa v. Tommy Quinn Jr.

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1734

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Christine Dalton, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (7 pages)

            Tommy Quinn Jr. appeals his conviction of assault causing bodily injury, alleging his waiver of counsel was not knowing and intelligent as required under the Sixth Amendment.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the court engaged in a meaningful colloquy with Quinn regarding his desire to waive counsel, we affirm.

Case No. 22-1847:  In re The Marriage of Fichter

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1847

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Pottawattamie County, James S. Heckerman, Judge.  AFFIRMED AS MODIFIED ON APPEAL; AFFIRMED ON CROSS-APPEAL.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Schumacher and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Schumacher, J.  (14 pages)

            Clinton Fichter appeals the economic provisions of the parties’ dissolution decree and Monica Fichter cross-appeals on the issue of spousal support.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the decree on the issues of property division, child support, and spousal support.  We eliminate the requirement on future modifications by Clinton concerning his income.  And we deny Monica’s request for appellate attorney fees.  Accordingly, we affirm the appeal as modified and affirm on the cross-appeal.

Case No. 22-1864:  State of Iowa v. John Michael Harker

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1864

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Kimberly K. Shepherd, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J.  (8 pages)

            The defendant challenges the admission of prior-bad-acts evidence in his trial for domestic abuse assault causing bodily injury.  OPINION HOLDS: Finding no abuse of discretion in the district court’s admission of the prior-bad-acts evidence, we affirm.

Case No. 22-1997:  Heather Lorraine Swanson v. State of Iowa

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1997

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Boone County, Bethany Currie, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (7 pages)

            Heather Swanson appeals the district court’s denial of her application for postconviction relief, claiming her trial counsel was ineffective by failing to move for dismissal based on a speedy-indictment violation and by failing to pursue a claim of law enforcement bias.  OPINION HOLDS: Upon our review, we affirm.

Case No. 22-2029:  State of Iowa v. Caimere Dupree Gates

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-2029

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Scott D. Rosenberg, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Schumacher, P.J., Ahlers, J., and Danilson, S.J.  Opinion by Schumacher, P.J. (6 pages)

            Defendant appeals his conviction for first-degree murder, arguing the State failed to present sufficient evidence to show that he acted with malice aforethought.  OPINION HOLDS: Because there was substantial evidence presented for a rational trier of fact to find beyond a reasonable doubt the defendant acted with malice aforethought, we affirm.

Case No. 22-2056:  State of Iowa v. Raven Ann Marie Taylor

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-2056

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, William P. Kelly, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Schumacher and Ahlers, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, J. (5 pages)

            A defendant appeals her sentence following her guilty plea.  She claims the district court abused its discretion by failing to adequately consider mitigating sentencing factors.  OPINION HOLDS: A review of the record reveals that the district court did consider the mitigating factors highlighted by the defendant.  The district court thoroughly and thoughtfully considered and weighed relevant factors to arrive at a reasonable sentencing decision and did not abuse its discretion when doing so.

Case No. 23-0130:  Troy Andrew Williams v. State of Iowa

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0130

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Mark Fowler, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., Chicchelly, J., and Potterfield, S.J.  Buller, J., takes no part.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (4 pages)

            Troy Williams appeals the order granting summary dismissal of his second application for postconviction relief.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the Iowa Supreme Court affirmed the denial of Williams’s first PCR application on the merits, Williams is precluded from relitigating those claims here.  His PCR counsel was not ineffective by failing to raise a meritless claim.  We therefore affirm.

Case No. 23-0157:  Keith Rath and Dennis Faltis v. Arch Insurance Company

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0157

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, David M. Cox, Judge.  REVERSED AND REMANDED.  Heard by Schumacher, P.J., Langholz, J., and Doyle, S.J.  Opinion by Langholz, J.  Dissent by Schumacher, P.J.  (28 pages)

            Keith Rath and Dennis Faltis appeal the district court’s grant of summary judgment dismissing their breach-of-contract and related claims because it concluded that they are not intended third-party beneficiaries of a force-placed insurance policy issued by Arch Insurance Company to their bank.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the insurance policy includes an endorsement increasing the coverage above the bank’s interest and giving plaintiffs a right to payment as a loss payee, the policy manifests an intent to benefit plaintiffs.  They are thus third-party beneficiaries under the insurance contract, and the district court erred in dismissing their claims.  DISSENT ASSERTS: The force-placed insurance policy does not name the borrower as an additional insured, expressly delineate that the policy covers the borrower’s interest in the insured property, or otherwise state that the borrower is a beneficiary of the lender’s coverage, including as that of a third-party beneficiary.  Rather the policy states no coverage, directly or indirectly, is provided to the borrower.  On this basis, the trial court properly granted summary judgment, which we should affirm.  As we do not, I respectfully dissent.

Case No. 23-0289:  Elisha Stokes v. Mario Murillo

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0289

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Pottawattamie County, Jeffrey L. Larson, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Schumacher and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Langholz, J.  (10 pages)

            Elisha Stokes appeals the district court’s grant of summary judgment dismissing a gross-negligence claim against his coworker, Mario Murillo.  OPINION HOLDS:  Stokes’s claim that Murillo’s operation of the rebar-cutting machine with the safety mechanism disabled fails because Stokes has shown no evidence from which a jury could find that Murillo knew that injury was probable rather than just possible from that operation.  Stokes failed to preserve error on his other argument of gross negligence because it was not raised in, or decided by, the district court.

Case No. 23-0297:  State of Iowa v. David Edward Myers

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0297

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Des Moines County, Jennifer S. Bailey, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Ahlers and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, J.  (4 pages)

            David Myers challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his conviction for domestic abuse assault causing injury.  OPINION HOLDS: To the extent Myers intends to raise evidentiary challenges, he has not sufficiently developed the arguments and failed to preserve them for our review.  Myers’s conviction is supported by substantial evidence.

Case No. 23-0302:  Gregory C. Thompson v. State of Iowa

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0302

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Sarah Crane, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Ahlers and Buller, JJ.  Tabor, J., takes no part.  Opinion by Buller, J.  (5 pages)

            An applicant appeals the denial of his third application for postconviction relief, asserting ineffective assistance in trial counsel’s handling of the victim’s mental-health records.  OPINION HOLDS: Because we find trial counsel was not ineffective, we affirm the denial of postconviction relief.

Case No. 23-0431:  Michael Duane Smith v. State of Iowa

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0431

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Stuart P. Werling, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  (8 pages)

            Michael Smith appeals the denial of his application for postconviction relief.  He asserts plea counsel provided ineffective assistance in two ways.  First, he claims that counsel ignored his directive to withdraw the guilty pleas unless the sentencing court agreed to run all his sentences concurrently.  Second, he argues that no factual basis existed for his plea to interference with official acts while displaying a dangerous weapon.  OPINION HOLDS: Plea counsel’s account, which the postconviction court found credible, was that Smith did not request to withdraw his pleas.  We decline to disturb that finding.  And we find the facts support the crime and form a factual basis for Smith’s plea of guilty.  Finding counsel did not fail in any professional duty, we do not address prejudice and affirm the denial of relief. 

Case No. 23-0502:  Deonte Dwight Williams v. State of Iowa

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0502

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Paul D. Scott, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (3 pages)

            Deonte Williams appeals the order granting summary dismissal of his application for postconviction relief.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the face of Williams’s application shows it was untimely, the court did not err in granting summary dismissal.  Because Williams did not challenge and the postconviction court did not rule on the constitutionality of Iowa Code section 822.3 (2022), error is not preserved and we do not address the claim on appeal.

Case No. 23-0515:  State of Iowa v. Trenton Robert Brekke

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0515

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Marshall County, Amy M. Moore, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Ahlers and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, J.  (7 pages)

            Trenton Brekke appeals his sentences and the modification of appeal bail conditions following entry of his Alford plea to multiple offences.  OPINION HOLDS: The district court did not abuse its discretion when sentencing Brekke, and Brekke’s challenge to the appeal bail conditions is not properly before us because Brekke failed to file a notice of appeal from the order modifying the bail terms.

Case No. 23-0519:  Otero v. State

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0519

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Johnson County, Andrew Chappell, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Ahlers and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Buller, J.  (5 pages)

            A plaintiff appeals the district court’s grant of summary judgment to the defendant in a professional negligence case.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the district court correctly applied the law, we affirm.

Case No. 23-0533:  Charles Sila Curry v. State of Iowa

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0533

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Boone County, Amy M. Moore, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Ahlers and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Buller, J.  (7 pages)

            An applicant appeals the denial of postconviction relief.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the applicant has not proven counsel breached an essential duty or the reasonable probability of acquittal on his claims, we affirm.

Case No. 23-0596:  Chad Ruby v. Justina Sheehan

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0596

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Webster County, Angela L. Doyle, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Buller and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Langholz, J.  (17 pages)

            Chad Ruby appeals the district court’s grant of summary judgment dismissing his premises-liability and negligence-per-se claims and its denial of his cross-motion for partial summary judgment on his negligence-per-se claim—all brought against Justina Sheehan, the host of a party where Ruby was stabbed by another guest.  OPINION HOLDS: On the premises-liability claim, Sheehan—as a possessor of a private residence and social host—had no duty to prevent another guest from stabbing Ruby during the party.  And Ruby’s negligence-per-se claim fails because the city ordinance is not specific enough to establish a negligence-per-se standard.  We thus affirm the district court’s grant of summary judgment to Sheehan and its denial of Ruby’s cross-motion.

Case No. 23-0646:  State of Iowa v. Diontay Marcus Cobbs

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0646

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, David P. Odekirk, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J. (7 pages)

            Diontay Cobbs appeals following his convictions for first-degree robbery and using a juvenile to commit an indictable offense.  Cobbs challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his conviction for using a juvenile to commit an indictable offense and claims the district court abused its discretion by sentencing him to a seventy-percent mandatory minimum and consecutive sentences.  OPINION HOLDS: Upon our review, we affirm. 

Case No. 23-0690:  State of Iowa v. Chad Chapline

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0690

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Bremer County, Chris Foy, Judge.  SENTENCE VACATED AND REMANDED FOR RESENTENCING.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Ahlers and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Buller, J. (7 pages)

            A juvenile criminal defendant appeals his mandatory-minimum sentence for second-degree sexual abuse.  OPINION HOLDS: Because we find the district court failed to consider one of the constitutionally required juvenile-sentencing factors, we vacate the sentence and remand with directions to re-sentence and apply the required factors.

Case No. 23-0766:  State of Iowa v. Kang Chuol Chotkuac

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0766

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Story County, Steven P. Van Marel, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J. (5 pages).

            Kang Chotkuac appeals his conviction for extortion, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the conviction.  OPINION HOLDS: Upon our review, we affirm.

Case No. 23-0788:  State of Iowa v. Valon Jackson Jr.

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0788

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, Tod Deck, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J. (7 pages)

            Valon Jackson Jr. appeals the restitution order and sentences entered after his convictions, contending the State did not meet its burden in establishing the restitution amount and that the district court abused its discretion in sentencing by failing to consider certain mitigating factors.  OPINION HOLDS: Because we find that substantial evidence supports the restitution award and the sentencing court did not abuse its discretion, we affirm.

Case No. 23-0810:  State of Iowa v. Jon Michael Martinac Jr.

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0810

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Plymouth County, Steven J. Andreasen, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  (5 pages)

            A defendant challenges his conviction for delivery of methamphetamine.  OPINION HOLDS: Viewing the record in the light most favorable to the verdict, we find substantial evidence that Martinac delivered methamphetamine.  Thus, we affirm the judgment and conviction.

Case No. 23-0811:  State of Iowa v. Jon Michael Martinac Jr.

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0811

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Plymouth County, Daniel P. Vakulskas, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  (6 pages)

            A defendant challenges his conviction for driving while barred.  OPINION HOLDS: Viewing the record in the light most favorable to the verdict, we find substantial evidence that Martinac’s license was barred while he was driving.  Thus, we affirm the judgment and conviction.

Case No. 23-0847:  Johnson v. Dennis

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0847

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Fae Hoover, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Schumacher, P.J., and Ahlers and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Schumacher, P.J.  (8 pages)

            A trustee appeals the district court decision ordering distribution of trust funds to a deceased beneficiary’s issue.  OPINION HOLDS: Because we find the plain and unambiguous language of the trust requires distribution to the deceased beneficiary’s issue, we affirm.

Case No. 23-0850:  In re the Marriage of Jennings

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0850

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Story County, Bethany Currie, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Schumacher, P.J., and Ahlers and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Langholz, J.  (6 pages)

            Wayne Jennings appeals from an order granting Christina Jennings’s petition to modify the physical-care provisions of their dissolution decree and changing the placement of one of their children from joint physical care to Christina’s physical care.  He argues that the district court improperly limited the evidence he could present.  OPINION HOLDS: Because error is not preserved on Wayne’s evidentiary challenge and he raises no other issue, we affirm the district court.  And given the financial circumstances of the parties and the relative merits of the appeal, we award Christina Jennings appellate attorney fees.

Case No. 23-0941:  State of Iowa v. Amber Diane Movick

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0941

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Cerro Gordo County, Karen Kaufman Salic, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Schumacher, P.J., Ahlers, J., and Vogel, S.J.  Opinion by Vogel, S.J.  (9 pages)

            Amber Movick appeals the sentence imposed upon her conviction for possession of methamphetamine, third offense.  She argues (1) the State breached the plea agreement by failing to endorse the agreed-upon sentencing recommendation, and (2) the district court erred by not ordering an updated presentence investigation report (PSI) or ensuring she waived her right to its use in sentencing.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm, concluding the prosecutor did not breach the plea agreement and Movick failed to preserve error on her claims about the PSI. 

Case No. 23-1173:  In the Interest of P.A., D.A., A.A., and C.A., Minor Children

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1173

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Mitchell County, Karen Kaufman Salic, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (6 pages)

            A father appeals the termination of parental rights to his four children, asking us to reverse the termination based on alleged constitutional violations and a lack of reasonable efforts.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the father’s constitutional rights were not violated and his remaining issues are waived, we affirm the termination of the father’s parental rights.

Case No. 23-1300:  State of Iowa v. Anthony George Garner, Jr.

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1300

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Story County, Steven P. Van Marel, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J. (4 pages)

            Anthony Garner Jr. appeals his sentences after pleading guilty to three criminal charges.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the court exercised its discretion by imposing concurrent sentences of incarceration, we affirm.

Case No. 23-1314:  Rehnea A. Bartholomew v. Jason R. Stanbrough

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1314

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Page County, Margaret Reyes, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Schumacher and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Buller, J.  (5pages)

            A father petitioned to modify the physical-care schedule for his shared child with the mother.  OPINION HOLDS: Because we find the father failed to prove a substantial change in circumstances to warrant a change in physical care, we affirm the denial of his petition to modify.

Case No. 23-1336:  In the Matter of R.B., Alleged to Be Seriously Mentally Impaired

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1336

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Marshall County, Bethany Currie, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Ahlers, P.J., Buller, J., and Gamble, S.J.  Opinion by Gamble, S.J.  (8 pages)

            R.B. appeals a district court order, challenging whether he continues to be seriously mentally impaired and his current placement as the least-restrictive placement.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm.

Case No. 23-1492:  In re Marriage of Miller

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1492

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Scott J. Beattie, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Schumacher, P.J., and Ahlers and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Schumacher, P.J.  (9 pages)

            Cassidy Miller appeals the district court decision placing the parties’ minor child in Christian Miller’s physical care.  OPINION HOLDS: We find it is in the child’s best interest to be placed in Christian’s physical care.  We find the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Cassidy’s request for trial attorney fees.  We affirm the district court.  Each party shall be responsible for their own appellate attorney fees.

Case No. 23-1552:  In the Interest of C.F., C.D., and N.H., Minor Children

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1552

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Romonda Belcher, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  (9 pages)

            A mother appeals a dispositional order denying modification of placement in a child-welfare case.  She argues that the juvenile court should have placed her children with their maternal grandmother instead of fictive kin.  OPINION HOLDS: We find that the juvenile court erred in considering the current placement a relative under Iowa Code section 232.2(56) (2023).  But because disrupting the children’s placement is not in their best interests, we affirm the denial of the motion to modify. 

Case No. 23-1986:  In the Interest of G.B., Minor Child

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1986

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Brent Pattison, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Schumacher, P.J., and Ahlers and Badding, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, J.  (6 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights.  OPINION HOLDS: The child could not be safely returned to the mother’s custody at the time of the termination hearing, satisfying a statutory ground for termination.  Termination is in the child’s best interests, and the parent-child bond is not so strong to preclude termination.

Case No. 23-2108:  In the Interest of J.H., Minor Child

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-2108

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Wapello County, Richelle Mahaffey, Judge.  AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J.  (14 pages)

            A mother and father separately appeal the termination of their parental rights to their child.  OPINION HOLDS: Because we summarily affirm on the statutory ground not challenged by the mother and decline to rely on the permissive exception to avoid termination or to order an additional six months of time, we affirm the termination of the mother’s parental rights.  Because we find that the State proved that J.H. could not be safely returned to the father’s custody at the time of the termination hearing, we also affirm the termination of the father’s parental rights.

Case No. 24-0026:  In the Interest of H.G., Minor Child

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0026

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Marion County, Steven Guiter, Judge.  AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Schumacher and Ahlers, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, J.  (8 pages)

            A mother and father separately appeal the termination of their respective parental rights.  OPINION HOLDS: The State established statutory grounds authorizing termination.  Termination is in the child’s best interests.  We decline to apply any permissive exception and establish a guardianship. 

Case No. 24-0032:  In the Interest of Z.T., Minor Child

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0032

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, David F. Staudt, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (8 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her child, arguing for a permissive exception and that a guardianship should be established.  OPINION HOLDS: Because we find no permissive exception should be applied to prevent termination and guardianship is not in the best interests of the child, we affirm termination of the mother’s parental rights.

Case No. 24-0073:  In the Interest of C.B. and L.H., Minor Children

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0073

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Clinton County, Kimberly K. Shepherd, Judge.  AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.  Considered by Schumacher, P.J., Ahlers, J., and Blane, S.J.  Opinion by Schumacher, P.J.  (11 pages)

            A mother and father appeal the termination of their parental rights.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the State has proven grounds by clear and convincing evidence for termination under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(f) and (h) (2023), termination is in the best interest of the children, a permissive exception should not be applied to preclude termination, and an extension of time for reunification efforts is unwarranted, we affirm.

Case No. 24-0092:  In the Interest of M.A. and M.A., Minor Children

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0092

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Fayette County, Linnea M.N. Nicol, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (11 pages)

            In this child-in-need-of-assistance proceeding, the mother appeals the juvenile court’s dispositional review order and finding of reasonable efforts.  OPINION HOLDS: Upon our review, we affirm.

Case No. 24-0186:  In the Interest of E.W., E.W., and C.M., Minor Children

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0186

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Marshall County, Paul G. Crawford, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., Schumacher, J., and Vogel, S.J.  Opinion by Vogel, S.J.  (5 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to three children, claiming she should have been granted additional time to work toward reunification.  OPINION HOLDS: Because additional time is not warranted, we affirm.

Case No. 24-0211:  In the Interest of D.W., Minor Child

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0211

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Cynthia S. Finley, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., Schumacher, J., and Danilson, S.J.  Opinion by Danilson, S.J.  (9 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights.  She challenges the statutory grounds authorizing termination, claims termination is not in the child’s best interests, and argues the court should apply a permissive exception to forgo termination.  The mother also claims she received ineffective assistance from her counsel that should entitle her to relief.  OPINION HOLDS: The State established statutory grounds authorizing termination.  Termination is in the child’s best interests, and we decline to apply a permissive exception to termination.  The mother’s counsel did not provide ineffective assistance.

Case No. 24-0319:  In the Interest of L.A., Minor Child

Filed Apr 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0319

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Clarke County, Monty Franklin, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., Chicchelly, J., and Doyle, S.J.  Opinion by Doyle, S.J.  (5 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her child.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the State proved the grounds for termination under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(h), and the exception under section 232.116(3)(a) does not apply, and the mother failed to prove section (c) (2023) applies, we affirm the termination of the mother’s parental rights.

Case No. 22-0841:  State of Iowa v. Kody Ryal Miller

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-0841

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Plymouth County, Tod Deck and James N. Daane, Judges.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  (10 pages)

            Kody Miller appeals his conviction for simple misdemeanor assault.  He contends the district court erred in denying his motion to suppress DNA testing of his blood sample from an unrelated operating-while-intoxicated offense and asserts there was insufficient evidence supporting the verdict.  OPINION HOLDS: The evidence the State offered supports his conviction for assault.  And because the DNA evidence from his blood sample did not contribute to the jury’s verdict, its admission was harmless.  We affirm the conviction. 

Case No. 22-1076:  State of Iowa v. Rodney Fitzgerald Jackson

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1076

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Pottawattamie County, Richard H. Davidson, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J.  (7 pages)

            Rodney Jackson appeals a five-year sentencing no-contact order.  OPINION HOLDS: The magistrate court did not exceed its authority in entering the permanent no-contact order, and the district court properly applied the law in finding that Iowa Western Community College, as a corporation, was a person who could be a protected party under the no-contact order.  We affirm.

Case No. 22-1170:  Lester Talshawn Richardson v. State of Iowa

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1170

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, David Nelmark, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Schumacher, P.J., Chicchelly, J., and Danilson, S.J.  Blane, S.J., takes no part.  Opinion by Danilson, S.J.  (9 pages)

            Lester Richardson appeals the denial of his application for postconviction relief.  He claims his trial counsel was ineffective given her inexperience and physical health.  OPINION HOLDS: Counsel’s inexperience did not result in her providing ineffective assistance.  Richardson cannot establish prejudice related to counsel’s performance during purported medical episodes given the strong evidence of his guilt. 

