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January 2024 Archive | Most Recent Court of Appeals Summaries

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

Opinion Summaries

Case No. 21-1425:  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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