Case No. 22-1188:  State of Iowa v. Lukouxs Alan Brown

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1188

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Wright County, Gregg R. Rosenbladt, Judge.  REVERSED AND REMANDED WITH DIRECTIONS.  Heard by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  Special Concurrence by Buller, J.  (24 pages)

                On interlocutory appeal, Lukouxs Brown challenges the district court’s ruling that he was restored to competency.  OPINION HOLDS: We find the preponderance of the evidence shows that Brown remains incompetent to stand trial but is making progress in regaining competency.  We accordingly reverse the district court’s decision and remand for the entry of an order suspending the criminal proceedings indefinitely and placing Brown in continued restoration treatment.  SPECIAL CONCURRENCE ASSERTS: I concur under Iowa’s unusual de novo standard of review but remain unconvinced the standard is correct.

Case No. 22-1485:  State of Iowa v. James Andrew Hols

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1485

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Mahaska County, Myron Gookin, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Buller, J., takes no part.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (8 pages)

            James Andrew Hols appeals his conviction for domestic abuse assault, contending the district court’s finding of forfeiture by wrongdoing violated his constitutional rights.  OPINON HOLDS: Because we conclude Hols forfeited his right to confront the victim, we affirm.

Case No. 22-1489:  State of Iowa v. Jeremy Allen Bartenhagen

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1489

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Muscatine County, Gary P. Strausser and Henry W. Latham II, Judges.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Ahlers and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, J.  (12 pages)

            Jeremy Bartenhagen appeals his convictions from two separate cases, one convicting him of prohibited possession of ammunition and the other convicting him of driving while barred.  He argues neither conviction is supported by sufficient evidence.  In the driving-while-barred case, he also claims that the district court improperly admitted only a portion of the arresting officer’s body-camera recording, and that he should have been granted a mistrial or allowed to question the jurors after some jurors saw him escorted by jail officers to the courthouse.  OPINION HOLDS: Because sufficient evidence supports both convictions, Bartenhagen never requested admission of the entire body-camera video, Bartenhagen was permitted to question jurors about seeing Bartenhagen escorted by jail officers, and the court did not abuse its discretion in denying a mistrial, we affirm Bartenhagen’s convictions in both cases.

Case No. 22-1547:  State of Iowa v. Malachi Isaiah Vanderpool

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1547

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Tom Reidel, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  (8 pages)

            A defendant appeals his convictions for murder in the second degree and felon in possession of a firearm, challenging evidentiary rulings from his jury trial.  He contends the court abused its discretion in admitting evidence of his phone calls from jail, and a Snapchat selfie of him holding a gun.  OPINION HOLDS: Because those discretionary rulings complied with the rules of evidence, we affirm his convictions.

Case No. 22-1589:  Dayvon Davell Freeman v. State of Iowa

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1589

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Stuart P. Werling, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Ahlers, P.J., Badding, J., and Gamble, S.J.  Opinion by Gamble, S.J.  (8 pages)

            Dayvon Freeman appeals the denial of his application for postconviction relief.  OPINION HOLDS: We find Freeman failed to establish either a breach of counsel’s duty or resulting prejudice and waived his substitute-counsel claim.  We affirm.

Case No. 22-1625:  Wagner v. State

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1625

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Humboldt County, Kurt J. Stoebe, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Schumacher, P.J., and Chicchelly and Buller, JJ.  Langholz, J., takes no part.  Opinion by Schumacher, P.J.  (6 pages)

            Krystal Wagner, individually and as the administrator of the estate of her son Shane Jensen, appeals the district court decision granting summary judgment to the State and Officer William Spece on her constitutional tort claims.  OPINION HOLDS: Following Burnett v. Smith, 990 N.W.2d 289, 307 (Iowa 2023), Wagner’s constitutional tort claims are no longer actionable.  And Wagner did not appeal her common law tort claims.  We affirm the decision of the district court.

Case No. 22-1725:  In re the Marriage of Bast

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1725

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Joseph Seidlin, Judge.  AFFIRMED ON APPEAL; AFFIRMED AS MODIFIED ON CROSS-APPEAL.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Schumacher and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  Concurrence in part and dissent in part by Schumacher, J. (18 pages)

            Kelly Bast appeals, and Kathy Bast cross-appeals, the financial provisions in the decree dissolving their marriage.  OPINION HOLDS: Finding no failure to do equity as to Kelly, we affirm on appeal.  But we agree with Kathy the court should have set aside $40,000 in proceeds traceable to her inheritance from her sister.  As a result, we modify the decree by vacating Kathy’s equalization payment but affirm on the trial court’s denial of additional attorney fees.  PARTIAL DISSENT ASSERTS: I join in the majority opinion in all respects except for the amount of alimony awarded to the payee spouse. Due to the amount of assets each party received, each party’s retirement status, and the needs of the payee spouse, an award of traditional alimony in the amount of $900 per month is equitable.

Case No. 22-1797:  Blue Verbrugge Family Farms, LLC, et. al. v. Hamilton County Board of Supervisors as Trustees of Drainage District No. 71

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1797

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Hamilton County, Amy M. Moore, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Schumacher, P.J., Langholz, J., and Gamble, S.J.*  Opinion by Schumacher, P.J.  (8 pages)

            The Hamilton County Board of Supervisors (Board) as trustee of Drainage District No. 71 (DD71) appeals the district court decision reversing its decision to annex certain property into DD71.  OPINION HOLDS: There is not sufficient information in the annexation report to show the land the Board sought to annex into the drainage district would be materially benefited by the annexation, and therefore the land should not be annexed.  We affirm the decision of the district court.

Case No. 22-1837:  Terrence Arthur Reasby v. Iowa District Court for Polk County

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1837

            Certiorari to the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Coleman McAllister, Judge.  WRIT ANNULLED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., Chicchelly, J., and Potterfield, S.J.  Opinion by Potterfield, S.J.  (6 pages)

            On writ of certiorari, Terrence Reasby challenges the district court’s denial of his motion for earned-time credit for the days he spent in a treatment program before his probation was revoked.  OPINION HOLDS: Because Reasby was neither an inmate nor committed to the custody of the DOC while he was on probation and spending time at Bridges, he is not entitled to earned-time credit.  We affirm the district court’s denial of his motion and annul the writ.

Case No. 22-1890:  Christopher John Buck v. Iowa District Court for Grundy County

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1890

            Certiorari to the Iowa District Court for Grundy County, Linda M. Fangman, Judge.  WRIT SUSTAINED AND CASE REMANDED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., Badding, J., and Doyle, S.J.  Opinion by Doyle, S.J.  (7 pages)

            The question presented in this certiorari action is whether the district court abused its discretion in denying Christopher Buck’s application to modify a sex offender registration requirement.  OPINION HOLDS:  Because Buck is at low risk to reoffend and there is no substantial benefit to public safety in continuing his registration requirements, the district court abused its discretion in denying modification.  We sustain the writ of certiorari and remand to the district court for entry of an order granting Buck’s application.   

Case No. 22-1969:  State of Iowa v. Braden Alan Johnson

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1969

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Hamilton County, Hans Becker, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  Dissent by Tabor, P.J.  (20 pages)

           

            A defendant appeals his criminal convictions and sentence imposed, arguing the convictions are not supported by substantial evidence and the court abused its discretion in sentencing.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm, concluding the convictions are supported by substantial evidence and the sentences are not the product of an abuse of discretion.  DISSENT ASSERTS: I respectfully dissent from the majority’s decision finding sufficient evidence to support the convictions.  I disagree that the State offered much if any evidence to show the defendant could form the specific intent to assault a jailer or damage property.  Instead, the State conveyed to the jury an inaccurate view of the defendant’s diminished responsibility defense.  Because the evidence at trial revealed a failure to recognize an inmate’s mental-health crisis rather than the inmate’s specific intent for assault or damage to property, I would reverse his convictions.

Case No. 22-2000:  Kenith Lamar Lewis v. State of Iowa

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-2000

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Patrick A. McElyea, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  (10 pages)

            Kenith Lewis appeals the denial of his application for postconviction relief, which raised claims of ineffective assistance of counsel.  OPINION HOLDS: Finding Lewis has not overcome the presumption of competence on either of his claims, we affirm the denial of his application for postconviction relief. 

Case No. 22-2015:  State of Iowa v. Glenn Dale Thompson

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-2015

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Hancock County, Colleen Weiland, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., Schumacher, J., and Vogel, S.J.  Opinion by Vogel, S.J. (15 pages)

            Glenn Thompson appeals his drug convictions, challenging the denial of his motion to suppress evidence obtained as a result of a traffic stop.  He argues his constitutional rights were violated because the traffic stop was extended beyond its permissible duration and evidence obtained as a result of a search of his person would not have been inevitably discovered.  OPINION HOLDS: Finding no constitutional violation, we affirm the denial of Thompson’s motion to suppress and his resulting convictions.

Case No. 22-2032:  State of Iowa v. Manual J. Seenster Jr.

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-2032

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Clayton County, Richard D. Stochl, Judge.  DISTRICT COURT RULING VACATED AND CASE REMANDED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  (4 pages)

            Manuel Seenster Jr. appeals an order denying his motion for new trial on a remand from this court.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the district court entered the order on a remand before procedendo issued on the first appeal, the district court lacked jurisdiction.  And because the district court lacked jurisdiction, the order is a nullity.  We vacate the order denying the motion for new trial—which leaves us nothing to review.  The case is remanded for the district court to address the pending new trial motion. 

Case No. 22-2052:  In re Trust of Winn

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-2052

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Craig E. Block, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Buller and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Buller, J.  (8 pages)

            Beneficiaries of a trust appeal from a ruling denying their motion to terminate the trust.  OPINION HOLDS: We agree with the probate court that continuing the trust is necessary to fulfil its material purposes and affirm.

Case No. 22-2057:  State of Iowa v. Royal Rio Jones

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-2057

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Fae Hoover Grinde, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Ahlers and Buller, JJ.  Chicchelly, J., takes no part.  Opinion by Buller, J.  (7 pages)

            Royal Rio Jones appeals following his guilty plea and sentences.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm, concluding Jones invited any alleged error related to the presentence investigation waiver and the district court did not abuse its discretion at sentencing.

Case No. 22-2061:  State of Iowa v. Noah Christopher Scott

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-2061

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Des Moines County, Wyatt Peterson, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., Greer, J., and Potterfield, S.J.  Opinion by Potterfield, S.J.  (11 pages)

            Noah Scott was convicted of two counts of first-degree robbery and sentenced to two concurrent twenty-five-year terms of imprisonment; he is required to serve 70% of the sentence before becoming eligible for parole or work release.  On appeal, Scott argues (1) we should adopt more protective double jeopardy standards and, based on those heightened protections, grant his motion to dismiss; (2) in the alternative, there is not substantial evidence to support his convictions; and (3) the district court failed to consider all pertinent information before requiring him to serve 70% of the imposed sentenced as a mandatory minimum.  OPINION HOLDS: We are not at liberty to adopt a new standard for reviewing double jeopardy claims under the Iowa Constitution, substantial evidence supports the determination Scott was one of the armed robbers, and the district court neither erred nor abused its discretion in ordering Scott to serve 70% of the mandatory minimum before becoming eligible for parole or work release.  For these reasons, we affirm. 

Case No. 22-2079:  State of Iowa v. Danil James Deng

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-2079

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Heather Lauber, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  (6 pages)

A defendant challenges his sentence for first degree murder and a separate first-degree robbery charge.  He alleges the district court abused its discretion by not properly considering the Lyle juvenile sentencing factors.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the district court performed a thorough analysis of all the pertinent factors, we see no abuse of discretion.  Thus, we affirm.

Case No. 23-0029:  Joseph Mayorga Jr. v. State of Iowa

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0029

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Lee (North) County, Wyatt Peterson, Judge.  REVERSED AND REMANDED FOR FURTHER PROCEEDINGS.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., Greer, J., and Carr, S.J.  Opinion by Carr, S.J.  (7 pages)

            An applicant appeals the dismissal of his application for postconviction relief (PCR).  OPINION HOLDS: Finding that Mayorga’s counsel’s failure to prepare for the PCR trial and motioning for a continuance after over a year had elapsed since the PCR trial date was set and on the eve of the PCR trial amounted to Mayorga being constructively without counsel, and thus finding structural error, we reverse the court’s dismissal of the PCR application and remand for further proceedings.

Case No. 23-0256:  State of Iowa v. Rosalio Quiroz

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0256

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Muscatine County, Stuart P. Werling, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., Schumacher, J., and Blane, S.J.  Opinion by Blane, S.J.  (12 pages)

            Rosalio Quiroz appeals his conviction for second-degree sexual abuse.  He contends the district court erred and abused its discretion in admitting hearsay and vouching evidence and substantial evidence does not support the verdict.  OPINION HOLDS: We find substantial evidence supports the jury’s verdict.  And we find no merit in any of Quiroz’s hearsay challenges.  Finally, we find the forensic interviewer did not offer bolstering or vouching testimony, so the district court did not abuse its discretion by allowing it.  We affirm Quiroz’s conviction for second-degree sexual abuse.

Case No. 23-0300:  Ashley Lynn Koester v. Eyerly-Ball Community Mental Health Services, Rebecca Parker, and Monica Van Horn

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0300

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Samantha Gronewald, Judge.  AFFIRMED IN PART, REVERSED IN PART, AND REMANDED FOR FURTHER PROCEEDINGS.  Heard by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  (14 pages)

            Lynn Koester appeals the dismissal of her petition alleging wrongful termination in violation of public policy as a common-law claim and retaliation under Iowa Code chapter 91A (2022).  On the first claim, the district court found she did not identify a public policy violation so she failed to state a claim for which relief can be granted.  And on the second, it found the claim is barred by the statute of limitations and failed to state a claim.  OPINION HOLDS: We find that the district court erred at law in concluding there was no public policy justification to maintain her wrongful termination common law claim.  We reverse dismissal and remand for further proceedings on that claim.  On her statutory claim for retaliation directly under chapter 91A, we find the claim is barred by the statute of limitations.  So we affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand for further proceedings on the common law wrongful termination claim.

Case No. 23-0369:  Doyle v. Johnny B's Construction, Inc.

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0369

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Clayton County, John J. Sullivan, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Buller and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Langholz, J.  (12 pages)

            Timothy Doyle appeals from the district court’s dismissal of his breach-of-contract claims against Johnny B’s Construction, Inc., the contractor that he hired to repair his hunting cabin.  He also appeals the judgment against him on Johnny B’s counterclaim that he breached the contract by failing to pay for all the services performed under the contract.  OPINION HOLDS:  The evidence before the district court was sufficient for the court to reach its findings that (1) Johnny B’s delay in performance was excused by the pandemic; (2) Doyle’s allegations of defective workmanship were not credible; and (3) Doyle breached the contract by failing to pay for some of the work Johnny B’s performed.

Case No. 23-0420:  State of Iowa v. Felty E. Yoder

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0420

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Allamakee County, Alan Heavens, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Schumacher, P.J., Ahlers, J., and Potterfield, S.J.  Opinion by Schumacher, P.J.  (11 pages)

            Felty Yoder appeals his convictions and sentences.  He argues the State failed to present sufficient evidence to support his convictions for sex abuse, the district court improperly admitted evidence of prior bad acts, and the court impermissibly relied on unproven offenses in sentencing.  OPINION HOLDS: We find sufficient evidence supports Yoder’s convictions, and the district court did not abuse its discretion in either admitting evidence or in sentencing.  Accordingly, we affirm.

Case No. 23-0439:  Principal Securities, Inc v. Mark A. Gelbman

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0439

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Celene Gogerty, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Buller and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Buller, J.  Dissent by Langholz, J.  (18 pages)

            A party to arbitration appeals a ruling vacating the award.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm, finding the district court correctly ruled the award was not supported by substantial evidence. DISSENT ASSERTS: Because the district court exceeded the bounds of its limited review of arbitration awards under Iowa Code section 679A.12 (2022), I would reverse the district court and let the binding arbitration award stand.

Case No. 23-0474:  Thomas Michael Yarges v. State of Iowa

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0474

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Samantha Gronewald, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J.  (14 pages)

            Thomas Yarges appeals the denial of his application for postconviction relief.  OPINION HOLDS: Yarges has failed to demonstrate the prejudice necessary to succeed on his claim of ineffective assistance of counsel because by pleading guilty he avoided two potential felony convictions and eight more years of imprisonment, and the State’s case against him was strong.  Likewise, Yarges failed to present clear and convincing evidence that based on his assertions to the contrary of the State’s witnesses no reasonable jury could have found that he committed the crimes of which he was accused.  We affirm.

Case No. 23-0513:  In re Marriage of Gulash

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0513

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Henry W. Latham II, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Schumacher, P.J., and Ahlers and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Schumacher, P.J.  (5 pages)

            Garry Gulash appeals the district court’s denial of his request to modify the property division in the parties’ dissolution decree.  OPINION HOLDS: At the time of the dissolution decree, the court and the parties treated Garry’s pension benefits as marital property, not as income.  We reject Garry’s attempt to recategorize the benefits he receives as disability benefits, which could be treated as income.  The division of property in a dissolution decree is not subject to modification.  We affirm the court’s decision to deny the request to modify the decree.

Case No. 23-0563:  State of Iowa v. Quaysean Purdy

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0563

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Jeffrey D. Bert, Judge.  AFFIRMED AND REMANDED FOR ENTRY OF CORRECTED SENTENCING ORDER.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Ahlers and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, J. (5 pages)

            Quaysean Purdy appeals the fines imposed following his convictions for third-degree sexual abuse and assault with intent to commit sexual abuse.  He argues the district court abused its discretion when it set the fine on each count.  OPINION HOLDS: The district court did not abuse its discretion when setting the fines on either count.  However, we remand for entry of a corrected sentencing order to harmonize the written sentencing order with the oral pronouncement of sentencing on the assault-with-intent-to-commit-sexual-abuse conviction setting the term incarceration not to exceed two years and imposing a fine of $855.

Case No. 23-0579:  In the Interest of J.V., Minor Child

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0579

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Samantha Gronewald, Judge.  REVERSED AND REMANDED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Schumacher and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  Dissent by Langholz, J.  (21 pages)

            Guardians appeal the district court’s denial of their petition to terminate a mother’s parental rights to her child under Iowa Code chapter 600A (2020).  OPINION HOLDS: Upon our review, we reverse and remand with instructions to enter an order terminating the parental rights of the mother.  DISSENT ASSERTS: I am compelled to conclude—like the district court—that the guardians have not met their heavy burden to prove abandonment, mainly because of their prevention of contact between the mother and child and their refusal of financial support from the mother.  Thus, I would affirm the dismissal of this termination petition. 

Case No. 23-0644:  In re the Marriage of Clark

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0644

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, Jeffrey A. Neary, Judge.  AFFIRMED AS MODIFIED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., Langholz, J., and Vogel, S.J.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (8 pages)

            Aaron Clark appeals property distribution and spousal support provisions of the decree dissolving his marriage to Rochelle Clark and challenges the court’s award of trial attorney fees to Rochelle.  OPINION HOLDS: We find no failure to do equity in the court’s division of the pension and retirement benefits.  We also affirm the award of spousal support but modify the amount to $700 per month.  The district court did not abuse its discretion when it awarded attorney fees, and we award Rochelle appellate attorney fees.  We affirm as modified.

Case No. 23-0707:  State of Iowa v. Hannah Jean Hennick

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0707

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Story County, Steven P. Van Marel, Judge.  APPEAL DISMISSED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (2 pages)

            Hannah Jean Hennick pled guilty to driving while barred as a habitual offender.  OPINION HOLDS: Because there is no good cause for the appeal, error was not preserved on this issue, and we cannot decide ineffective-assistance claims on direct appeal, we must dismiss the appeal.

Case No. 23-0714:  State of Iowa v. Ricco James Fourkiller

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0714

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, Tod Deck, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J. (7 pages)

            Ricco Fourkiller appeals his conviction for willful injury causing bodily injury, arguing the evidence was insufficient to prove he specifically intended to cause serious injury.  OPINION HOLDS: Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the State, we find sufficient evidence supports the verdict and affirm.

Case No. 23-0758:  In the Matter of S.P., Alleged to Be Seriously Mentally Impaired

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0758

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Johnson County, Paul D. Miller, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., Greer, J., and Vogel, S.J.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (9 pages)

            S.P. appeals the district court’s finding he suffered from serious mental impairment and his commitment was proper.  OPINION HOLDS: Finding clear and convincing evidence to support the district court’s ruling, we affirm.

Case No. 23-0772:  Country View Acres Homeowners v. Dickinson County

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0772

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dickinson County, Charles Borth, Judge.  REVERSED AND REMANDED WITH DIRECTIONS.  Heard by Bower, C.J., Chicchelly, J., and Doyle, S.J.  Opinion by Doyle, S.J.  (20 pages)

            Woodlyn Hills Estates, LLC (Woodlyn Hills) owns nearly eighty-eight acres of real estate in rural Dickinson County; it applied for a conditional use permit to develop an RV park with 174 spots.  Following public hearings, the Dickinson County Board of Adjustment (the Board) voted 3-2 to grant the permit.  Country View Acres Homeowners (the Homeowners), a nonprofit association of individuals who own homes in Dickinson County near the proposed RV park, petitioned for a writ of certiorari to challenge the Board’s decision.  The district court allowed Woodlyn Hills to intervene in the proceedings and, following the admission of some additional evidence, ultimately annulled the writ.  On appeal, the Homeowners claim the writ should have been sustained because the Board acted illegally by failing to substantially comply with procedural requirements before reaching its decision and because its decision to grant the conditional use permit is not supported by substantial evidence.  OPINION HOLDS: Considering all the procedural issues discussed, we conclude the Board failed to substantially comply with its own procedural requirements and thus acted illegally.  We need not address the parties’ other arguments raised on appeal. We reverse the ruling of the district court annulling the writ.  We remand for reinstatement of the writ and for further proceedings, during which the Board should reopen the record for public comment.  The Board shall receive Van Orsdel’s April 21 email and any correspondence submitted as attachment 4170, that have identifiable authors, which were not read at the April 25 meeting, and the letters from Megan Skalicky and Seth Skalicky, before conducting another vote on whether to grant the conditional use permit.  We take no position on whether the conditional use permit for the RV park should be granted. 

Case No. 23-0961:  State of Iowa v. Champayne Renee Sandifer-Jackson

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0961

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dubuque County, Monica Zrinyi Ackley, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Ahlers and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Buller, J.  (8 pages)

            Champayne Renee Sandifer-Jackson appeals her sentence, claiming there was a binding plea agreement, and the district court abused its discretion.  OPINION HOLDS: Sandifer-Jackson’s plea was not conditioned on the court’s acceptance of a particular sentence, and the sentence imposed was not an abuse of discretion.

Case No. 23-0963:  State of Iowa v. Jesse Richard DeGroote

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0963

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Butler County, Peter B. Newell, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., Schumacher, J., and Potterfield, S.J.  Opinion by Potterfield, S.J.  (3 pages)

            On discretionary review, Jesse DeGroote challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his conviction for simple-misdemeanor assault.  OPINION HOLDS: Substantial evidence supports DeGroote’s conviction for assault, so we affirm. 

Case No. 23-1099:  State of Iowa v. Brandon C. Williams

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1099

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Gregory D. Brandt, Judge.  VACATED AND REMANDED FOR RESENTENCING.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J.  (12 pages)

            The defendant appeals the sentence imposed following his conviction for operating while intoxicated, second offense.  OPINION HOLDS: Because we find that the sentencing court relied on unproven facts in making its sentencing decision, we vacate the sentence and remand for resentencing.

Case No. 23-1103:  Noah Richard Knight v. Athena Soumas

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1103

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Sarah E. Crane, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Schumacher and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Langholz, J.  (5 pages)

            Noah Knight appeals from the parenting schedule set in an order awarding joint legal custody and joint physical care of his daughter with Athena Soumas.  OPINION HOLDS: The alternating weekend parenting schedule is in the best interest of the parties’ daughter.

Case No. 23-1151:  Qingli Meng v. Iowa Board of Regents

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1151

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Joseph Seidlin, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J.  (18 pages)

            Dr. Qingli Meng challenges the district court’s denial of her petition for judicial review.  OPINION HOLDS: Both the university-wide standards in chapter three of the Faculty Handbook as well as the old department-specific standards that Dr. Meng opted into governed the procedure here; therefore, the Committee and Head of the Department relied on the correct procedure in evaluating Dr. Meng’s application for tenure and the Board of Regents did the same in accepting their decision.  Its decision to deny her tenure was rational, made with regard to the law and facts, and based on reasonable grounds.  For these reasons, we affirm the district court’s denial of Dr. Meng’s petition for judicial review.

Case No. 23-1174:  Whitead v. Olson

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1174

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, Zachary Hindman, Judge.  MODIFICATION AFFIRMED; WRIT ANNULLED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., Langholz, J., and Danilson, S.J.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (20 pages)

            Justin Olson appeals the district court’s order modifying the visitation provisions of a custody decree and finding him in contempt for depriving Sara Whitead parenting time with their child.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the modification of the parties’ custody decree.  We further find substantial evidence Justin willfully violated the decree, and we annul the writ of certiorari.  We deny Justin’s challenge to the district court’s award of trial attorney fees to Sara, and we award Sara $9842.50 in appellate attorney fees.

Case No. 23-1239:  In re Marriage of Wilson

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1239

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Jeanie Vaudt, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Schumacher, P.J., and Ahlers and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Schumacher, P.J.  (10 pages)

            Raymond Wilson appeals the modification of the parties’ dissolution decree granting Staesha Fenton, formerly Staesha Wilson, sole legal custody of their two minor children.  OPINION HOLDS: We conclude Staesha established a material and substantial change in circumstances since entry of the dissolution decree warranting modification and Raymond has focused solely on his own interests, rather than the best interests of the children.  We affirm the decision placing the children in Staesha’s sole legal custody.  We decline to award Staesha appellate attorney fees.

Case No. 23-1416:  In the Interest of Z.F., L.F., and A.F., Minor Children

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1416

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Romonda D. Belcher, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J.  (17 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her three children.  OPINION HOLDS: Because we find there was clear and convincing evidence of the statutory ground for termination in Iowa Code 232.116(1)(f) and (h) (2023), the best interests of the children are best served by termination, the permissive exception does not preclude termination, and the department met the active-efforts requirement under the Indian Child Welfare Act, we affirm the termination of the mother’s parental rights.  The mother did not preserve error on her request for six additional months.

Case No. 23-1835:  In the Interest of N.D. and C.D., Minor Children

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1835

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Floyd County, Karen Kaufman Salic, Judge.  AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (9 pages)

            A mother and father separately appeal the termination of their parental rights to their children, claiming the State failed to prove the grounds for termination cited by the juvenile court, termination is not in the children’s best interests, and the court should apply a permissive exception to preclude termination.  OPINION HOLDS: Upon our review, we affirm both appeals.  

Case No. 23-1865:  In the Interest of N.S., Minor Child

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1865

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Muscatine County, Gary P. Strausser, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Schumacher and Ahlers, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, J.  (6 pages)

            A mother appeals from a dispositional order in a child-in-need-of-assistance proceeding.  She challenges the juvenile court’s denial of her motion to reopen the adjudicatory record to allow the child at issue to testify.  She also challenges the juvenile court’s decision to place custody of the child with the father and denial of her motion to change service providers.  OPINION HOLDS: The juvenile court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion to reopen the record.  Placing custody of the child with the father is in the child’s best interests.  There is no need to change service providers because the service provider is providing services and not hindering the reasonable-efforts mandate.

Case No. 23-2020:  In the Interest of T.G. and M.G., Minor Children

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-2020

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Kimberly Ayotte, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Schumacher, P.J., Ahlers, J., and Carr, S.J.  Opinion by Schumacher, P.J.  (10 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights.  OPINION HOLDS: We find there is clear and convincing evidence in the record to support termination of the mother’s parental rights, termination is in the children’s best interests, and no exceptions to termination should be applied.  And an extension of time is unwarranted under these facts.  We affirm the termination of the mother’s parental rights.

Case No. 23-2038:  In the Interest of L.H. and L.H., Minor Children

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-2038

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Pottawattamie County, Donna Bothwell, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  (10 pages)

            A father appeals the termination of his parental rights.  He challenges the grounds for termination, argues termination is not in the children’s best interests, and requests the establishment of a guardianship or additional time to work toward reunification.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the termination of the father’s parental rights.

Case No. 23-2058:  In the Interest of J.W., Minor Child

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-2058

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Rachael E. Seymour, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (6 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her child.  OPINION HOLDS: Because termination is in the best interests of the child, and additional time or application of a permissive exception are not warranted, we affirm.

Case No. 23-2091:  In the Interest of A.O. and L.C., Minor Children

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-2091

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Cynthia S. Finley, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Schumacher, P.J., and Ahlers and Badding, JJ.  Opinion by Schumacher, P.J.  (11 pages)

            A mother appeals the district court order terminating her parental rights.  OPINION HOLDS: We find there is clear and convincing evidence in the record to support termination of the mother’s parental rights, termination is in the children’s best interests, and an exception to termination should not be applied.  An extension of time for reunification efforts is unwarranted on these facts.  We affirm the termination of the mother’s parental rights.

Case No. 24-0057:  In the Interest of I.J., Minor Child

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0057

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, Kristal L. Phillips, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  (4 pages)

            A father appeals the termination of his parental rights, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the grounds for termination.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the termination of the father’s parental rights.

Case No. 24-0068:  In the Interest of L.J., Minor Child

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0068

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Rachael E. Seymour, Judge.  AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  (9 pages)

            Korey and Javon appeal the termination of their parental rights to one-year-old L.J.  They both challenge the statutory grounds for termination and request a six-month extension of the proceedings.  Additionally, Javon contends the juvenile court should have placed L.J. with his mother, the paternal grandmother.  Javon also contends termination of his rights is not in L.J.’s best interests.  OPINION HOLDS: Neither parent can safely care for this medically complex child.  We find no merit in their challenges, so we affirm on both appeals. 

Case No. 24-0069:  In the Interest of K.R., Minor Child

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0069

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Rachael E. Seymour, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (9 pages)

            A father appeals the termination of his parental rights to his child, arguing the grounds for termination have not been met, termination is not in the best interests of the child, and we should decline to terminate based on a permissive exception.  OPINION HOLDS: Because we find the statutory grounds for termination are satisfied, the best interests of the child support termination, and no exceptions to termination are applicable, we affirm.

Case No. 24-0089:  In the Interest of P.W., Minor Child

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0089

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Carroll County, Joseph McCarville, Judge.  AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (9 pages)

            A mother and father separately appeal the termination of their parental rights to their child.  The mother claims the State failed to prove the grounds for termination cited by the juvenile court and termination is not in the child’s best interests.  Both parents claim the State did not engage in reasonable efforts to reunite them with the child.  OPINION HOLDS: Upon our review, we affirm on both appeals.   

Case No. 24-0093:  In the Interest of C.L., Minor Child

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0093

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Michael Motto, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Buller, J.  (10 pages)

            A father appeals the termination of his parental rights, challenging whether the State made reasonable efforts towards reunification and whether sufficient evidence supports the statutory elements of termination.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm.

Case No. 24-0143:  In the Interest of R.M., Minor Child

Filed Mar 27, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0143

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Michael Motto, Judge.  AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (10 pages)

            A mother and father separately appeal the termination of their parental rights to their child.  The mother challenges the statutory grounds for termination, and the father asks us to decline to terminate based on a permissive exception.  OPINION HOLDS: Having found the statutory grounds satisfied and because we decline to exercise a permissive exception, we affirm termination of the mother’s and father’s parental rights.

Case No. 21-1709:  David Mikel Robbins v. Iowa District Court for Marshall County

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 21-1709

            Certiorari to the Iowa District Court for Marshall County, John J. Haney, Judge.  WRIT ANNULLED.  Considered by Badding, P.J., Chicchelly, J., and Vogel, S.J.  Opinion by Vogel, S.J.  (4 pages)

            David Robbins petitions for writ of certiorari regarding denial of his request for a determination of his reasonable ability to pay restitution.  OPINION HOLDS: Finding Robbins failed to properly present any claim for our review, we annul the writ of certiorari.

Case No. 21-1928:  State of Iowa v. Odol Lual Othow

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 21-1928

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Scott J. Beattie, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Tabor and Greer, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J.  (24 pages)

            Odol Othow appeals his convictions for attempted murder, intimidation with a dangerous weapon, and willful injury causing serious injury.  OPINION HOLDS: Because we find that the district court did not err in overruling Othow’s motion to sever his trial from Owo Bol and Thon Bol, that the district court did not err in admitting the recorded statements of two other co-defendants even though they were severed from the trial, and substantial evidence supports the verdict, we affirm Othow’s convictions.

Case No. 22-0567:  State of Iowa v. David Robert Hirvela

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-0567

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Ian K. Thornhill, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Schumacher, P.J., Ahlers, J., and Vogel, S.J.  Opinion by Schumacher, P.J.  (6 pages)

            David Hirvela appeals the district court’s sentencing decision, arguing that the court improperly considered only a single factor and failed to consider the best sentencing option for rehabilitation.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the district court considered permissible sentencing factors including the nature of the offense in deciding Hirvela’s sentence, we find no abuse of discretion and affirm.

Case No. 22-0719:  State of Iowa v. Fredrick Williams

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-0719

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, David P. Odekirk, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Bower, C.J., Chicchelly, J., and Gamble, S.J.  Opinion by Gamble, S.J.  (23 pages)

            Fredrick Williams appeals his convictions for first-degree murder and abuse of a corpse, challenging evidentiary rulings and the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the verdicts.  OPINION HOLDS: Because we find the most of challenged statements are either non-hearsay or fall under the exception to the rule against hearsay for then-existing mental, emotional, or physical conditions; the probative value of the evidence of prior bad acts on the issue of intent is not substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice or proof that Williams had a bad character or propensity for violence; that the few pieces of admitted hearsay evidence did not affect Williams’s substantial rights; and because we find substantial evidence supports both convictions, we affirm.

Case No. 22-0783:  In re Detention of Jordan Nicholas Sanford

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-0783

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Fae Hoover Grinde, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Schumacher, P.J., Ahlers, J., and Vogel, S.J.  Opinion by Vogel, S.J.  (4 pages)

            Jordan Sanford appeals from the district court’s finding that he is a sexually violent predator, arguing his attorney was ineffective for failing to challenge the basis for an expert’s opinions.  OPINION HOLDS: Even if we were to assume without deciding that Sanford’s counsel had a duty to raise the issue, we find no prejudice and affirm.

Case No. 22-0828:  State of Iowa v. Carter Dmitri Woodruff

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-0828

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Coleman McAllister and Jeanie Vaudt, Judges.  AFFIRMED IN PART, REVERSED IN PART, AND REMANDED FOR RESENTENCING.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., Schumacher, J., and Carr, S.J.  Opinion by Carr, S.J.  (14 pages)

            Carter Woodruff appeals his convictions for assault causing bodily injury, lascivious acts with a child, and assault while participating in a felony.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the district court’s denial of Woodruff’s request for a Franks hearing based on his claim the search warrant application for his tablet contained false and misleading information.  We also affirm the denial of his motion to suppress information obtained from the tablet.  We determine Woodruff’s convictions for assault causing bodily injury and assault while participating in a felony should be merged.  We find the district court did not give adequate reasons for making the sentences in this case consecutive to a probation revocation matter.  We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand for resentencing.

Case No. 22-1126:  Stephanie Pauline Eakes v. State of Iowa

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1126

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Justin Lightfoot, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., Ahlers, J., and Vogel, S.J.  Chicchelly, J., takes no part.  Opinion by Vogel, S.J.  (11 pages)

            Stephanie Eakes appeals the denial of her application for postconviction relief (PCR), arguing the district court erred in rejecting her claim that the sentence imposed on her felony conviction was improperly treated as running consecutively to the sentence imposed on a prior conviction for which she was on parole when she committed the new offense.  Also submitted with this appeal for our consideration is the State’s motion to dismiss the appeal as moot.  OPINION HOLDS: We deny the State’s motion to dismiss but affirm the denial of Eakes’s PCR application on the merits. 

Case No. 22-1298:  State of Iowa v. Ryan Patrick Richter, Jr.

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1298

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Michelle M. Wagner and Patrice Eichman, District Associate Judges.  CONVICTIONS AFFIRMED IN PART AND REVERSED IN PART; SENTENCES AFFIRMED IN PART AND VACATED IN PART; ORDER FOR FIREARM PROHIBITION VACATED; AND CASE REMANDED.  Heard by Bower, C.J., and Tabor and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J. (15 pages)

            Ryan Richter appeals the denial of his motion to suppress and the entry of an order for firearm prohibition.  As to the motion to suppress, Richter argues the seizure and search of his vehicle was unconstitutional under the federal and state constitutions because a police officer’s acts of entering his vehicle and moving it were not justified by the public servant branch of the community caretaking exception to the warrant requirement.  As to the firearm prohibition, Richter argues the court was without statutory authority to impose it and it violates his constitutional right to bear arms under the federal and state constitutions.  OPINION HOLDS: We reverse the district court’s denial of Richter’s motion to suppress, reverse the marijuana conviction, vacate the sentence imposed on that conviction, and remand for further proceedings.  Because the firearm prohibition was premised solely on the marijuana conviction, we likewise vacate the separate order for firearm prohibition. 

Case No. 22-1359:  Jared John Thomas Owens v. State of Iowa

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1359

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Pottawattamie County, Michael Hooper, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Schumacher and Ahlers, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, J.  (10 pages)

            Jared Owens appeals the denial of his application for postconviction relief (PCR).  Owens raises claims of prosecutorial misconduct and ineffective assistance of counsel.  OPINION HOLDS: Because Owens pleaded guilty part way through his criminal trial, he waived challenges to errors not intrinsic to his plea and cannot directly raise his claim of prosecutorial misconduct.  Owens cannot establish any of his claims of ineffective assistance of counsel because trial counsel had no duty to make a meritless objection to claimed prosecutorial misconduct, and Owens did not establish prejudice regarding his other claims.

Case No. 22-1442:  Susan Ronnfeldt v. Shelby County Chris A. Myrtue Memorial Hospital d/b/a Myrtue Medical Center and Shelby County Medical Corporation

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1442

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Shelby County, Jeffrey L. Larson, Judge.  REVERSED.  Heard by Bower, C.J., and Buller and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (8 pages)

            Susan Ronnfeldt appeals the district court’s dismissal of her medical malpractice action.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the district court’s orders dismissing Ronnfeldt’s claims were based in part on a judgment subsequently reversed, we reverse.   

Case No. 22-1504:  State of Iowa v. Johnny Mack Hill Jr.

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1504

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Ian K. Thornhill, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Ahlers, P.J., Buller, J., and Vogel, S.J.  Opinion by Vogel, S.J.  (5 pages)

            Johnny Mack Hill Jr. appeals from his conviction for attempted murder, arguing the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction.  OPINION HOLDS: Finding the evidence sufficient for the jury to conclude both that Hill set in motion a force or chain of events that would cause or result in death and that he specifically intended to cause death, we affirm.

Case No. 22-1628:  Ai Papiboune v. Lourdes Ibarra Deibarra

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1628

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Marshall County, Amy M. Moore, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Buller and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Buller, J.  (6 pages)

            A plaintiff appeals from an adverse verdict in an automobile accident case.  OPINION HOLDS: Finding error was not preserved due to an inadequate offer of proof, we affirm.

Case No. 22-1671:  In re Estate of Schultz

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1671

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Allamakee County, Richard D. Stochl, Judge.  AFFIRMED IN PART, REVERSED IN PART, AND REMANDED WITH DIRECTIONS.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., Buller, J., and Carr, S.J.  Opinion by Buller, J.  (11 pages)

            Three beneficiaries appeal a ruling on their objections to an executor’s final report.  OPINION HOLDS: Because we find that the siblings entered into the Family Settlement Agreement (FSA) before their interests vested and that after the deaths of two of the parties their beneficiaries became necessary parties to the agreement, the FSA is invalid, and the property should not have been distributed based on its terms.  But we reverse and remand for additional evidence of the validity of the will that preceded the FSA.  We issue no ruling on the accounting issue not properly before us, and we affirm the portion of the ruling addressing self-dealing.

Case No. 22-1697:  Growth Unlimited Corp. v. Good Vibes and Patricia Lura

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1697

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Montgomery County, Jeffrey L. Larson, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Buller and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Buller, J.  (5 pages)

            A games supplier appeals the district court ruling regarding the end of its contractual relationship with an arcade business.  OPINION HOLDS: The supplier’s contract repudiation predates any arguable breach, and we affirm.

Case No. 22-1746:  State of Iowa v. Andrew George Thomas

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1746

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, John Telleen, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  (5 pages)

            Andrew Thomas appeals his conviction for assault causing bodily injury, claiming there was insufficient evidence to prove that he engaged in “an act intended to cause pain or suffering or be insulting or offensive.”  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm, concluding substantial evidence supports the jury’s verdict.

Case No. 22-1786:  James L. Raders, M.D. v. Dean R. Price and RSM US LLP

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1786

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Johnson County, Jeffrey D. Bert, Judge.  REVERSED AND REMANDED WITH INSTRUCTIONS.  Heard by Schumacher, P.J., and Ahlers and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Schumacher, P.J.  (11 pages)

            Defendants appeal the district court order reversing summary judgment.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the plaintiff does not allege fraud in the inducement as to the contract’s two-year limitation provision, we conclude his claims are barred.  Accordingly, we reverse and remand for entry of an order consistent with this opinion.

Case No. 22-1800:  Sara Jo Weisbeck v. Iowa District Court for Scott County

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1800

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Tamra Roberts, Judge.  WRIT SUSTAINED AND REMANDED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., Schumacher, J., and Blane, S.J.  Opinion by Blane, S.J.  (12 pages)

            Sara Jo Weisbeck, through writ of certiorari, challenges the district court’s imposition of restitution following her convictions for one count of identity theft and one count of insurance fraud.  She argues restitution is not causally related factually or within scope of liability and that evidence does not support the amount of restitution ordered.  OPINION HOLDS: Upon our review, we affirm the district court’s finding that an award of restitution was factually related and within the scope of liability, but we reverse and remand for determination of the proper amount of restitution. 

Case No. 22-2030:  State of Iowa v. Hser Nay Thaw

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-2030

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Kimberly J. Smith, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (5 pages)

            Hser Nay Thaw appeals his conviction for third-degree burglary, contending insufficient evidence supports the conviction and his trial counsel was ineffective.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the conviction is supported by substantial evidence and we cannot consider ineffective-assistance claims on direct appeal, we affirm.

Case No. 22-2099:  State of Iowa v. Dimione Jamal Walker

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-2099

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Paul D. Miller (good cause finding) and Andrew Chappell (motion to set aside good cause finding, motion to dismiss, and trial), Judges.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  Buller, J., takes no part. (11 pages)

            Dimione Jamal Walker appeals his convictions, contending the State violated his constitutional right to speedy trial, the prosecutor impermissibly struck a prospective juror, and the trial court abused its discretion by admitting prejudicial evidence.  OPINION HOLDS: Because we find Walker failed to show that the State violated his speedy-trial right, the prosecutor did not exercise a peremptory challenge based on a prospective juror’s race, and the probative value of the challenged evidence was outweighed by its prejudicial effect, we affirm.

Case No. 23-0015:  Randall John Bielfelt v. State of Iowa

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0015

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Boone County, Bethany Currie, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Schumacher and Ahlers, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, J.  (6 pages)

            Randall Bielfelt appeals the district court’s grant of summary disposition to the State on one postconviction-relief claim, arguing he received ineffective assistance of counsel because trial counsel failed to investigate a prior allegation of sexual abuse.  He also appeals the denial of his application for postconviction relief on his second claim, arguing he received ineffective assistance of counsel because trial counsel failed to consult an expert.  OPINION HOLDS: Because this court has already decided Bielfelt suffered no prejudice from the admission of the evidence Bielfelt claims his trial counsel should have investigated, trial counsel did not fail to perform an essential duty by not consulting an expert, and no prejudice resulted from failing to consult an expert, we affirm.

Case No. 23-0054:  Dupaco Community Credit Union v. Iowa District Court for Linn County

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0054

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Valerie L. Clay, Judge.  WRIT ANNULLED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., Buller, J., and Vogel, S.J.  Opinion by Buller, J.  (15 pages)

            A credit union and its attorneys seek certiorari review following an award of sanctions for failing to adequately investigate claims made in pleadings.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the district court did not abuse its discretion, we annul the writ and allow the order for sanctions to stand.

Case No. 23-0062:  State of Iowa v. Christian William Goyne-Yarns

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0062

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dickinson County, Carl J. Petersen, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  (14 pages)

            Christian Goyne-Yarns appeals his conviction for murder in the first degree of Shelby Woizeschke.  He seeks a new trial, challenging the strength of the State’s proof and a ruling excluding evidence of a handgun, tested at the state crime laboratory but ruled out as the murder weapon.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the State offered overwhelming evidence of Goyne-Yarns’s guilt, we affirm.  And even if we assume exclusion of the gun evidence was erroneous, it was harmless error. 

Case No. 23-0206:  Tracy Adam Thompson v. State of Iowa

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0206

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Richard D. Stochl, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (9 pages)

            Tracy Adam Thompson appeals the denial of his application for postconviction relief after pleading guilty to one count of possession of methamphetamine, third or subsequent offense, a class “D” felony.  OPINION HOLDS: Because Thompson has not met his burden of proving ineffective assistance of counsel, we affirm the denial of his PCR application.

Case No. 23-0251:  Muzammil Ali v. State of Iowa

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0251

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, David M. Porter, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (5 pages)

            Muzammil Ali appeals the denial of his application for postconviction relief.  OPINION HOLDS: The postconviction court properly applied the law when it found counsel did not breach any duty by failing to inform Ali of a collateral consequence of pleading guilty.  Because Ali has not shown his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance, we affirm the denial of postconviction relief.

Case No. 23-0294:  Patrick William Kirwan v. State of Iowa

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0294

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Robert B. Hanson, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (7 pages)

            Patrick Kirwan appeals the denial of his application for postconviction relief.  OPINION HOLDS: Because Kirwan fails to show he received ineffective assistance from his trial counsel, we affirm.

Case No. 23-0356:  Terry Tobias Cobbins Jr. v. State of Iowa

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0356

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Marion County, Charles C. Sinnard, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Ahlers, P.J., Chicchelly, J., and Blane, S.J.  Opinion by Blane, S.J.  (4 pages)

            Terry Cobbins appeals the summary dismissal of his second application for postconviction relief asserting Iowa Code section 822.3 (2019) is unconstitutional.  OPINION HOLDS: Cobbins failed to preserve error on his constitutional contention, so we affirm dismissal. 

Case No. 23-0367:  State of Iowa v. Denis Michel Demers

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0367

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Muscatine County, Gary P. Strausser, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  (10 pages)

            A defendant convicted of harassment challenges an order prohibiting him from having in-person contact with his two minor sons for five years.  OPINION HOLDS: As the defendant did not preserve error on his challenge to the no-contact order involving his older son, we limit our review to the no-contact order involving his younger son and to his substantive due process challenge.  Because we find the district court correctly determined that his younger son was a victim of the defendant’s public offense, and because the defendant’s substantive due process claim lacks merit, we affirm the ruling.

Case No. 23-0426:  Gayle Pohl v. University of Northern Iowa

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0426

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, David Porter, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Buller, JJ.  Langholz, J., takes no part.  Opinion by Buller, J.  (22 pages)

            A professor appeals from judicial review affirming discipline following findings of research misconduct.  OPINION HOLDS: Finding the university did not act unconstitutionally or in violation of its rules, policies, or procedures, we affirm.

Case No. 23-0447:  Zachary Alfred Hayes v. State of Iowa

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0447

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Cedar County, Joel W. Barrows, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., Schumacher, J., and Blane, S.J.  Buller, J., takes no part.  Opinion by Schumacher, J.  (7 pages)

            Zachary Hayes appeals the district court’s denial of his application for postconviction relief.  He asserts ineffective assistance of trial counsel, arguing counsel failed to challenge the sufficiency of the evidence on one count and failed to request jury instructions on lesser-included offenses.  OPINION HOLDS: As Hayes failed to show ineffective assistance of counsel regarding the sufficiency-of-the-evidence claim and failed to preserve error on the jury-instructions claim, we affirm the district court’s denial of the application for postconviction relief.  And we do not address the ineffective assistance of postconviction counsel.

Case No. 23-0448:  Steve Pettett, Tracey Pettett, Joe Flower, Danita Flower, Steve Harper, and Lynnette Harper v. John Krughel and Trisha Krughel

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0448

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Mark R. Fowler, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Buller and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Langholz, J.  (13 pages)

            John and Trisha Krughel appeal from a judgment ordering them to demolish a building on their property because it was built in violation of restrictive covenants.  OPINION HOLDS: The Krughels built a building on their lot in violation of the lot’s restrictive covenants.  Their argument that it was impossible or impractical to seek approval of their subdivision’s building committee fails because the building committee existed and the Krughels had notice of that fact.  And we decline to consider the Krughels’ new laches and estoppel-by-acquiescence arguments because they did not preserve error by raising them with any specificity in the district court.  So we affirm the district court’s order to demolish the building.

Case No. 23-0535:  State of Iowa v. Patrick Roosevelt Hickman Isabell

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0535

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Andrea J. Dryer, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (7 pages)

            Patrick Isabell appeals his convictions for robbery in the first degree, burglary in the first degree, and going armed with intent.  He claims there was not sufficient evidence to show he had a gun.  OPINION HOLDS: Upon our review, we affirm.  

Case No. 23-0545:  State of Iowa v. Edwin Edgardo Diaz

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0545

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Sac County, Angela L. Doyle, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Chicchelly and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (5 pages)

            Diaz contends his conviction violated his constitutional rights, his sentence is illegal, and the district court should have ordered a competency evaluation.  OPINION HOLDS: Because neither Diaz’s conviction nor sentence violated his constitutional rights or constituted error, we affirm both.

Case No. 23-0577:  In re The Marriage of Bigg

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0577

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Robert B. Hanson, Judge.  AFFIRMED AS MODIFIED AND REMANDED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  (12 pages)

            Ryan Bigg appeals the child support, spousal support, and attorney fees awarded to Rachael Bigg in their dissolution-of-marriage decree.  OPINION HOLDS: On our de novo review of the record, we modify the dissolution decree to award Rachael transitional spousal support for eighteen months.  We affirm the award of trial attorney fees to Rachael and deny her request for appellate attorney fees.  The case is remanded to the district court for recalculation of child support.

Case No. 23-0634:  State of Iowa v. Danah Renee Kleppe

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0634

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Muscatine County, Gary P. Strausser, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Schumacher, P.J., Ahlers, J., and Carr, S.J.  Opinion by Schumacher, P.J.  (9 pages)

            Danah Kleppe appeals her conviction for operating while intoxicated.  Kleppe claims the district court should have granted her motion to suppress.  She asserts that an officer did not have probable cause to stop her vehicle because the evidence does not show that she committed a traffic violation.  OPINION HOLDS: Kleppe turned left at two intersections without signaling.  We find that because of the presence of another vehicle at one intersection, the proximity of the officer, and the totality of the circumstances, the officer had reasonable suspicion to stop Kleppe’s vehicle.  We affirm the district court.

Case No. 23-0638:  In re the Marriage of Schuler

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0638

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Poweshiek County, Shawn Showers, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Buller and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Buller, J.  (5 pages)

            A father appeals from a ruling declining to modify child-support obligations.  The mother requests appellate attorney fees.  OPINION HOLDS: We agree with the approach taken by the district court; we affirm and grant the mother’s request for attorney fees.

Case No. 23-0818:  Melvin Themous Hardgraves v. Ica Goulette

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0818

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, Jeffrey A. Neary, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., Langholz, J., and Carr, S.J.  Opinion by Langholz, J.  (6 pages)

            Melvin Hardgraves appeals from the denial of his petition to modify a custody order to obtain physical care of his eight-year-old daughter, who is currently placed in the care of her mother, Ica Goulette.  OPINION HOLDS: Hardgraves has not met his heavy burden to show a substantial change in circumstances warranting modification of the current physical-care order.  We thus affirm the district court’s denial of his modification petition.  We also deny Goulette’s request for appellate attorney fees.

Case No. 23-0898:  In the Interest of S.M., Minor Child

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0898

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Korie Talkington, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (6 pages)

            S.M., a minor child, appeals the juvenile court’s adjudication of him as a delinquent child, finding that he committed the delinquent acts of domestic abuse assault causing injury or mental illness and domestic abuse assault while using or displaying a weapon.  OPINION HOLDS:  Because sufficient evidence supports these findings, we affirm.

Case No. 23-0998:  State of Iowa v. Bryan Michael Halfhill

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0998

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dubuque County, Michael J. Shubatt, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (7 pages)

            Bryan Halfhill appeals his convictions of second-degree sexual abuse and lascivious acts with a child.  He challenges the district court’s denial of his motion for new trial, claiming the verdicts are contrary to the weight of the evidence.  OPINION HOLDS: Upon our review, we affirm.

Case No. 23-1168:  Ommen v. City of Dubuque

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1168

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dubuque County, Monica Zrinyi Ackley, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Schumacher and Ahlers, JJ.  Langholz, J., takes no part.  Opinion by Schumacher, J.  (8 pages)

            The City of Dubuque appeals the district court’s ruling that granted Dubuque County’s motion to dismiss in this action to determine which entity is responsible for future maintenance of a cemetery.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the City is the governmental subdivision with jurisdiction over the cemetery under Iowa Code section 523I.316 (2020), we affirm.

Case No. 23-1325:  State of Iowa v. Troy Eldon Rees

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1325

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dubuque County, Monica Zrinyi Ackley, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J.  (6 pages)

            Troy Rees appeals the sentence imposed, arguing he was denied his right of allocution.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the court afforded Rees and his attorney the opportunity to volunteer information regarding his punishment, there was substantial compliance with the rule and the court did not deny him his right of allocution.  Finding no defect in the sentencing procedure, we affirm.

Case No. 23-1533:  In the Interest of B.G. and A.G., Minor Children

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1533

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Adair County, Monty Franklin, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Schumacher and Ahlers, JJ.  Opinion by Schumacher, J.  (6 pages)

            A father appeals the adjudicatory and dispositional orders in child-in-need-of-assistance (CINA) proceedings.  OPINION HOLDS: We find there is clear and convincing evidence in the record to support the CINA orders.  We affirm the decision of the district court.

Case No. 23-1676:  In the Interest of A.S., Minor Child

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1676

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for O’Brien County, Shawna L. Ditsworth, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Ahlers and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Buller, J.  (9 pages)

            A biological father appeals the termination of his parental rights.  OPINION HOLDS: Because case law forecloses two of the father’s claims and termination is in the child’s best interests, we affirm.

Case No. 23-1684:  In the Interest of J.B. and E.S., Minor Children

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1684

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Romonda Belcher, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  (5 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to two sons contending the State did not prove the statutory grounds for termination and the court should have found statutory exceptions to termination.  OPINION HOLDS: The State proved the statutory grounds for termination, and we agree with the juvenile court that neither of the exceptions asserted applies in this case.  Thus, we affirm the termination. 

Case No. 23-1877:  In the Interest of J.B., Minor Child

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1877

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Cheryl Traum, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED IN PART, REVERSED IN PART.  Considered by Schumacher, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Schumacher, P.J.  (8 pages)

            A mother appeals the adjudication and dispositional order in child-in-need-of-assistance (CINA) proceedings concerning her child.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the adjudication of the child as CINA under Iowa Code section 232.96A(3)(b), (5), (14), (15), and (16) (2023).  We reverse the adjudication of the child as to Iowa Code section 232.96A(2).  We affirm the disposition.

Case No. 23-1880:  In the Interest of S.W., Minor Child

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1880

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Brent Pattison, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Schumacher and Ahlers, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, J.  (5 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights.  She challenges the statutory grounds authorizing termination and contends that termination is not in the child’s best interests, citing her bond with the child and preference for establishment of a guardianship over termination.  OPINION HOLDS: The State established the child could not be safely returned to the mother’s custody at the time of the termination hearing, satisfying a statutory ground for termination.  Termination rather than a guardianship best serves the child’s best interests.  And the parent-child bond is not so strong to preclude termination on that basis.

Case No. 23-1942:  In the Interest of F.F., Minor Child

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1942

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Warren County, Brendan E. Greiner, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J.  (15 pages)

            The juvenile court terminated the mother’s parental rights to F.F., born in 2022, pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(h) (2023).  On appeal, the mother challenges the statutory ground for termination, argues the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services failed to make reasonable efforts to reunify her with the child, and contends termination is not in the child’s best interests.  Alternatively, the mother maintains she should have been given more time to work toward reunification.  The mother also raises claims outside of our typical three-step review, asserting F.F. should have been immediately returned to her care after she decided she wanted to parent and the court erred in terminating her rights while leaving intact the rights of a possible biological father.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the termination of the mother’s parental rights.

Case No. 23-1954:  In the Interest of T.H. and T.H., Minor Children

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1954

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Warren County, Mark F. Schlenker, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  (9 pages)

            A father appeals the termination of his parental rights to two children, arguing termination is contrary to the children’s best interests, the juvenile court should have applied permissive exceptions to termination, and he should be afforded additional time to work toward reunification.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the termination of the father’s parental rights. 

Case No. 23-1971:  In the Interest of J.V., J.G., and J.G., Minor Children

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1971

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Kimberly Ayotte, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J.  (10 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her three children.  OPINION HOLDS: Finding the statutory grounds for termination are met, the best interests of the children support termination, and declining to address issues not preserved for our consideration, we affirm the order terminating the mother’s parental rights.

Case No. 23-2019:  In the Interest of K.C. and C.C., Minor Children

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-2019

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Marion County, Steven Guiter, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  (7 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her four-year-old daughter and six-year-old son.  She contends the State did not prove the children could not be returned to her custody and it was not in their best interests to terminate her rights.  OPINION HOLDS: We find clear and convincing evidence that the mother’s lack of protective capacity regarding her paramour, who is a registered sex offender, would expose the children to the risk of harm.  And after two years out of parental care, moving toward adoption is int the children’s best interests.  Thus, we affirm. 

Case No. 23-2021:  In the Interest of G.G., Minor Child

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-2021

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Lynn Poschner, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (12 pages)

            A mother and father separately appeal the termination of their parental rights to their child.  The father contests that the statutory grounds for termination have been met.  Both parents contend termination is not in the best interests of the child, ask us to consider a permissive exception to termination, and request more time to work toward reunification.  OPINION HOLDS: We find the statutory grounds for termination are satisfied for each parent and that the best interests of the child support termination.  Further, we decline to exercise any exceptions or extensions to termination, so we affirm.

Case No. 23-2059:  In the Interest of E.R., T.R., and J.F., Minor Children

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-2059

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Rachael E. Seymour, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (9 pages)

            A mother and father separately appeal the termination of their parental rights, claiming the State failed to prove the grounds for termination cited by the juvenile court, termination is not in the children’s best interests, the court should apply a permissive exception to preclude termination, and a guardianship should have been entered in lieu of termination.  OPINION HOLDS: Upon our review, we affirm both appeals.   

Case No. 23-2095:  In the Interest of E.K., Minor Child

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-2095

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Story County, Stephen A. Owen, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (10 pages)

            A mother appeals the adjudication of her four-year-old as a child in need of assistance.  OPINON HOLDS: Because we find the State established the statutory grounds for adjudication and the court’s aid was necessary to enforce services, we affirm.

Case No. 24-0003:  In the Interest of C.S., Minor Child

Filed Mar 06, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0003

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for O’Brien County, Jessica Noll, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Buller, J.  (5 pages)

            An incarcerated father appeals the termination of his parental rights, raising a reasonable-efforts challenge.  OPINION HOLDS: Because he did not request additional services and we find the efforts provided reasonable under the circumstances, we affirm.

Case No. 22-1080:  State of Iowa v. Carlos Darinel Martin-Sebastian

Filed Feb 21, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1080

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for O’Brien County, David C. Larson, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., Buller, J., and Danilson, S.J.  Opinion by Danilson, S.J.  (6 pages)

            Carlos Martin Sebastian appeals his conviction for operating while intoxicated, challenging the denial of his motion to suppress certain evidence.  OPINION HOLDS: The arresting deputy reasonably conveyed the implied consent warnings to Martin Sebastian before he submitted to chemical testing.  To the extent that Martin Sebastian challenges the admissibility of field sobriety test results, his arguments go to the weight of the results, not the admissibility.  The district court correctly denied the motion to suppress.

Case No. 22-1133:  Randy Leroy Cue v. State of Iowa

Filed Feb 21, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1133

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Pottawattamie County, Richard H. Davidson, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., Chicchelly, J., and Gamble, S.J.  Opinion by Gamble, S.J.  (15 pages)

            Randy Cue appeals the denial of his applications for DNA profiling and postconviction relief.  OPINION HOLDS: Cue has not established his trial and appellate counsel provided ineffective assistance, and his application did not meet the requirements for the court to order further DNA testing.  We affirm.

Case No. 22-1330:  State of Iowa v. Eric Dewayne Wade

Filed Feb 21, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1330

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Scott J. Beattie, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  (6 pages)

            A defendant appeals his conviction for robbery in the second degree.  He contends the State offered insufficient evidence to prove the assault or threat alternative of robbery.  OPINION HOLDS: Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the State, we find the record contains sufficient evidence to support the conviction.  Thus, we affirm.

Case No. 22-1401:  State of Iowa v. Trisha Lee Kountkofsky

Filed Feb 21, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1401

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Winneshiek County, Laura Parrish, Judge.  SENTENCE AFFIRMED AND REMANDED WITH DIRECTIONS.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J.  (8 pages)

            Trisha Kountkofsky appeals the restitution order requiring her to pay victim pecuniary damages and category “B” restitution.  OPINION HOLDS: The sentencing court listed incorrect code sections in its restitution order, and we remand with directions to enter a nunc pro tunc order correcting those errors.  We do not address the entry of victim pecuniary damages as Kountkofsky did not exhaust her remedies for challenging them in the district court, and we affirm the category “B” restitution determination as Kountkofsky failed to file a financial affidavit and waived her right to a hearing on her reasonable ability to pay.

Case No. 22-1664:  In re the Marriage of Ocean and Osborne

Filed Feb 21, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1664

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dallas County, Richard B. Clogg, Judge.  AFFIRMED ON APPEAL; AFFIRMED AS MODIFIED ON CROSS-APPEAL.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Ahlers and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  Concurrence in part and dissent in part by Ahlers, J. (19 pages)

            Jeff Osborne appeals the district court’s property distribution, valuation, and tax liability assignment following entry of a dissolution decree.  Jaime Ocean cross-appeals the spousal support award and property distribution in the decree.  OPINION HOLDS: We find the property distribution, valuations, and tax liability assignment are equitable, modify the spousal support award, and affirm as modified. PARTIAL DISSENT ASSERTS:  I dissent in part because I find the property distribution to be inequitable and would value an IPERS account using the Benson formula when dividing the parties’ assets.  As my concurrence with the majority’s modification of the spousal-support award is contingent on also modifying the property division as I proposed, I also dissent as to the change to the spousal-support award.  However, I concur with the majority’s decision to deny the cross-appeal challenging the dissolution decree’s life insurance provision.

Case No. 22-1683:  State of Iowa v. Trevin David Nicholson

Filed Feb 21, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1683

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Story County, John J. Haney, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Bower, C.J., Buller, J., and Gamble, S.J.  Opinion by Buller, J. (11 pages)

            A criminal defendant appeals his convictions for murder in the first degree and child endangerment resulting in death.  OPINION HOLDS: Because substantial evidence supports the convictions, we affirm.

Case No. 22-1805:  State of Iowa v. Antonio Jamal Kitch

Filed Feb 21, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1805

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dubuque County, Monica Zrinyi Ackley, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J. (11 pages)

            Antonio Kitch appeals the sentences imposed following his guilty plea to neglect or abandonment of a dependent person and Alford plea to child endangerment resulting in bodily injury.  OPINION HOLDS: The sentencing court considered individual circumstances and factors related to Kitch and did not rely on a fixed sentencing scheme.  Although the court made comments about its belief in God, that belief did not influence the sentences imposed.  The court did consider mitigating factors and was not required to list all mitigating factors considered.  For these reasons, we affirm.

Case No. 22-1903:  Crawford v. Mitros

Filed Feb 21, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1903

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Christopher L. Bruns, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Schumacher, P.J., and Ahlers and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, J.  (10 pages)

            Angela Vargas and Mitchell Crawford, as parents and next friends of their child, appeal the district court’s ruling granting the defendants’ motion for directed verdict in this medical malpractice case.  The appellants argue they presented substantial evidence to support their claim for lost chance of a better outcome.  OPINION HOLDS: Assuming without deciding that Iowa recognizes a cause of action for lost chance of a better outcome, we conclude the plaintiffs failed to present substantial evidence to warrant submission of the claim to the jury.

Case No. 22-1944:  Jamie L. Davis v. Gordon Food Service, Inc., and Standard Fire Insurance Co.

Filed Feb 21, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1944

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Michael D. Huppert, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., Buller, J., and Mullins, S.J.* Opinion by Buller, J.  (11 pages)

            A claimant appeals from judicial review following denial of his workers’ compensation claim, asserting the commissioner and district court erred in their interpretation of Iowa’s private-employer drug-testing law and the presumptions afforded positive drug tests under the workers’ compensation statute.  OPINION HOLDS: Because we find the district court and commissioner correctly interpreted the statutes and substantial evidence supports the commissioner’s factual determinations, we affirm.

Case No. 22-1967:  Daniel Murillo v. State of Iowa

Filed Feb 21, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1967

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Samantha Gronewald, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  (7 pages)

            Daniel Murillo appeals the denial of his application to modify sex offender registry requirements, claiming the court erred in determining he did not satisfy one of the threshold requirements for modification and abused its discretion in otherwise concluding modification should not occur.  OPINION HOLDS: Finding no legal error or abuse of discretion, we affirm the district court’s denial of Murillo’s application to modify.

Case No. 23-0046:  Janelle B. Wilcox v. Iowa Department of Human Services

Filed Feb 21, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0046

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

            Janelle Wilcox appeals the denial of her petition for judicial review of final agency action, challenging the denial of her request to add stand-alone transportation services to the monthly budget she receives through a home- and community-based services Medicaid waiver program.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the agency reached the correct result by affirming the denial of Wilcox’s request, we affirm the denial of her petition for judicial review.

Case No. 23-0059:  John Davis v. Christine Frank, Tristan Frank, and Does 1-30

Filed Feb 21, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0059

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Celene Gogerty, Judge. AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Buller and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (6 pages)

            John Davis appeals the district court’s dismissal of thirteen claims related to fraudulent transfer of real property and conversion of personal property against Christine Frank, Tristan Frank, and Does 1–30.  OPINION HOLDS: Error was not preserved on the issue of the applicability of the doctrine of equitable estoppel, and claims related to the 2014 transfer of property are barred by Iowa Rule of Civil Procedure 1.943.

Case No. 23-0165:  Douglas K. Lindaman v. State of Iowa

Filed Feb 21, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0165

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Floyd County, Colleen Weiland, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (3 pages)

            Douglas Kent Lindaman appeals the denial of postconviction relief from his conviction for assault with intent to commit sexual abuse.  OPINION HOLDS: Because assault with intent to commit sexual abuse is a lesser-included offense of third-degree sexual abuse and the State charged Lindaman with third-degree sexual abuse within the limitations period, we affirm the denial of postconviction relief.

Case No. 23-0221:  State of Iowa v. Seth Dean Foster

Filed Feb 21, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0221

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Des Moines County, Clinton R. Boddicker, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J. (6 pages)

            A defendant challenges his sentence for enticing a minor.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the court properly relied on the pertinent sentencing factors, we find no abuse of discretion.  Thus, we affirm.

Case No. 23-0279:  In re the Marriage of Wakely

Filed Feb 21, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0279

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Jeffrey D. Farrell, Judge.  AFFIRMED ON APPEAL; AFFIRMED AS MODIFIED ON CROSS-APPEAL AND REMANDED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Schumacher and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (13 pages)

            Carlos Wakely appeals spousal support and attorney fee awards following entry of a dissolution decree.  Angela Wakely cross-appeals the district court’s: (i) reduction of spousal support; (ii) amendment to the visitation schedule; and (iii) decision to grant the child tax dependency exemption to both parties on an alternating basis.  OPINION HOLDS: The district court properly awarded Angela spousal support and attorney fees at the district court level.  In its order on the motion to amend, enlarge, or reconsider, the district court incorrectly: (i) decreased the amount of spousal support and (ii) amended the visitation schedule without considering the best interests of the children.  We modify the decree in those respects and remand for calculation of child support under the child support guidelines.

Case No. 23-0349:  Michael Alexander Lajeunesse v. Iowa Board of Medicine

Filed Feb 21, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0349

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Sarah Crane, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  Langholz, J., takes no part.  (7 pages)

            Michael Lajeunesse appeals the dismissal of his petition for mandamus against the Iowa Board of Medicine for failure to state a claim upon which any relief could be granted and the denial of his motion for permissive joinder of his postconviction-relief attorney as a defendant.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm dismissal of Lajeunesse’s mandamus petition and the denial of his motion for permissive joinder. 

Case No. 23-0353:  In re T.M., Minor Child

Filed Feb 21, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0353

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Pottawattamie County, Eric J. Nelson, District Associate, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Schumacher and Ahlers, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, J.  (6 pages)

            T.M. challenges his delinquency adjudication on the grounds that the juvenile court erred in admitting certain testimony from his father and that insufficient evidence supported the finding that he committed a delinquent act.  OPINION HOLDS: We decline to consider the evidentiary challenge, choosing to conduct our de novo review for the sufficiency of the evidence without considering the challenged evidence.  Following that de novo review, we find sufficient evidence supports the delinquency adjudication.

Case No. 23-0377:  Cusick v. Cooper

Filed Feb 21, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0377

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Fremont County, Jeffrey L. Larson, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (8 pages)

            Carson and Trisha Cusick challenge the enforcement of the settlement agreement between them and Adrienne and Brian Cooper.  OPINON HOLDS:  Because the district court did not err when enforcing the settlement agreement, we affirm.

Case No. 23-0422:  State of Iowa v. Juan Paramo Vargas

Filed Feb 21, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0422

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Hancock County, Colleen Weiland, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  (10 pages)

A defendant appeals his conviction for sexual abuse in the third degree, claiming the evidence was insufficient to support the conviction because his out-of-court admission was not sufficiently corroborated.  OPINION HOLDS: Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the State and drawing all reasonable inferences in the State’s favor, we find there is sufficient “other proof” linking the defendant to the crime and corroborating his admission.  We accordingly affirm his conviction.  

Case No. 23-0444:  David J. Downey v. Taylor N. Brown

Filed Feb 21, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0444

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Union County, Elisabeth Reynoldson, Judge.  AFFIRMED AND REMANDED WITH DIRECTIONS TO DETERMINE ATTORNEY FEES.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Buller and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Buller, J.  (5 pages)

            A father appeals an ordered child-care variance from the child-support guidelines.  The mother requests appellate attorney fees.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the variance, order the father to pay the mother’s reasonable appellate attorney fees, and remand for the district court to determine a reasonable amount.

Case No. 23-0564:  Adam Paul Wuebker v. Whitaker Properties, LLC and David Whitaker

Filed Feb 21, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0564

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Story County, James C. Ellefson, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Schumacher and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Schumacher, J.  (8 pages)

            Adam Wuebker appeals from the grant of summary judgment for the defendants concerning a claim for interference with contractual relations.  OPINION HOLDS: We determine the district court did not err in granting summary judgment, and we affirm.

Case No. 23-0727:  In re Marriage of Cook

Filed Feb 21, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0727

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Muscatine County, Tamra Roberts, Judge. AFFIRMED AS MODIFIED AND REMANDED WITH INSTRUCTIONS. Considered by Bower, C.J., and Schumacher and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Schumacher, J.  (9 pages)

            Petitioner appeals the district court order modifying the child support obligation established in the parties’ dissolution decree.  OPINION HOLDS: The district court order improperly determined the child support obligation using a formula presuming joint physical care.  We find the noncustodial parent is responsible for support.  The requirement to share the children’s expenses other than the uncovered medical expenses is eliminated.  Neither party is awarded appellate attorney fees.  We affirm the district court’s order as modified and remand with instructions for entry of an order consistent with this opinion.

Case No. 23-0767:  In re the Marriage of Nichols and Mauro

Filed Feb 21, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0767

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Robert J. Blink, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Schumacher, P.J., and Ahlers and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Langholz, J.  (13 pages)

            Charles Nichols appeals from the district court’s dismissal of his marriage dissolution petition for failing to prove a common-law marriage with Mary Molloy Mauro.  OPINION HOLDS:  While Nichols has much evidence on his side, he has not carried his burden to prove a common-law marriage.  On balance, the parties’ shifting assertions of married and single status in various contexts reflect an intent to serve their personal convenience or financial benefit—not a present intent and agreement to be married.  Given the close merits of this appeal and the relative financial circumstances of the parties, we decline Molloy Mauro’s request for appellate attorney fees.

Case No. 23-0854:  State of Iowa v. David Duane Boley

Filed Feb 21, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0854

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Appanoose County, Greg Milani, Judge.  CONVICTION AFFIRMED, SENTENCE VACATED IN PART, AND REMANDED FOR RESENTENCING.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J. (6 pages)

            David Duane Boley appeals his convictions and sentences on charges of sexual abuse and incest, contending there is insufficient evidence supporting his convictions and the trial court abused its discretion when sentencing.  OPINION HOLDS: Because substantial evidence supports the verdicts, we affirm his convictions.  But because the trial court abused its discretion when imposing fines, we vacate this portion of the sentence and remand for limited resentencing on this issue.

Case No. 23-1700:  In the Interest of J.M., Minor Child

Filed Feb 21, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1700

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Susan Cox, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Schumacher, P.J., Ahlers, J., and Mullins, S.J.  Opinion by Schumacher, P.J.  (7 pages)

            An adoptive mother appeals the termination of her parental rights.  OPINION HOLDS: We find there is clear and convincing evidence in the record to support termination of the adoptive mother’s parental rights.  Also, termination of her parental rights is in the best interests of the child.  We affirm the decision of the district court.

Case No. 23-1930:  In the Interest of D.D. and L.D., Minor Children

Filed Feb 21, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1930

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Lynn Poschner, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  (10 pages)

            A mother and father separately appeal the termination of their parental rights to their two children.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the State proved grounds for termination by clear and convincing evidence and termination is in the best interests of D.D. and L.D., we affirm.  We also do not find an exception for a bond, nor do we grant the father’s request to defer permanency for six months.  We affirm on both appeals.

Case No. 23-2011:  In re C.S., Minor Child

Filed Feb 21, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-2011

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Romonda Belcher, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Schumacher and Ahlers, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, J.  Special Concurrence by Greer, P.J.  (12 pages)

            A mother and father separately appeal the termination of their respective parental rights to their child.  Both argue the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services failed to make reasonable efforts toward reunification and termination is not in the child’s best interests due to the strength of the parent-child bonds.  OPINION HOLDS: The department made reasonable efforts to facilitate reunification.  Termination is in the child’s best interests, and neither parent established a parent-child bond strong enough to forgo termination.  SPECIAL CONCURRENCE ASSERTS: I believe that the mother properly preserved her argument that the department failed to provide reasonable efforts when it provided her with a bus pass in light of her trauma with riding the bus system.  But, because the failure to address the issue with the bus pass did not impact the mother’s visitations, I agree with the majority that we should affirm the termination of the mother’s parental rights.

Case No. 23-2023:  In the Interest of C.M., J.M., L.M., T.M., and Z.M., Minor Children

Filed Feb 21, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-2023

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Poweshiek County, Richelle Mahaffey, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  (9 pages)

            Parents separately appeal the termination of their parental rights to five children under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(f) and (h) (2023).  The mother argues termination was contrary to the children’s best interests, she is “bonded with the children,” and “[a]dditional time would have allowed [her] to obtain permanent housing and employment.”  The father argues the lack of visitation-related services after the parents moved to Illinois shortly before the termination hearing constituted a failure to make reasonable efforts at reunification.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the termination of the parents’ parental rights.

Case No. 23-2112:  In re Q.B., Minor Child

Filed Feb 21, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-2112

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Cheryl Traum, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Buller, J.  (4 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm.

Case No. 21-0934:  State of Iowa v. Michelle Lee Boat

Filed Feb 07, 2024

View Opinion No. 21-0934

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Marion County, Patrick W. Greenwood, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J.  (18 pages)

            Michelle Boat appeals her conviction and sentence for murder in the first degree.  OPINION HOLDS: The district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Boat’s motion to strike a potential juror for cause or in denying her motion for mistrial based on prosecutorial error.  The court also did not err in considering Boat’s assets that are exempt from execution when determining her reasonable ability to pay category “B” restitution.  Therefore, we affirm.

Case No. 22-0936:  State of Iowa v. Reginald Eugene Stewart, Jr.

Filed Feb 07, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-0936

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dubuque County, Thomas A. Bitter, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  (20  pages)

            A defendant appeals his criminal convictions raising double jeopardy, insufficient evidence, and evidentiary claims.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the defendant’s convictions, concluding his rights against double jeopardy were not violated and substantial evidence supported the jury’s verdict finding him guilty of attempt to commit murder.  As for the claimed evidentiary errors, we find no prejudice by the admission of the child’s drawings, error was not preserved on the objection to the forensic interviewer’s testimony, and the photographs showing the victim’s injuries were not so unfairly prejudicial as to outweigh their probative value. 

Case No. 22-1354:  Joshua David Mitchell v. State of Iowa

Filed Feb 07, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1354

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Patrick R. Grady, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Schumacher, P.J., Badding, J., and Doyle, S.J.  Opinion by Doyle, S.J.  (5 pages)

            Joshua Mitchell appeals the denial of his second application for postconviction relief after pleading guilty to two counts of second-degree sexual abuse.  OPINION HOLDS: Mitchell is barred from relitigating his challenge to the knowing and intelligent nature of his guilty pleas, and he has not met his burden of showing actual innocence. 

Case No. 22-1419:  Avenarius v. State

Filed Feb 07, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1419

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Samantha Gronewald, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Bower, C.J., and Tabor and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  Langholz, J., takes no part.  (12 pages)

            On interlocutory appeal of the order denying its motion for partial summary judgment, the State contends the district court erred by finding a document signed by Katherine Avenarius did not express a clear intent to waive personal injury claims resulting from the defendant’s negligence.  OPINION HOLDS:  Because the document does not express an intent to release the State from liability for claims related to its own negligent acts, either in the express language used or the context provided, the district court properly denied the State’s motion for partial summary judgment.

Case No. 22-1432:  State of Iowa v. Anthony James Stock Sr.

Filed Feb 07, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1432

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Jeffrey D. Bert, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Ahlers and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, P.J.  (12 pages)

            Anthony Stock appeals his convictions for first-degree burglary, first-degree robbery, conspiracy to commit a forcible felony, and going armed with intent, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence underlying the convictions and the district court’s denial of his motion for a mistrial.  OPINION HOLDS: Because we find substantial evidence supports the convictions and Stock failed to object and preserve error on his motion for a mistrial, we affirm.

Case No. 22-1454:  State of Iowa v. Justin Lee Borchers

Filed Feb 07, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1454

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Plymouth County, Jeffrey L. Poulson, Jeffrey A. Neary, and Patrick H. Tott, Judges.  AFFIRMED IN PART, REVERSED IN PART, AND REMANDED.  Heard by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  (21 pages)

            Justin Lee Borchers appeals his convictions for introducing controlled substances into a jail and possession of controlled substances.  He contends there was insufficient evidence that he introduced the substances into the jail; his waiver of counsel was not knowing, intelligent, and voluntary; the court should have granted his motion to suppress; the court should have ordered a competency evaluation; and the court should have found him incompetent to represent himself.  OPINION HOLDS: We find substantial evidence does not support his convictions for introducing substances into the jail.  We reverse and remand for dismissal of those charges.  But because his other claims fail, we affirm his convictions for possession of controlled substances.  We also remand for resentencing on the remaining convictions.

Case No. 22-1702:  Mallory Rose Marie Logston v. Matthew David Steen

Filed Feb 07, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1702

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Appanoose County, Lucy J. Gamon, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Bower, C.J., and Buller and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (9 pages)

            Matthew Steen appeals the district court’s ruling granting Mallory Logston physical care and the dependency tax exemption and setting his visitation rights.  OPINION HOLDS: Upon our review, we affirm.

Case No. 22-1804:  State of Iowa v. Gustavo Huerta

Filed Feb 07, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1804

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dubuque County, Monica Zrinyi Ackley, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J. (11 pages)

            Gustavo Huerta appeals his convictions and sentences after a jury found him guilty of sexual exploitation of a minor and enticing a minor.  OPINION HOLDS: I. Substantial evidence supports the finding that Huerta exchanged messages with a person under the age of sixteen, supporting his conviction for enticing a minor.  Substantial evidence also supports a finding that Huerta caused or attempted to cause a minor to engage in the display of nudity, supporting his conviction for sexual exploitation of a minor.  Because substantial evidence supports his sexual-exploitation conviction under both theories alleged by the State, we do not address Huerta’s constitutional challenge to Iowa Code section 814.28 (2020).  II. The district court exercised its discretion in sentencing Huerta to consecutive sentences.

Case No. 22-1849:  State of Iowa v. Kelvin Devell Willform

Filed Feb 07, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1849

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Des Moines County, Emily Dean, District Associate Judge.  REVERSED AND REMANDED FOR NEW TRIAL.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  (12 pages)

            A defendant appeals his conviction for possession of marijuana.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the court denied Willform his right to self-representation guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment, we must reverse and remand for a new trial on his conviction for marijuana possession. 

Case No. 22-1885:  Gary Romello Wise v. State of Iowa

Filed Feb 07, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1885

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Joel Dalrymple, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  (8 pages)

            Gary Wise appeals the denial of his application for postconviction relief.  He argues trial counsel provided ineffective assistance because he investigated no defense and “bullied” Wise into waiving a jury trial.  Wise also alleges that he was prejudiced by the subpar performance of his postconviction-relief counsel.  OPINION HOLDS: Wise failed to show that trial counsel breached a material duty in the criminal case and failed to show postconviction-relief counsel’s performance resulted in prejudice in those proceedings.  So we affirm the denial of relief. 

Case No. 22-1934:  Andrew Gray Caulker v. State of Iowa

Filed Feb 07, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1934

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Michael Huppert, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Schumacher, P.J., Ahlers, and Potterfield, S.J.* Opinion by Schumacher, P.J.  (7 pages)

            An applicant appeals the denial of his application for postconviction relief, arguing ineffective assistance of counsel.  OPINION HOLDS: Because we conclude that the applicant’s trial counsel did not breach an essential duty and the applicant cannot demonstrate prejudice, we affirm.

Case No. 22-1976:  State of Iowa v. Matthew Ray Oney

Filed Feb 07, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1976

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Crawford County, Zachary Hindman, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., Ahlers, J., and Blane, S.J.  Opinion by Blane, S.J.  (7 pages)

            Matthew Oney appeals the jury’s guilty verdicts claiming there is insufficient evidence to identify him as the perpetrator.  OPINION HOLDS: We find substantial evidence supports the jury’s verdicts and affirm.

Case No. 22-1994:  State of Iowa v. Elijah Daniel Davis

Filed Feb 07, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1994

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Adair County, Scott J. Beattie, Judge.  CONVICTION AFFIRMED, SENTENCE VACATED IN PART, AND REMANDED FOR RESENTENCING.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J. (6 pages)

            Elijah Daniel Davis appeals his conviction and sentence, contending that there is insufficient evidence supporting his conviction for homicide by vehicle and the district court abused its discretion when sentencing him for child endangerment.  OPINION HOLDS: Because substantial evidence supports the verdict, we affirm his conviction for homicide by vehicle.  But because the district court abused its discretion when imposing the fine for child endangerment, we vacate this portion of the sentence and remand for resentencing on this issue.

Case No. 22-2040:  State of Iowa v. Randy Lynn Barnes

Filed Feb 07, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-2040

No. 22-2040   STATE v. BARNES

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Coleman McAllister, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Ahlers and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Buller, J. (3 pages)

            A criminal defendant appeals his sentence following conviction for eleven burglary-related offenses.  OPINION HOLDS: The district court considered its sentencing options before imposing a term of imprisonment and did not abuse its discretion.

Case No. 22-2049:  Sandry v. Iowa Public Employment Relations Board

Filed Feb 07, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-2049

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, David Nelmark, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Schumacher and Ahlers, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, P.J.  (18 pages)

            Sunny Sandry appeals the district court’s decision on judicial review affirming the Iowa Public Employment Relations Board’s (PERB) ruling finding just cause to support her termination from employment with the Iowa Department of Transportation.  OPINION HOLDS: The standard of review here is for whether the agency’s application of law to fact was irrational, illogical, or wholly unjustifiable.  Applying that standard of review, we find that substantial evidence supports the finding that Sandry’s took money from the state and therefore just cause existed for her termination.  As the appellee, PERB did not waive its arguments on appeal by joining in intervenor Department of Administrative Services’s brief, and we affirm.

Case No. 22-2051:  In re the Marriage of Routt

Filed Feb 07, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-2051

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Davis County, Crystal S. Cronk, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  (8 pages)

            A father appeals the denial of his motion to quash an income-withholding order entered by the Child Support Recovery Unit.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the father did not preserve error on his challenges to the district court’s denial of his motion to quash that order, we affirm without reaching the merits of his claims.

Case No. 22-2074:  State of Iowa v. Antwan Antonio Johnson, Sr.

Filed Feb 07, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-2074

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Brook Jacobsen, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  (8 pages)

            A defendant appeals his convictions for child endangerment and domestic abuse assault, second offense.  The defendant argues the district court abused its discretion in (1) admitting audio recordings of two 911 phone calls; (2) allowing opinion testimony by a police officer that the defendant’s wife was not cooperative; (3) overruling an objection to rebuttal evidence; and (4) denying his for-cause challenge to a potential juror.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the defendant’s claims on appeal were either not preserved for our review or did not result in prejudice, we affirm his convictions.

Case No. 22-2098:  Smith v. Iowa Association of Community College Trustees

Filed Feb 07, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-2098

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Robert B. Hanson, Judge.  REVERSED AND REMANDED WITH DIRECTIONS.  Heard by Greer, P.J., and Ahlers and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, P.J.  (28 pages)

            Graphite Construction Group, Inc. (Graphite Construction), the principal contractor on a public construction project, appeals the district court’s ruling that it was not yet due part of the retainage being held by the owner of the project, Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC).  OPINION HOLDS: Because Graphite Construction’s request for release of the full value of the surety bond from the retainage fund was timely and appropriate under Iowa Code section 573.16(2) (2022), and because DMACC cannot rely on section 573.28 to withhold some retainage based on the value of uncompleted labor and materials, we reverse the decision of the district court and remand for an order granting payment from the retention fund in the amount of $82,627.78, plus interest as provided by section 573.16(2).  We deny the request to award attorney fees to Graphite Construction.

Case No. 23-0022:  In re R.J. Wenck Trust

Filed Feb 07, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0022

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Madison County, Martha L. Mertz, Judge.  AFFIRMED ON APPEAL; REVERSED ON CROSS-APPEAL.  Heard by Schumacher, P.J., and Ahlers and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, J.  (13 pages)

            A lifetime beneficiary of a trust appeals the denial of his application for distribution, seeking distribution of remaining 2018 trust net income and a portion of the principal.  Trust remaindermen cross-appeal an order for the trust to pay a portion of the lifetime beneficiary’s attorney fees.  OPINION HOLDS: There is no remaining 2018 net income to distribute, and the trustee did not abuse his discretion when he denied the lifetime beneficiary’s request for a principal distribution.  Accordingly, we affirm on direct appeal.  The district court erred by concluding Iowa Code section 633A.4507 (2019) authorized payment of a portion of the lifetime beneficiary’s attorney fees because the attorney’s efforts did not involve administration of the trust.  Therefore, we reverse on cross-appeal.

Case No. 23-0028:  David Deshawn Bradford v. State of Iowa

Filed Feb 07, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0028

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Kellyann M. Lekar, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Ahlers and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, P.J.  (6 pages)

            David Bradford appeals the dismissal of his third application for postconviction relief (PCR).  OPINION HOLDS: Because Bradford already raised and we already decided his claim of ineffective assistance of trial counsel in his first PCR action and it does not qualify under the ground-of-fact-or-law exception, we affirm the PCR court.

Case No. 23-0045:  Kraft Heinz Company and Indemnity Insurance Company of North America v. Ernest Bynum

Filed Feb 07, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0045

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

            An employer appeals the district court’s denial of its petition for judicial review, challenging the workers’ compensation commissioner’s ruling that its employee provided timely notice of a workplace injury.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the commissioner’s ruling is supported by substantial evidence, we affirm.

Case No. 23-0090:  Bernard J. Fischer v. Pauline M. Fischer, Gregory Fischer, and Theresa Lane

Filed Feb 07, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0090

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Pottawattamie County, Greg W. Steensland, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Ahlers and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, J.  (11 pages)

            Bernard Fischer appeals the district court’s findings that his siblings did not breach their fiduciary duties as their mother’s agents pursuant to a power of attorney and that they rebutted the presumption of undue influence.  He also appeals the denial of his claim for attorney fees and asks for appellate attorney fees.  OPINION HOLDS: On our de novo review, we find that the agents did not breach their fiduciary duties and rebutted the presumption of undue influence.  The district court did not abuse its discretion in denying attorney fees, and we deny the claim for appellate attorney fees.

Case No. 23-0100:  State of Iowa v. Bridgett Denise Kuebler

Filed Feb 07, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0100

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dallas County, Erica Crisp, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J. (11 pages)

            A defendant appeals her convictions for operating while intoxicated, second offense, and child endangerment, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence supporting both convictions.  OPINION HOLDS: Because we find there is substantial evidence supporting the jury’s verdict, we affirm. 

Case No. 23-0142:  Baltimore v. Dallas County

Filed Feb 07, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0142

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dallas County, Terry Rickers, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Schumacher, P.J., and Ahlers and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Schumacher, P.J.  (11 pages)

            Shad Baltimore appeals the district court decision finding the Dallas County Board of Supervisors (Board) did not act illegally by rezoning a portion of the property owned by Alternate Route Properties, LLC from agricultural to light industrial.  OPINION HOLDS: We find the Board was not required to amend the Dallas County Comprehensive Plan, the Board’s decision was consistent with the comprehensive plan, the Board did not engage in illegal spot zoning, and the Board acted reasonably.  We affirm the district court.

Case No. 23-0163:  State of Iowa v. Robert Stewart Eakin Sr.

Filed Feb 07, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0163

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Hardin County, John R. Flynn, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Buller, J., takes no part.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J. (9 pages)

            A defendant appeals two convictions for third-degree sexual abuse.  He seeks a new trial, alleging the district court should have excluded evidence of the sexual abuse underlying a conviction that we affirmed in his first appeal.  OPINION HOLDS: Because that evidence was admissible under Iowa Code section 701.11 (2022), we affirm.

Case No. 23-0177:  In re Marriage of Merry

Filed Feb 07, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0177

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Michael D. Huppert, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Schumacher and Langholz, JJ. Opinion by Schumacher, J.  (9 pages)

            Janet Fielder, formerly known as Janet Merry, appeals the dissolution decree that denied her request for spousal support from Dan Merry.  She also seeks appellate attorney fees.  OPINION HOLDS: Due to the amount of assets awarded to the parties and the fact neither party is employed due to age, the court acted equitably in denying Janet’s request for spousal support.  Additionally, we deny Janet’s request for appellate attorney fees.  We affirm the decision of the district court.

Case No. 23-0327:  State of Iowa v. Dennis James Boone Jr.

Filed Feb 07, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0327

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, David P. Odekirk, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., Schumacher, J., and Gamble, S.J.  Opinion by Bower, C.J. (5 pages)

            Dennis Boone Jr. appeals the sentence imposed by the district court following his guilty plea to possession of a firearm as a felon.  OPINION HOLDS: Finding no abuse of discretion, we affirm.

Case No. 23-0393:  George Tyler v. Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc.

Filed Feb 07, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0393

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Celene Gogerty, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Ahlers and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, J.  (6 pages)

            A workers’ compensation claimant appeals the district court’s ruling on judicial review of the workers’ compensation commissioner’s determination that his claim was barred for untimely notice, arguing the commissioner improperly applied the discovery rule.  OPINION HOLDS: Because claimant did not provide his employer notice of his injury until almost a year after learning of his injury and that the injury was work-related, we affirm.

Case No. 23-0416:  State of Iowa v. Cassi Mae Bird

Filed Feb 07, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0416

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Michael D. Huppert and Lawrence P. McLellan, Judges.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (4 pages)

            Cassi Bird appeals the sentence imposed by the district court following her guilty plea to possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver and tax stamp violation.  OPINION HOLDS: Finding no abuse of discretion, we affirm.

Case No. 23-0478:  State of Iowa v. Tyden Daniel Clark

Filed Feb 07, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0478

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Des Moines County, Michael J. Schilling, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Schumacher and Ahlers, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, J.  (6 pages)

            Tyden Clark challenges his sentence following his guilty plea to robbery in the first degree, arguing the district court abused its discretion when weighing the relevant sentencing factors.  OPINION HOLDS: Because we find the district court did not abuse its discretion, we affirm.

Case No. 23-0551:  State of Iowa v. Brandon Lee Lyman

Filed Feb 07, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0551

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Mark R. Fowler, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J.  (6 pages)

            Brandon Lyman appeals his sentence following his convictions for second-degree burglary, two counts of willful injury causing bodily injury, and second-degree attempted burglary.  OPINION HOLDS: The sentencing court did not err in considering Lyman’s character and propensity, the effect of the crimes on the community, and his chances of reform and treatment in imposing a term of incarceration rather than probation.  Therefore, finding no abuse of the sentencing court’s discretion, we affirm.

Case No. 23-0593:  Austin Patrick Shephard v. Breck Christina Briley

Filed Feb 07, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0593

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

            Breck Briley appeals from an order modifying the placement of the parties’ only child from her physical care to the care of the child’s father, Austin Shepherd.  She also tries to appeal an award of trial attorney fees, and Shepherd requests appellate attorney fees.  OPINION HOLDS: Giving the district court’s factual findings the weight they deserve, we agree that placing the child with Shepherd is in the child’s best interests—particularly his interest in being supported to have a relationship with both parents.  Briley’s attempted challenge to the attorney-fee award is not properly before us because the district court did not make a final attorney-fee award in the only order that Briley appealed.  And we decline Shepherd’s request for appellate attorney fees.

Case No. 23-0660:  Jessie Teah v. State of Iowa

Filed Feb 07, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0660

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Scott D. Rosenberg, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Schumacher, P.J., Ahlers, J., and Doyle, S.J.  Opinion by Schumacher, P.J.  (4 pages)

            Jessie Teah appeals the dismissal of his application for postconviction relief.  He argues equitable tolling should be applied to save his application from the statute of limitations.  OPINION HOLDS: Because we determine the applicant failed to preserve this issue with the district court, we affirm.

Case No. 23-0677:  RCB Porkers 4, LLC v. Seuntjens

Filed Feb 07, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0677

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Plymouth County, Jeffrey A. Neary, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Buller and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Langholz, J.  (9 pages)

            Jerry Seuntjens and Seuntjens Farms appeal from an adverse judgment after a bench trial that Seuntjens breached his contract with RCB Porkers 4, LLC by refusing to pay the contracted price for manure from RCB Porker’s hog facility.  OPINION HOLDS: The parties’ contract is unambiguous that the manure price is based on “the commercial fertilizer rate”—not some private rate available only to Seuntjens.  So the district court correctly found that Seuntjens breached the contract when he refused to pay the price calculated based on the commercial rate obtained by RCB Porkers.

Case No. 23-0809:  State of Iowa v. Arico Jydarius Johnson

Filed Feb 07, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0809

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Tabitha Turner, Judge.  APPEAL DISMISSED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Ahlers and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Buller, J.  (3 pages)

            A criminal defendant attempts to appeal his guilty plea.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the claim pursued is not yet ripe for adjudication, we dismiss his appeal.

Case No. 23-0948:  In re Marriage of Kisting

Filed Feb 07, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0948

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dubuque County, Monica Zrinyi Ackley, Judge.  AFFIRMED IN PART, VACATED IN PART, AND REMANDED.  Heard by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (18 pages)

            Matthew Kisting appeals the modification of the decree dissolving his marriage to Sara Bahl.  He challenges the decision to grant physical care of the parties’ children to Sara and contends the court interfered with his parental rights in violation of both the United States and Iowa Constitutions.  He also challenges the district court award of Sara’s trial attorney fees.  Finally, Sara requests an award of appellate attorney fees.  OPINION HOLDS: Because it is in the best interests of the children, we affirm the modification but vacate the portion designating Sara as the sole decision-maker for religious and educational matters.  We find the district court did not interfere with Matthew’s constitutional or parental rights.  Finally, we decline to consider Matthew’s challenge to Sara’s trial-attorney-fees award as premature, and we award Sara appellate attorney fees.

Case No. 23-1776:  In the Interest of S.C., Minor Child

Filed Feb 07, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1776

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

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights.  OPINION HOLDS: Because we find one of the mother’s claims precluded, the child’s best interests support termination, and no permissive exception applies, we affirm.

Case No. 23-1859:  In the Interest of C.H. and E.H., Minor Children

Filed Feb 07, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1859

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Bremer County, Peter B. Newell, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (8 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her children, claiming termination is not in the children’s best interests and requesting a deferral of permanency or establishment of a guardianship as an alternative to termination.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the termination of the mother’s parental rights.

Case No. 23-1968:  In the Interest of A.B., D.B., and J.B., Minor Children

Filed Feb 07, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1968

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Clinton County, Kimberly K. Shepherd, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J.  (10 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her three children.  OPINION HOLDS: Because after our de novo review of the record we find that the children could not be safely returned to the mother’s custody at the time of the termination hearing and reliance on the permissive exception to order a guardianship is unwarranted, we affirm the termination of the mother’s parental rights.

Case No. 21-1425:  State of Iowa v. Gerry Harland Greenland

Filed Jan 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 21-1425

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Decatur County, John D. Lloyd, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Bower, C.J., and Schumacher and Chiccelly, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (13 pages)

            Gerry Greenland appeals his convictions for assault on a peace officer and attempt to commit murder of a peace officer.  OPINION HOLDS: We find sufficient evidence supports Greenland’s convictions and distinct actions underlie the offenses so the convictions do not merge.  We affirm.

Case No. 22-1099:  Dominick Ronald Marcott v. State of Iowa

Filed Jan 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1099

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Joseph W. Seidlin, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  (7 pages)

            Dominick Marcott appeals the denial of his application for postconviction relief following his guilty plea to operating a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent.  He contends plea counsel provided ineffective assistance.  OPINION HOLDS: Marcott failed to prove counsel breached an essential duty in allowing him to plead guilty, so we affirm the denial of postconviction relief. 

Case No. 22-1284:  Ryder Lee Sisco v. State of Iowa

Filed Jan 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1284

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Jackson County, Stuart P. Werling, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., Chicchelly, J., and Potterfield, S.J.  Opinion by Potterfield, S.J.  (12 pages)

            After a jury convicted Ryder Sisco of first-degree kidnapping and domestic abuse assault by impeding airflow or blood circulation in 2016, Sisco applied for postconviction relief (PCR), which the district court denied.  On appeal, Sisco re-raises some of his claims of ineffective assistance of trial counsel, asserting he was prejudiced by trial counsel’s failure to (1) object to testimony from the expert criminalist regarding DNA evidence, (2) challenge the State’s proof Sisco removed or confined the complaining witness, and (3) explain the plea offer in a way he could understand.  OPINION HOLDS: Sisco failed to establish any of his claims of ineffective assistance of trial counsel.  We affirm the district court’s denial of his application for PCR. 

Case No. 22-1285:  Kenneth Curtis Shaw Jr. v. State of Iowa

Filed Jan 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1285

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Joseph Seidlin, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Greer and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Buller, J.  (4 pages)

            An applicant appeals the denial of postconviction relief claiming his trial counsel was ineffective in three respects.  OPINION HOLDS: Because we find the applicant did not preserve error on one of his claims and that counsel was not ineffective on the other two, we affirm.

Case No. 22-1422:  State of Iowa v. Dylan Anthony McCombs

Filed Jan 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1422

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Robert B. Hanson (sentencing) and Scott D. Rosenberg (jury trials and guilty plea), Judges.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Ahlers and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, P.J.  (12 pages)

            Dylan McCombs appeals his conviction and sentence for first-degree theft, first-degree criminal mischief, willful injury causing bodily injury, assault while displaying a dangerous weapon, extortion, and first-degree harassment.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the convictions and sentences, concluding that McCombs failed to preserve error on his challenge to wearing leg shackles at trial, substantial evidence supports that McCombs acted with specific intent and without justification, and the district court did not err or abuse its discretion in imposing consecutive sentences.

Case No. 22-1459:  Double K Tiling, LLC v. Billy Reilly Veach

Filed Jan 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1459

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Jackson County, John Telleen (summary judgment) and Stuart P. Werling (trial), Judges.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Schumacher, P.J., and Chicchelly and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Buller, J.  (6 pages)

            A civil defendant appeals from adverse summary-judgment and breach-of-contract rulings.  OPINION HOLDS:  We affirm, finding the summary-judgment argument waived through failure to order a necessary transcript and substantial evidence and credibility findings support the breach-of-contract ruling.

Case No. 22-1468:  State of Iowa v. Chad Michael Vice

Filed Jan 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1468

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Lee (North) County, Michael J. Schilling, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  (8 pages)

            Chad Vice appeals his conviction for delivery of five grams or less of methamphetamine.  He argues (1) the “State failed to disprove entrapment beyond a reasonable doubt” because the “confidential informant was a close personal friend of” his and (2) the district court “abused its discretion and violated [his] due process rights when finding good cause to extend the proceedings under COVID-19 Iowa Supreme Court orders.”  OPINION HOLDS: We conclude the State disproved entrapment beyond a reasonable doubt, the court did not abuse its discretion in denying Vice’s motion to dismiss, and Vice did not preserve error on his due process claim.

Case No. 22-1525:  State of Iowa v. Creon Duwayne Rashard Davis

Filed Jan 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1525

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Johnson County, Paul D. Miller, Judge.  SENTENCE VACATED AND REMANDED FOR RESENTENCING.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Schumacher and Ahlers, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, J. (3 pages)

            Creon Davis appeals the sentence imposed following his guilty plea to second-degree sexual abuse.  OPINION HOLDS: The district court was not aware Iowa Code section 901.5(13) (2022) gave it discretion to suspend the special sentence imposed because Davis was a minor at the time he committed the offense.  Because the court was unaware of its discretion, we remand for resentencing.

Case No. 22-1601:  Hunter Three Farms, LLC v. Richard Hunter, individually and as member of Hunter Three Farms, LLC

Filed Jan 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1601

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Greene County, Derek Johnson, Judge.  REVERSED AND REMANDED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Buller and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Buller, J.  Dissent by Langholz, J.  (29 pages)

            Hunter Three Farms, an Iowa limited liability company (LLC), appeals from a district court ruling that granted summary judgment in favor of one of the company’s three member-managers.  The district court concluded the LLC lacked standing to sue the member because bringing the claim required unanimous consent of all members and he did not consent to being sued.  OPINION HOLDS: On appeal, we hold that an LLC may sue one of its members under exceptional circumstances if all disinterested members unanimously consent to litigation.  We reverse and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. DISSENT ASSERTS: By default under Iowa’s statute governing LLCs, an LLC must have “the consent of all members” to take the extraordinary action of filing suit against one of its members. Iowa Code § 489.407(2)(d).  Because I would stick with the text of the statute rather than marking it up with an exception of our own creation, I respectfully dissent.

Case No. 22-1780:  David A. Muhr and Christine L. Mickel v. Rachelle E. Willenborg

Filed Jan 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1780

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Carroll County, Christopher C. Polking, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Schumacher, P.J., and Chicchelly and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Buller, J.  (20 pages)

            Two cotenants challenge the district court’s hybrid partition of a family farm.  They also request attorney fees.  OPINION HOLDS: Because we find the district court’s order to be statutorily sound, equitable, and practicable, we affirm and do not award fees.

Case No. 22-1807:  Annie Lukes v. The Blue Iris, LLC., and Julie Winter-Havel

Filed Jan 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1807

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Chickasaw County, John J. Sullivan, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., Buller, J., and Gamble, S.J.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  (10 pages)

            A retailer appeals the district court’s decision finding she breached a noncompete agreement and awarding damages.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the district court properly found a breach of the noncompete clause and its damage assessment was sound, we affirm.  We also award the appellee reasonable appellate attorney fees.

Case No. 22-1822:  Burkle Co. LLC v. Copper Kitchen, LLC

Filed Jan 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1822

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Joseph W. Seidlin, Judge.  AFFIRMED ON APPEAL AND CROSS-APPEAL.  Heard by Greer, P.J., and Ahlers and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Buller, J.  (9 pages)

            Copper Kitchen, LLC and its guarantors Besim Maksutoski and Angela Maksutoski appeal the judgment entered in favor of Burkle Co. LLC in Burkle’s breach-of-contract claim and the dismissal of their counterclaims for conversion and trespass to chattel.  Burkle cross-appeals, claiming the district court erred in limiting its damages.  OPINION HOLDS: Finding substantial evidence supports the district court’s ruling, and discerning no legal error on which reversal is warranted, we affirm both the appeal and cross-appeal.

Case No. 22-1861:  Richard Gerdts v. Donan Engineering Co., Inc., and Lance L. Telellier, P.E.

Filed Jan 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1861

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, John Telleen and Stuart P. Werling, Judges.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Tabor, P.J., Badding, J., and Blane, S.J.  Opinion by Blane, S.J.  Partial Dissent by Tabor, P.J.  (28 pages)

            Homeowner Richard Gerdts appeals the grant of Donan Engineering Co., Inc. and Lance LeTellier’s motions to dismiss and for summary judgment related to denial by his insurance company regarding hail damage to the roof of his duplex.  Gerdts appeals three of those rulings.  OPINION HOLDS:  We affirm the dismissal of the negligence claim on the economic loss rule, and the grant of summary judgment on the third-party-beneficiary claim as Gerdts was not an intended beneficiary.  But we find the district court applied an incorrect legal standard on the tortious-interference-with-contract claim.  Still, we affirm on an alternative theory raised below.  Donan is entitled to summary judgment on the tortious-interference claim as well, and we affirm dismissal.  PARTIAL DISSENT ASSERTS:  I would find Gerdts generated a question of material fact whether Donan wrongfully interfered with the insurance contract, so I would reverse and remand for a trial on the tortious-interference claim.  I concur with the majority on the remaining issues. 

Case No. 22-1874:  Gray's Lake Activities Center LLC v. Sani Enterprise LLC

Filed Jan 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1874

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, David Nelmark, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Buller and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  (7 pages)

            An activities center appeals the amount awarded for damage to its parking lot caused by a painting contractor’s boom truck.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the district court properly approximated the area of damage from photographs and testimony offered into record, we affirm.

Case No. 22-1878:  State of Iowa v. Lovell Jonathan Flowers

Filed Jan 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1878

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Stuart P. Werling, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J. (5 pages)

            Lovell Jonathan Flowers appeals from his conviction of domestic abuse assault, contending the district court’s finding of forfeiture-by-wrongdoing violated his constitutional rights.  OPINION HOLDS: Because we find Flowers forfeited his right to confront the witness and the court did not violate his constitutional rights, we affirm his conviction.

Case No. 22-1940:  Malin v. Lee Enterprises, Inc.

Filed Jan 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1940

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Stuart P. Werling, Judge.  AFFIRMED ON APPEAL AND CROSS-APPEAL.  Heard by Tabor, P.J., and Ahlers and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, J.  (8 pages)

            A plaintiff appeals from the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendants in this defamation case.  The defendants cross-appeal asserting the district court should have granted summary judgment on an additional basis.  OPINION HOLDS: The district court correctly granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants because the publications alleged to be defamatory contained factual and opinion statements protected by the First Amendment.  Because we affirm the grant of summary judgment in favor the defendants we need not address their cross-appeal advocating an alternative basis to affirm.

Case No. 23-0017:  PennyMac Loan Services, LLC v. Pheasant Trail Seventh Owners Association, Inc.

Filed Jan 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0017

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Kevin McKeever, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Schumacher and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (10 pages)

            Pheasant Trail Seventh Owners Association, Inc. appeals a ruling denying its motion for summary judgment and granting PennyMac Loan Services, LLC’s motion for summary judgment.  The district court determined the Association was not able to assess foreclosure fees or attorney fees incident to third-party foreclosure.  OPINION HOLDS: The Association’s assessed “foreclosure fee” was not an “admission” or “transfer fee” as used in Iowa Code section 504.302(14) (2021), and the Association did not establish a contractual basis for an award of attorney fees.

Case No. 23-0038:  In the Matter of the Max and Nelda Lauser Trust Created Under the Will of Max L. Lauser, Deceased.

Filed Jan 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0038

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Muscatine County, Jeffrey D. Bert, Judge.  REVERSED.  Heard by Schumacher, P.J., and Ahlers and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Langholz, J.  (20 pages)

            Barbara Zellmer appeals from the district court’s declaratory ruling interpreting the terms of Max Lauser’s will to hold that the remaining assets of the Max and Nelda Lauser Trust created under that will should be distributed in nine equal shares to any surviving issue of the beneficiaries named in the will as well as the named beneficiaries who are still living or in existence after the death of Lauser’s wife.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the will includes a provision expressing an intent to limit the distribution of the trust estate to the named beneficiaries and not their issue, the assets remaining in the trust must be distributed in three equal shares to only the named beneficiaries still living or in existence after the death of Lauser’s wife.  We thus reverse the district court.

Case No. 23-0109:  In re the Marriage of Gast and Sullivan

Filed Jan 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0109

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dubuque County, Monica Zrinyi Ackley, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Buller and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Langholz, J.  (11 pages)

            Joseph Gast appeals from the decree dissolving his marriage with Shannon Sullivan, granting physical care of their daughter to Sullivan, and ordering him to pay Sullivan rehabilitative spousal support and attorney fees. OPINION HOLDS: On our de novo review, giving the district court’s decisions the deference we must, we cannot say the physical care or spousal support awards fail to do equity.  The court’s award of attorney fees was not an abuse of discretion.  We also decline to award appellate attorney fees and costs.  And Gast failed to preserve error on his due-process or recusal issues by raising them first before the district court.

Case No. 23-0186:  Estate of Sena J. Wiebke, by Monte Keller, Special Executor v. Keith Wiebke

Filed Jan 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0186

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Butler County, James M. Drew, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Buller and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (6 pages)

            The Estate of Sena Wiebke, by and through special executor Monte Keller, appeals the district court’s determination quitclaim transfers made by Wiebke before her death were valid and not subject to undue influence.  OPINION HOLDS: Upon our review, we conclude Keith Wiebke has established by clear and convincing evidence the transfer of properties was not the result of undue influence.  Accordingly, we affirm.

Case No. 23-0231:  Burkle Co. LLC v. Copper Kitchen, LLC

Filed Jan 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0231

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Joseph W. Seidlin, Judge.  AFFIRMED IN PART AND REVERSED IN PART.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Ahlers and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Buller, J.  (7 pages)

            A limited liability company (LLC) and its guarantors dispute whether attorney fees were properly awarded and request we review the award itself for reasonableness.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the district court as to the personal guarantors’ liability for attorney fees and reverse as to the LLC.  We affirm the amount of the award finding no abuse of discretion.

Case No. 23-0278:  Eric Michael LeConte v. John Deere Dubuque Works of John Deere & Company and Duane Enos, Individually and in his official capacity

Filed Jan 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0278

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dubuque County, Thomas A. Bitter, Judge.  APPEAL DISMISSED. Considered by Bower, C.J., and Schumacher and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (3 pages)

            Eric LeConte appeals the summary judgment dismissal of his defamation claims.  OPINION HOLDS: LeConte’s appellate brief does not comply with our rules of appellate procedure, and we dismiss the appeal. 

Case No. 23-0331:  State of Iowa v. Nicholas Alexander Sinclair

Filed Jan 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0331

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Gregory D. Brandt, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J.  (9 pages)

            Nicholas Sinclair challenges the denial of his motion to suppress following his conviction for operating while intoxicated.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the stopping officer had specific and articulable facts to support a reasonable belief that Sinclair was involved in criminal activity based on the location of his vehicle in a gated community around the time of two 911 calls reporting a woman “freaking out” and there were no other vehicles in the area that matched the description, we affirm.

Case No. 23-0414:  In re Guardianship of R.T.

Filed Jan 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0414

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Pottawattamie County, Scott Strait, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Schumacher and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Schumacher, J.  (5 pages)

            A grandfather appeals the district court’s termination of his visitation rights as to his granddaughter.  OPINION HOLDS: Finding the court’s authority to order visitation does not survive the end of the guardianship, we affirm.

Case No. 23-0587:  State of Iowa v. Bobby Tremont Hester, Jr.

Filed Jan 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0587

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Linda M. Fangman, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (5 pages)

            Bobby Tremont Hester Jr. appeals the sentences imposed by the district court, contending the court abused its discretion when sentencing him because it failed to consider certain mitigating factors.  OPINION HOLDS: Because we find no abuse of discretion by the district court, we affirm the sentences.

Case No. 23-0633:  State of Iowa v. Donell Edwin Smith Jr.

Filed Jan 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0633

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dubuque County, Michael J. Shubatt, Judge. AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., Tabor, J., and Danilson, S.J.  Opinion by Danilson, S.J. (5 pages)

            Donell Smith Jr. appeals his conviction for second-degree theft, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence.  OPINION HOLDS: The State established Smith intentionally misappropriated cash belonging to his employer.  His conviction is supported by sufficient evidence.

Case No. 23-0785:  State of Iowa v. Edwin Allen III

Filed Jan 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0785

            Discretionary review from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Brendan Greiner, District Associate Judge.  REVERSED AND REMANDED WITH DIRECTIONS.  Considered by Bower, C.J., Schumacher, J., and Gamble, S.J.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (7 pages)

            Edwin Allen III appeals the sentence imposed following his plea of guilty, challenging the use of information by the district court without providing him notice.  OPINION HOLDS: On discretionary review, because the court considered matters outside the record without notice to Allen prior to sentencing, we reverse and remand for resentencing.

Case No. 23-0819:  State of Iowa v. Sarah Rae Berg

Filed Jan 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0819

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, William Patrick Wegman, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (6 pages)

            Sarah Rae Berg appeals her conviction for unauthorized use of a credit card, challenging the denial of her motion to dismiss and the sufficiency of the evidence.  OPINION HOLDS: Upon our review, we affirm Berg’s conviction because there was no violation of the speedy-indictment right and there is sufficient supporting evidence.

Case No. 23-1102:  In the Matter of the Guardianship of A.K. and J.K.

Filed Jan 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1102

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Benton County, Cynthia Finley, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Buller and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Langholz, J.  (12 pages)

            An aunt and uncle who were appointed guardians of two nieces with the consent of the parents under Iowa Code section 232D.203 (2020) appeal the termination of the guardianships after the mother withdrew her consent.  OPINION HOLDS: The district court applied the correct legal standard under the statute and precedent governing termination of voluntary guardianships.  And on our de novo review, giving the court’s thoughtful factual findings the weight they deserve, we agree that the guardians have not shown by clear and convincing evidence that terminating the guardianships would cause the girls physical harm or significant, long-term emotional harm sufficient to carry their burden under the rigorous harm standard. 

Case No. 23-1234:  In the Interest of C.G. and W.G., Minor Children

Filed Jan 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1234

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dickinson County, David C. Larson, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Ahlers and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, J.  (5 pages)

            A father appeals the termination of his parental rights.  He claims the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services failed to make reasonable efforts toward reunification by not securing the dismissal of a criminal no-contact order that prevented contact between the father and children after the father murdered the children’s mother.  He also argues the juvenile court should have established a guardianship with the children’s stepmother rather than terminating his parental rights.  OPINION HOLDS: The father’s reasonable-efforts challenge fails, and he failed to preserve his guardianship claim.  We affirm.

Case No. 23-1590:  In the Interest of A.W., A.W., and A.W., Minor Children

Filed Jan 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1590

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Lynn Poschner, District Associate Judge. AFFIRMED. Considered by Bower, C.J., and Schumacher and Badding, JJ. Opinion by Schumacher, J. (8 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights. OPINION HOLDS: Grounds for termination exist under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(f) (2023), termination is in the best interest of the children, and the application of a permissive exception to preclude termination is unwarranted.  We affirm.

Case No. 23-1631:  In the Interest of A.M., Minor Child

Filed Jan 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1631

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Mills County, Scott Strait, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Schumacher, P.J., Badding, J., and Blane, S.J.  Opinion by Blane, S.J.  (6 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her infant daughter.  OPINION HOLDS: The mother waived most of the issues she raises on appeal.  Termination is supported under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(h) (2023).  So we affirm. 

Case No. 23-1661:  In the Interest of K.P., Minor Child

Filed Jan 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1661

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Brent Pattison, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Ahlers and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Buller, J.  (7 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm, rejecting the mother’s challenge to the juvenile court’s fact-finding and concluding termination is supported by the record.

Case No. 23-1686:  In the Interest of F.H., W.H., and B.H., Minor Children

Filed Jan 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1686

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, David F. Staudt, Judge.  AFFIRMED IN PART AND VACATED IN PART.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  (11 pages)

            A mother appeals the order terminating her parental rights to three children.  OPINION HOLDS: Finding in our de novo review that the State proved grounds for termination, termination was in the children’s best interests, the mother could not prove that her bond with the children outweighed the need for termination, and more time for reunification would not be beneficial, we affirm on these issues.  But because the juvenile court did not comply with Iowa Code section 815.9(6) (2023), we vacate its part of the order assessing attorney fees.

Case No. 23-1730:  In the Interest of K.C.-P., Minor Child

Filed Jan 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1730

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Cynthia S. Finley, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., Schumacher and Badding, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  (4 pages)

            A father appeals the termination of his parental rights.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the termination of the father’s parental rights. 

Case No. 23-1735:  In the Interest of R.P., Minor Child

Filed Jan 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1735

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Pottawattamie County, Scott Strait, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Schumacher and Badding, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (7 pages)

            A father appeals the termination of his parental rights to his child.  OPINION HOLDS: Because clear and convincing evidence supports a statutory ground for termination, termination is in the best interests of the child, an application of a permissive exception is not warranted, and the department of health and human services made reasonable efforts toward reunification, we affirm.

Case No. 23-1795:  In the Interest of L.P., Minor Child

Filed Jan 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1795

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Crawford County, Kristal L. Phillips, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Chicchelly, P.J., Buller, J., and Danilson, S.J.  Opinion by Chicchelly, P.J.  (3 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to a child.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the State proved the grounds for termination under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(h) (2023), we affirm. 

Case No. 23-1797:  In the Interest of W.E. and N.H., Minor Children

Filed Jan 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1797

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Cynthia S. Finley, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Schumacher and Badding, JJ.  Opinion by Schumacher, J.  (7 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights.  OPINION HOLDS: We find termination of the mother’s parental rights is in the children’s best interests and an extension of time to work on reunification is unwarranted.  We affirm the termination of the mother’s parental rights.

Case No. 23-1806:  In the Interest of N.C. and E.C., Minor Children

Filed Jan 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1806

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Cheryl Traum, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Schumacher and Badding, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (8 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights, claiming termination is not in the best interests of the children and the juvenile court should have established a guardianship in lieu of termination.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the termination of the mother’s parental rights.

Case No. 23-1827:  In the Interest of J.G., Minor Child

Filed Jan 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1827

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Marshall County, Paul G. Crawford, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Schumacher and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  (7 pages)

            A father appeals the termination of his parental rights to his toddler daughter.  He contends the State did not prove the statutory grounds for termination.  OPINION HOLDS: Because we agree with the juvenile court that the child cannot be safely placed in the father’s custody at the present time, we affirm the termination order.

Case No. 23-1838:  In the Interest of J.R., Minor Child

Filed Jan 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1838

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Floyd County, Karen Kaufman-Salic, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Ahlers and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, J.  (6 pages)

            A father challenges the termination of his parental rights, arguing the State failed to establish statutory grounds for termination, including claiming the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services failed to make reasonable efforts, and contends that termination is not in the child’s best interests.  OPINION HOLDS: The father failed to adequately challenge one of the two statutory grounds authorizing termination and failed to make a timely reasonable-efforts challenge.  Termination is in the child’s best interests.

Case No. 23-1881:  In the Interest of X.O., G.O., and G.A., Minor Children

Filed Jan 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1881

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Cerro Gordo County, Adam Sauer, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Schumacher and Badding, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (9 pages)

            A mother and father separately appeal from the termination of their parental rights to their children.  Both contend the State failed to prove the grounds for termination cited by the juvenile court, termination was not in the children’s best interests, the court should apply a permissive exception to preclude termination, and a six-month extension would eliminate the grounds for termination.  OPINION HOLDS: Upon our review, we affirm both appeals.   

Case No. 23-1882:  In the Interest of I.C., Minor Child

Filed Jan 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1882

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for O’Brien County, Jessica Noll, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  (10 pages)

            Parents separately appeal the termination of their parental rights to their child under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(f) (2023).  Both challenge the sufficiency of evidence supporting that ground, argue termination is contrary to the child’s best interests, and ask for application of the permissive exception to termination in section 232.116(3)(c).  OPINION HOLDS:  We affirm, finding the State met its burden for termination under section 232.116(1)(f), termination is in the child’s best interests, and the bond exception should not be applied to preclude termination.

Case No. 23-1892:  In the Interest of L.B., Minor Child

Filed Jan 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1892

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Cynthia S. Finley, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.  Considered by Ahlers, P.J., and Badding and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Buller, J.  (13 pages)

            Two parents separately appeal termination of their parental rights.  The mother challenges the statutory ground for termination and asserts her bond with the child should preclude termination of her rights, while the father argues multiple permissive exceptions should preclude termination of his rights.  OPINION HOLDS: Because we find the State met the ground for termination and no permissive exceptions apply, we affirm on both appeals.

Case No. 23-1940:  In the Interest of C.A., Minor Child

Filed Jan 24, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1940

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Carrie K. Bryner, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  (7 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her third daughter.  OPINION HOLDS: After our independent evaluation of the facts, we find the State offered clear and convincing evidence to satisfy a ground for termination.  And because the mother’s struggles with substance use, mental health, and instability prevent reunification with C.A., we affirm.

Case No. 21-1185:  State of Iowa v. Reath Stephen Yak

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 21-1185

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Scott J. Beattie, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Tabor and Greer, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J.  Dissent by Tabor, J.  (43 pages)

            The State charged five defendants in connection with a drive-by shooting at a Des Moines residence.  A jury found Reath Yak guilty of intimidation with a dangerous weapon, willful injury causing serious injury, and two counts of attempted murder.  On appeal, Yak argues the State presented insufficient evidence to support his convictions.  He also contends the district court erred in denying his challenge to the prosecutor’s peremptory strike of a Black woman from the jury under Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986).  OPINION HOLDS: Because substantial evidence supports each of Yak’s convictions, and because our de novo review does not lead us to a different result on the Batson issue, we affirm.  PARTIAL DISSENT ASSERTS: I concur in the majority’s substantial-evidence analysis.  But I respectfully dissent on the Batson issue.  “Equal justice under law requires a criminal trial free of racial discrimination in the jury selection process.”  Flowers v. Mississippi, 139 S. Ct. 2228, 2242 (2019).  Yak’s trial did not meet that test.  I would find that Yak proved his Batson claim and would reverse and remand for a new trial. 

Case No. 22-0472:  State of Iowa v. William Russell Griffin

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-0472

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Greene County, Thomas J. Bice (trial) and Christopher C. Polking (posttrial motions), Judges.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., Chicchelly, J., and Gamble, S.J.  Opinion by Gamble, S.J.  (16 pages)

            On appeal, William Griffin challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to support his convictions, contends the court erred in failing to make the proper inquiry of defense counsel and himself when defense counsel moved to withdraw and declare a mistrial, maintains the court erred in denying his motion for new trial based on him not being present at a deposition and in admitting hearsay statements in a police report.  OPINION HOLDS: There is substantial evidence supporting the convictions.  The court did not abuse its discretion in denying trial counsel’s motion to withdraw under the circumstances.  Griffin entered a written waiver of his appearance at depositions.  And the admission of hearsay was non-prejudicial.  We affirm.

Case No. 22-1073:  State of Iowa v. Dayton Earl Michael Elliott

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1073

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Muscatine County, Tom Reidel, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  (7 pages)

            Dayton Elliott appeals his criminal convictions, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm, concluding there was substantial evidence to support the State’s aiding-and-abetting theory of criminal liability and the marshalling instruction for assault causing serious injury authorized the jury to reach a guilty verdict with aiding and abetting serving as the act causing serious injury. 

Case No. 22-1103:  State of Iowa v. Michael Lang

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1103

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Grundy County, Joel Dalrymple, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Tabor, P.J., and Ahlers and Chicchelly, JJ.  Buller, J., takes no part.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  (12 pages)

            Michael Lang appeals his convictions for first-degree murder, attempted murder, and assault on a peace officer with intent to inflict serious injury.  He contends the trial court erred and violated his constitutional right to raise a defense when it refused to give a jury instruction on justification.  OPINION HOLDS: We find Lang’s argument, as raised on appeal, was not preserved in the district court.  So we affirm.  

Case No. 22-1157:  State of Iowa v. Robert Leroy Peterson Jr.

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1157

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Justin Lightfoot, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., Badding, J., and Vogel, S.J.  Opinion by Vogel, S.J.  (13 pages)

            Robert Peterson appeals from his conviction and sentence for arson in the second degree.  He argues the district court improperly admitted opinion testimony and bad-acts evidence and the court abused its discretion in sentencing him to a ten-year term of incarceration.  OPINION HOLDS: The court acted within its discretion in admitting all challenged evidence and imposing the sentence.

Case No. 22-1258:  Chanjuok Obuing Odhung v. State of Iowa

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1258

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Joseph W. Seidlin, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Tabor and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, J.  (13 pages)

            Chanjuok Odhung appeals the denial of his application for postconviction relief (PCR), asserting two claims of ineffective assistance: (1) failure to protect his right to an impartial jury by raising a fair-cross-section challenge and (2) failure to be more specific in moving for judgment of acquittal.  In a third claim, Odhung seeks retrial based on newly discovered evidence—an affidavit provided by his alleged accomplice stating Odhung was not involved in the planning and execution of the bank robbery.  OPINION HOLDS: On the ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims, Odhung failed to prove prejudice stemming from the performance of his trial or PCR attorneys.  As for the newly discovered evidence, we share the PCR court’s view that it did not warrant a new trial.  We thus affirm the denial of relief.

Case No. 22-1293:  State of Iowa v. James William Thiel Sr.

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1293

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Patrick A. McElyea, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Tabor, P.J., Buller, J., and Doyle, S.J.* Opinion by Buller, J.  (23 pages)

A defendant appeals his two convictions for involuntary manslaughter.  He claims the State committed a Brady violation and failed to provide sufficient evidence to support his convictions.  He also asserts those convictions went against the weight of the evidence and the jury’s verdicts were inconsistent.  OPINION HOLDS: Because we find no Brady violation, substantial evidence supported the convictions, the verdicts were not inconsistent, and the convictions were not against the weight of the evidence, we affirm.

Case No. 22-1389:  State of Iowa v. Rayshawn Demetrius Cribbs

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1389

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Angie Johnston, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Ahlers, P.J., Badding, J., and Gamble, S.J.  Opinion by Gamble, S.J.  (10 pages)

            Rayshawn Cribbs appeals his conviction for operating while intoxicated, asserting the court erred in denying his motion in limine and contending there is insufficient evidence to sustain the conviction.  OPINION HOLDS: Finding no abuse of discretion in the court’s evidentiary ruling and substantial evidence supports the jury’s verdict, we affirm.

Case No. 22-1501:  Frederick Lamont Babino v. State of Iowa

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1501

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Sarah Crane, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., Ahlers, J., and Potterfield, S.J.  Opinion by Potterfield, S.J.  (10 pages)

            Frederick Babino appeals the denial of his third application for postconviction relief (PCR) following his convictions for first-degree murder and first-degree robbery in 2000.  Babino argues the district court should have granted his application because of newly discovered evidence that one of the jurors in his underlying criminal trial failed to admit knowing Babino’s co-defendants, suggesting implicit bias on the part of that juror.  The State responds that Babino’s application is time-barred because he failed to assert a new ground of fact that could not have been raised within the statute of limitations so we need not reach the merits of his substantive claim.  OPINION HOLDS: While Babino’s third PCR application was not time-barred, he failed to establish the underlying facts necessary to suggest implicit bias on the part of Juror 2.  Like the district court, we cannot say Babino has shown that a new trial is warranted. 

Case No. 22-1599:  Scott Hampe v. Charles Gabus Motors, Inc., d/b/a Toyota of Des Moines, and Gadimina Enterprises, Inc. d/b/a Mid-Iowa Occupational Testing

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1599

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Joseph Seidlin, Judge.  AFFIRMED IN PART, REVERSED IN PART, AND REMANDED.  Heard by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  (24 pages)

            Scott Hampe appeals the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of his employer and its occupational testing service on his statutory claims under Iowa Code section 730.5 (2019) and common- law claims of fraud, invasion of privacy, conspiracy, and reckless disregard, all arising out of a private employer drug test.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the entry of summary judgment for the testing service on all claims raised by Hampe.  As to the employer, we affirm summary judgment on all claims except the claims that it violated the testing pool requirements of section 730.5(8)(a), the supervisor training requirements in section 730.5(9)(h), and the uniform disciplinary policy required by section 730.5(9)(b).  We find that genuine issues of material fact remain on those claims, which we remand to the district court for further proceedings.

Case No. 22-1602:  State of Iowa v. Jacob Lee Anthony Denniston

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1602

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, James D. Coil, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Schumacher, P.J., Chicchelly, J., and Doyle, S.J.  Opinion by Doyle, S.J.  (7 pages)

            Jacob Denniston appeals after a jury found him guilty of indecent exposure for masturbating in a public place.  OPINION HOLDS: Because substantial evidence supports the jury’s finding that Denniston was masturbating in a public place and Denniston failed to preserve error on his challenge to the weight of the evidence, we affirm.

Case No. 22-1681:  State of Iowa v. Corey Robert Fenton

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1681

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Samantha Gronewald, Judge.  CONVICTION CONDITIONALLY AFFIRMED, SENTENCE VACATED IN PART, AND REMANDED FOR FURTHER PROCEEDINGS.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J. (9 pages)

            Corey Fenton appeals his conviction and sentence for solicitation of commercial sexual activity.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the district court did not abuse its discretion by admitting a photo into evidence and substantial evidence supports the jury’s verdict, we conditionally affirm Fenton’s conviction.  But the district court applied the incorrect standard in ruling on Fenton’s motion for new trial and imposed an illegal sentence by requiring Fenton to complete the sex offender treatment program as a term of his sentence.  We therefore remand to the district court for further proceedings. 

Case No. 22-1743:  State of Iowa v. Tony Cecil Orr Jr.

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1743

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, David F. Staudt, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., Chicchelly, J., and Blane, S.J.  Opinion by Blane, S.J.  (11 pages)

            Tony Orr Jr. appeals his convictions and sentences for intimidation with a dangerous weapon, going armed with intent, and person ineligible carrying a dangerous weapon.  He argues (1) there was insufficient evidence to support his identification as the shooter, (2) the jury instruction regarding going armed with intent was a misstatement of the law, and (3) based upon the erroneous jury instruction the sentences for going armed with intent and intimidation with a dangerous weapon should have merged at sentencing.  OPINION HOLDS: (1) sufficient evidence supports the jury verdicts; (2) error was not preserved as to the jury instruction and cannot be considered; and (3) going armed with intent is not a lesser included offense of intimidation with a dangerous weapon and need not be merged.  We affirm the convictions and sentences.

Case No. 22-1859:  In re Guardianship and Conservatorship of Kruse

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1859

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Craig E. Block, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., Buller, J., and Danilson, S.J. Opinion by Buller, J.  (8 pages)

            An adult appeals the appointment of a guardian and conservator.  OPINION HOLDS: Because substantial evidence supports the district court’s findings as to the adult’s incapacity and a limited guardianship or conservatorship would be inadequate, we affirm.

Case No. 22-1955:  Matthew R. Dickey v. Iowa Department of Human Services

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1955

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Sarah Crane, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Ahlers and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, J.  (7 pages)

            Matthew Dickey appeals the district court’s dismissal of his petition for judicial review for lack of jurisdiction.  OPINION HOLDS: Because Dickey did not substantially comply with Iowa Code section 17A.19(2) (2022), we affirm the district court’s determination that it lacked jurisdiction over the case.

Case No. 22-1971:  Dean Christiansen v. Christopher Eral, Rex Mueller, and City of Sioux City

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1971

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, Roger L. Sailer, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Greer, P.J., and Ahlers and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, P.J.  (16 pages)

            Dean Christiansen appeals the district court’s dismissal of his state constitutional and common law tort claims against municipal employees and a municipality.  OPINION HOLDS: Christiansen’s state constitutional tort claims no longer provide for recovery after Burnett v. Smith, 990 N.W.2d 289 (Iowa 2023).  The district court correctly concluded that his negligence claim is exempted from liability under the emergency response exemption and, as those claims fail, his remaining common law tort claims also do not provide for recovery.  We affirm.

Case No. 22-2045:  In re Estate of Roethler

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-2045

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Chickasaw County, Richard D. Stochl, Judge.  REVERSED AND REMANDED.  Heard by Bower, C.J., and Schumacher and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Schumacher, J.  (12 pages)

            David Roethler and Dale Roethler appeal the district court’s decision considering extrinsic evidence in interpreting the will of their late mother, Veronica Roethler.  OPINION HOLDS: The will as written was not ambiguous.  The district court improperly considered the testimony of the scrivener of the will to find Veronica’s intent was different from the language of the will.  The court rewrote the will to include property in a trust that was not specified by the will to be included in the trust.  We reverse the decision of the district court and remand for further proceedings.

Case No. 22-2067:  Shirley Mae McGuire v. George Thomas McGuire

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-2067

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Story County, John R. Flynn, Judge.  APPEAL DISMISSED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., Buller, J., and Gamble, S.J.  Opinion by Gamble, S.J.  (3 pages)

            George McGuire appeals the extension of a protective order.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the protective order has expired, this appeal is dismissed as moot.

Case No. 23-0049:  In re Marriage of Asche

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0049

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Hancock County, Rustin Davenport, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Buller and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Buller, J.  (9 pages)

            A father appeals a custody-modification order.  He contests the district court finding a substantial change in circumstances and its decision to place physical care with the mother.  OPINION HOLDS: We find the father waived his substantial-change argument and affirm the district court’s modification placing the children in the mother’s physical care.

Case No. 23-0064:  Weber v. Jordahl

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0064

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Winneshiek County, Alan T. Heavens, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Tabor, P.J., and Ahlers and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (9 pages)

            Granddaughters Melissa Weber and Shelly Donlon appeal the order dismissing their petition that contests the will and trust of their grandmother, claiming that Nancy and Wayne Jordahl exercised undue influence over her and tortiously interfered with their inheritance.  They further challenge the exclusion of their rebuttal witness.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the district court did not abuse its discretion in its evidentiary ruling, we affirm the exclusion of the granddaughters’ rebuttal witness.  Because substantial evidence supports the district court’s findings, we affirm the denial of the undue-influence and tortious-interference-with-a-bequest claims.

Case No. 23-0167:  In the Matter of the Estate of Ross C. River, Deceased.

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0167

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Jackson County, Mark R. Lawson, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Buller and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Langholz, J.  (12 pages)

            Jay Claeys appeals from the district court’s grant of summary judgment on his challenge to the will of Ross River.  OPINION HOLDS: Because Claeys failed to present sufficient evidence to create a fact dispute that River generally and notoriously recognized Claeys as his son, the district court properly concluded as a matter of law that Claeys is not an heir to River under Iowa Code section 633.222 (2021).  And so Claeys lacks standing to challenge the will.

Case No. 23-0260:  Binneboese v. Binneboese

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0260

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Plymouth County, Patrick H. Tott, Judge.  AFFIRMED AND REMANDED WITH DIRECTIONS.  Heard by Bower, C.J., and Tabor and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, J.  (14 pages)

            Siblings appeal rulings in litigation over their brother’s exercise of an option to purchase farmland in their mother’s will.  OPINION HOLDS: Because we find no abuse of discretion, we affirm the orders denying the motions to amend.  Finding the court properly relied on equitable conversion, we affirm the partial summary judgment for the brother.  And because the court’s treatment of the rent and interest was proper, we affirm those rulings.  But because the district court ordered the siblings and their spouses—who were not joined as parties to the action—to convey marketable title, we remand with instructions for the district court to address that issue.

Case No. 23-0284:  Denico Lydell Johnson v. State of Iowa

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0284

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Webster County, Rustin T. Davenport, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., Buller, J., and Mullins, S.J.  Opinion by Greer, P.J.  (8 pages)

            DeNico Johnson appeals from the district court’s denial of his application for postconviction relief.  Johnson reiterates his claim, asserting trial counsel failed to inform him that if he engaged in sexual exploitation of a student without using a pattern, practice, or scheme, the offense was not a felony and, if known, he would have elected to go to trial rather than plead guilty.  OPINION HOLDS: Because Johnson did not establish he would have insisted on going to trial if he was told about sexual exploitation by a school employee, an aggravated misdemeanor, his claim of ineffective assistance fails.  We affirm.

Case No. 23-0306:  Chad Alan Trullinger v. Carrie Lynn Lindman

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0306

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Marion County, Brad McCall, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Buller and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Buller, J.  (8 pages)

            The father appeals from a custody decree placing physical care of a child with the mother.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the physical-care ruling, finding the child’s wishes, the mother’s support of the child’s relationship with the father, and a preference for stability and consistency with a primary caregiver support the district court’s decree. 

Case No. 23-0329:  In re the Marriage of Johnston

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0329

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Cerro Gordo County, James M. Drew, Judge.  AFFIRMED AS MODIFIED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Buller and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Langholz, J.  (12 pages)

            Joseph Johnston appeals from the order granting in part his petition to modify the physical-care, visitation, and child-support provisions of the decree dissolving his marriage to Renata Johnston.  OPINION HOLDS: Joseph has not met his heavy burden to modify the current physical care placement with Renata to joint physical care.  Nor does his changed employment justify a significant boost in his visitation.  Yet we agree with him that his weekly Wednesday night visitation should be overnight rather than just for four hours as the district court ordered.  Given our deference to the district court’s fact findings, we cannot say that the court erred in declining to modify the child-support award.  And it did not abuse its discretion in awarding attorney fees to only Renata and not Joseph.  We likewise decline to award Joseph appellate attorney fees. 

Case No. 23-0337:  In re Estate of Doherty

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0337

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Katie Ranes, District Associate Judge. AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Schumacher and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Buller, J.  (7 pages)

            Paul Doherty, in his capacity as the administrator of the estate of John Doherty, appeals from the denial of his application for order requiring delivery of property.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm, finding the funds from the sale of John’s home did not belong to the estate and the administrator’s other claims are not preserved.

Case No. 23-0358:  In re Marriage of Cummings

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0358

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Linda M. Fangman, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  (11 pages)

            Kenneth Cummings appeals the physical care, child support, and property divisions of the decree dissolving his marriage to Katie Cummings.  OPINION HOLDS: On our de novo review, we concur with the trial court’s decree placing the children in Katie’s physical care.  As to child support and the division of assets and liabilities, we find no failure to do equity.  So, we affirm.

Case No. 23-0479:  Joseph Nicholas Itani v. State of Iowa

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0479

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, David Porter, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (7 pages)

            Joseph Itani appeals the denial of his application for postconviction relief (PCR) after he pled guilty to enticing a minor under the age of sixteen with a sexual purpose.  On appeal, he contends his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance by allowing him to plead guilty without a factual basis and failing to advise him of an available defense.  OPINION HOLDS: Because we find Itani failed to establish his trial counsel was ineffective, we affirm the denial of his PCR application.

Case No. 23-0488:  In re the Marriage of Balduchi

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0488

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Samantha Gronewald, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Buller and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (6 pages)

            Kenneth Balduchi appeals an order denying his motion to adjust withholding and suspension of his child support payments.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the district court’s denial of Kenneth’s motion to adjust withholding and suspension of his child support payments.

Case No. 23-0493:  State of Iowa v. Jabri Malik Guy

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0493

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Brendan Greiner, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Ahlers and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, P.J. (7 pages)

            The defendant appeals his sentence for operating while intoxicated, second offense.  OPINION HOLDS:  Because we find that the sentencing court did not rely on any unreasonable or untenable grounds in imposing a two-year term of imprisonment, we affirm the sentence.

Case No. 23-0532:  State of Iowa v. Christopher Lee Bormann

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0532

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Floyd County, Chris Foy, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J. (5 pages)

            A defendant appeals the imposition of consecutive sentences upon his criminal convictions.  OPINION HOLDS: Finding no abuse of discretion, we affirm. 

Case No. 23-0546:  State of Iowa v. Urban Jettalle Morris

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0546

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Lee (North) County, John M. Wright, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Schumacher and Ahlers, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, J. (5 pages)

            Urban Morris appeals the sentence imposed following his guilty plea to assault causing bodily injury.  OPINION HOLDS: The district court did not abuse its discretion or act on personal bias when sentencing Morris to jail and imposing a fine greater than the statutory minimum fine.

Case No. 23-0553:  In the Interest of C.F., H.F., and N.F., Minor Children

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0553

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Humboldt County, Hans Becker, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Schumacher and Ahlers, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, J.  (6 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights under Iowa Code chapter 600A (2022), arguing termination is not in the children’s best interests because of the bonds between them and their half-sibling.  OPINION HOLDS: Because we find termination of the mother’s parental rights is in the children’s best interests, we affirm.

Case No. 23-0718:  Paul Damjanovic and Brittany Damjanovic, Individually and as Next Friends of E.D. and E.D. v. Aaron Hickle, Todd Wilson and Rick Robbins

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0718

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Floyd County, James M. Drew, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Schumacher and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (6 pages)

            The plaintiffs appeal the district court’s order granting summary judgment in favor of the defendants and dismissing the plaintiffs’ claims of gross negligence.  OPINION HOLDS: Upon our review, we affirm the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendants.

Case No. 23-0736:  In re the Marriage of Oelberg

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0736

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Pocahontas County, Kurt J. Stoebe, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Buller and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Langholz, J.  (10 pages)

            Clint Oelberg appeals from the modification order granting physical care of his son to Samantha Oelberg.  OPINION HOLDS: On this record, we cannot conclude that Clint’s home, where American Sign Language is used exclusively, is better than Samantha’s bilingual home for their son’s physical, mental, and social development or for maintaining his connection to Deaf culture.  And given the otherwise closely balanced interests, we agree that placing their son in Samantha’s home with his half-sisters is in his best interests.  We thus affirm the district court’s decision and decline Samantha’s request for appellate attorney fees.

Case No. 23-0791:  In re the Marriage of Peck

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0791

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Webster County, Adria Kester, Judge.  AFFIRMED AS MODIFIED AND REMANDED WITH DIRECTIONS.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Buller and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  (17 pages)

            David Peck appeals the custody, visitation, and financial provisions of his decree of dissolution from Cheyenne Peck.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the grant of physical care to Cheyenne but modify the provision on visitation.  We also affirm the child-support award but remand for the court to recalculate the amount and attach the child support guidelines worksheet.  And we affirm the division of marital property, including the court’s determination that David dissipated marital assets.  Finally, we reject David’s request for appellate attorney fees but award those to Cheyenne. 

Case No. 23-0883:  Mark Bro and Melody Bro v. Jerry Meling, Trustee of the Jerry John Meling Revocable Trust

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0883

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Tama County, Valerie L. Clay, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Bower, C.J., and Schumacher and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Schumacher, J.  (8 pages)

            Mark and Melody Bro appeal from adverse summary judgment on their claim against Jerry Meling, Trustee of the Jerry John Meling Revocable Trust.  OPINION HOLDS: As the appellants’ second suit, filed three years after the dismissal of the first suit, is precluded by res judicata, we affirm the grant of summary judgment to the appellees.

Case No. 23-1329:  In the Interest of J.V., Minor Child

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1329

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Susan Cox, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  (8 pages)

            A father appeals the termination of his parental rights to his son.  OPINION HOLDS: Finding that the State satisfied grounds for termination under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(h) (2023), termination was in his best interests under section 232.116(2), and the father did not offer clear and convincing proof that severing their bond would harm the son under section 232.116(3)(c), we affirm.

Case No. 23-1446:  In the Interest of E.G. and W.G., Minor Children

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1446

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Brent Pattison, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  (9 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her two children.  She challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting a conclusion that the children could not be returned to her custody at the time of the termination hearing, argues termination is contrary to the children’s best interests, and requests additional time to work toward reunification.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the termination of the mother’s parental rights.

Case No. 23-1496:  In the Interest of C.S., Minor Child

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1496

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Clinton County, Kimberly K. Shepherd, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., Chicchelly, J., and Doyle, S.J.  Opinion by Doyle, S.J.  (5 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her child.  The mother does not challenge the statutory grounds for termination, but suggests termination is not in the child’s best interests and states that the closeness of the parent-child relationship “argues against termination.”  OPINION HOLDS:  Clear and convincing evidence shows termination of the mother’s parental rights is in the child’s best interests.  The mother failed to meet her burden to establish the permissive parent-child bond exception. 

Case No. 23-1511:  In the Interest of L.S., Minor Child

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1511

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Romonda Belcher, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  (14 pages)

                Intervenors appeal the juvenile court’s dispositional order in a child-in-need-of-assistance proceeding, which denied their motion for modification of placement of L.S.  They argue the court erred in not finding the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services acted unreasonably and irresponsibly in reaching its placement decision, the department and juvenile court “impermissibly relied upon race and national origin” as factors in determining L.S.’s placement, and the court improperly adopted a permanency plan that did not exist.  OPINION HOLDS: On our de novo review of the record, we find the intervenors did not meet their burden to prove that the department failed to act in the child’s best interests by unreasonably or irresponsibly failing to discharge its duties in selecting a suitable placement for the child.  As a result, we affirm the juvenile court’s denial of their motion to modify placement and reject their ancillary claims.

Case No. 23-1512:  In the Interest of S.Y., T.Y., A.Y., T.L., and A.L., Minor Children

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1512

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dubuque County, Thomas J. Straka, Associate Juvenile Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Schumacher, P.J., Buller, J., and Blane, S.J.  Opinion by Blane, S.J.  (5 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to five children, arguing she should have more time to work toward reunification and it was not in the children’s best interests to terminate her rights.  OPINION HOLDS: The mother has unresolved substance-abuse, mental-health, and domestic violence issues going back to when the state first became involved with the family in 2014.  We see no reason to believe the issues will be resolved in six months, so an extension is unwarranted and is not in the children’s best interests.  And because of those unresolved issues, the best interests of the children require termination of the mother’s parental rights and permanent placement of the children in homes that can meet their needs.  We affirm. 

Case No. 23-1537:  In the Interest of R.R.-A., Minor Child

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1537

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Daniel Block, Associate Juvenile Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (10 pages)

            A father appeals the termination of his parental rights to his child.  The father contends the State failed to prove statutory grounds for termination, termination does not serve the child’s best interests, a permissive exception should be granted due to the parent-child bond, a six-month extension should have been granted, and a relative guardianship should have been granted.  OPINON HOLDS: Because we find the statutory grounds are satisfied, termination and the denial of a guardianship are in the best interests of the child, and no permissive exceptions or extensions apply, we affirm termination of the father’s parental rights.

Case No. 23-1653:  In the Interest of P.R., Minor Child

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1653

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Pottawattamie County, Eric J. Nelson, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., Buller, J., and Carr, S.J.  Opinion by Carr, S.J.  (9 pages)

            A mother appeals the juvenile court order terminating her parental rights.  OPINION HOLDS: We find the termination is supported by clear and convincing evidence, the State engaged in reasonable efforts to reunify the mother and child, termination of the mother’s parental rights is in the child’s best interests, and an extension of time is not warranted.  We affirm the termination of the mother’s parental rights.

Case No. 23-1688:  In the Interest of L.K., Minor Child

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1688

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Cynthia S. Finley, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Schumacher and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (9 pages)

            A mother appeals termination of her parental rights.  OPINION HOLDS: Because statutory grounds for termination exist, the termination is in the best interests of the child, and no permissive exception applies, the parental rights of the mother are terminated.  The district court appropriately denied extension of time to work toward unification.

Case No. 23-1695:  In the Interest of A.D. and M.T., Minor Children

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1695

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Lucas County, Eric I. Howe, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Ahlers and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, J.  (8 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights.  She challenges the statutory grounds authorizing termination, challenges whether termination is in the children’s best interests, requests we apply a permissive exception to termination, and claims her and the children’s due process rights were violated by removal of the children from her custody.  OPINION HOLDS: The children could not be safely returned to the mother’s custody, so a statutory ground authorizing termination is satisfied.  Termination is in the children’s best interests.  We do not apply a permissive exception to termination.  The mother does not have standing to raise a claim on the children’s behalf.  The mother waived her due process claim, and any challenge to removal is now moot.

Case No. 23-1701:  In the Interest of M.B., A.B., and N.B., Minor Children

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1701

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Clinton County, Kimberly Shepherd, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (4 pages)

            The father of A.B. and N.B. appeals the order terminating his parental rights.  OPINION HOLDS: The father does not challenge all grounds for termination relied on by the juvenile court, termination is in the children’s best interests, the father fails to show that termination will harm the children based on a close parent-child relationship, and delaying termination will not change the outcome.  We therefore affirm.

Case No. 23-1712:  In the Interest of R.R., Minor Child

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1712

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Wapello County, Richelle Mahaffey, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Ahlers and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, P.J.  (5 pages)

            The father appeals the termination of his parental rights.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the father has not challenged termination under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(h) (2023), termination is in the child’s best interests, and the father has not demonstrated that the need for removal will not exist after a six-month extension, we affirm.

Case No. 23-1752:  In the Interest of J.R., Minor Child

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1752

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Harrison County, Justin R. Wyatt, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  (4 pages)

            A father appeals the termination of his parental rights under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(e) and (h) (2023).  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm, finding the father’s petition on appeal insufficient to facilitate appellate review of most of his claims and additional time would not alleviate the need for removal.

Case No. 23-1755:  In the Interest of A.S., Minor Child

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1755

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Wapello County, Richelle Mahaffey, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Ahlers and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, P.J.  (9 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of parental rights to her child.  OPINION HOLDS: The mother waived her challenge to the reasonable efforts of the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services to facilitate reunification by not raising it prior to appeal, and we do not find that the department should offer six more months of services.  We also decline to order a guardianship instead of termination and find that the mother has failed to demonstrate that the strength of her bond with the child makes termination not in the child’s best interests.  We affirm.

Case No. 23-1831:  In the Interest of J.R., Minor Child

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1831

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Cynthia S. Finley, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Schumacher and Badding, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (9 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her child.  OPINION HOLDS: Because clear and convincing evidence supports a statutory ground for termination, additional time is not warranted, termination is in the best interests of the child, and no exception applies, we affirm.

Case No. 23-1857:  In the Interest of L.H., Minor Child

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1857

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Boone County, Ashley M. Beisch, District Associate Judge.  REVERSED AND REMANDED WITH DIRECTIONS.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Ahlers and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, P.J.  (13 pages)

            A minor child who was adjudicated in need of assistance appeals the permanency ruling giving the mother an additional six months to work toward reunification; the child asks that termination proceedings be initiated immediately.  OPINION HOLDS: Because delaying permanency is not in the child’s best interests, we reverse the juvenile court’s grant of additional time to work toward reunification; we remand with directions that termination proceedings be initiated as to the mother and this minor child.  We do not disturb the permanency rulings as to the other siblings.

Case No. 23-1914:  In the Interest of K.S. and O.S., Minor Children

Filed Jan 10, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1914

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Clinton County, Kimberly Shepherd, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Schumacher, P.J., and Chicchelly and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (5 pages)

            A father appeals the termination of his parental rights to his two children, contending that termination is not in the children’s best interests and we should decline to terminate based on a permissive exception.  OPINION HOLDS: Because it is in the best interests of the children and no permissive exceptions prevent termination, we affirm the termination of the father’s parental rights.

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