Skip to main content
Iowa Judicial Branch
Main Content

June 2024 Archive | Most Recent Court of Appeals Summaries

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

Opinion Summaries

Case No. 22-1587:  State of Iowa v. Jose Eduardo Victor

Filed Jun 19, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1587

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Marshall County, Kim M. Riley, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  (4 pages)

            A defendant appeals his convictions for eluding, driving while revoked, and leaving the scene of a personal-injury accident.  He alleges the prosecution—having more information about prospective jurors—enjoyed an unfair advantage during voir dire.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the defendant did not raise this issue until his motion for new trial, he failed to preserve error.  We thus affirm without reaching the merits of his allegation.

Case No. 22-1865:  County Bank v. Shalla

Filed Jun 19, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1865

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Washington County, Michael J. Schilling and Shawn Showers, Judges.  AFFIRMED AND REMANDED.  Heard by Schumacher, P.J., and Ahlers and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Schumacher, P.J.  Partial Dissent by Langholz, J.  (23 pages)

            Clint and Michelle Shalla appeal the district court decisions granting summary judgment and a directed verdict, denying extended discovery, and denying them a new trial.  OPINION HOLDS: Because we find the district court correctly applied Iowa Code section 535.17 (2018) and the principles of vicarious liability to grant summary judgment and a directed verdict, and it did not abuse its discretion in denying extended discovery or a new trial, we affirm and remand for a determination of appellate attorney fees for County Bank.  PARTIAL DISSENT ASSERTS: While I join much of the well-reasoned majority opinion, I cannot agree that the district court properly dismissed the tort claims against Chris Goerdt and Peoples Trust and Savings Bank based on Iowa Code section 535.17, a statute that makes certain agreements “not enforceable in contract law.

Case No. 22-1952:  In re Detention of Austin Sims

Filed Jun 19, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1952

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Chickasaw County, Richard D. Stochl, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., Badding, J., and Blane, S.J.  Opinion by Blane, S.J.  (18 pages)

            Austin Sims appeals the finding he committed second-degree sexual abuse and the admission of hearsay testimony and forensic recorded interviews under the residual hearsay exception in Iowa Rule of Evidence 5.807.  OPINION HOLDS: The trial court correctly found the video recorded forensic interviews were properly admissible under the residual hearsay exception and there was substantial evidence that Sims committed sex abuse to support the sexual violent predator determination and commitment.  Admission of other hearsay evidence, if erroneous, was harmless.  So we affirm the determination Sims committed sexual abuse. 

Case No. 22-1990:  State of Iowa v. Lee Vandyke Carter

Filed Jun 19, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1990

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Winnebago County, James M. Drew, Judge.  CONVICTIONS AFFIRMED; SENTENCES REVERSED AND REMANDED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., Badding, J., and Carr, S.J.  Opinion by Carr, S.J.  (9 pages)

            Lee Carter appeals from his convictions, sentence, and judgment for false imprisonment and sexual abuse in the third degree following a jury trial.  Carter argues the charge of false imprisonment was not proper to submit as a lesser-included offense of the original charge of kidnapping in the first degree, the trial court erred in failing to grant a mistrial due to the admission of prior bad acts evidence, and the trial court inappropriately imposed a mixed sentence of both prison and jail.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm Carter’s convictions; we reverse his sentences and remand for resentencing.

Case No. 22-2109:  State of Iowa v. Jachina Monet Hill

Filed Jun 19, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-2109

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Jeanie Vaudt, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., Badding, J., and Potterfield, S.J.  Opinion by Potterfield, S.J.  (9 pages)

            Jachina Hill appeals her convictions and sentences, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the finding she knowingly possessed the pills—a common element of counts I and II—and argues the court failed to provide adequate reasons on the record for the sentence imposed.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm Hill’s convictions and sentences.

Case No. 23-0101:  Demarrio Deshon Wright v. State of Iowa

Filed Jun 19, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0101

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

            A postconviction applicant appeals the denial of relief.  OPINION HOLDS: We reject the structural-error claim and affirm.

Case No. 23-0271:  Dwight Hearing v. Kevin Alexander and K&L Properties, LLC

Filed Jun 19, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0271

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, Roger L. Sailer, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., Langholz, J., and Danilson, S.J.  Opinion by Langholz, J.  (13 pages)

            Dwight Hearing appeals the district court’s ruling that he failed to establish a new boundary line by acquiescence between K&L Properties, LLC’s farmland and his residential property.  OPINION HOLDS: We review a boundary-by-acquiescence claim under Iowa Code chapter 650 for corrections of errors of law—not de novo.  And under this proper standard of review, substantial evidence supports the district court’s finding that Hearing failed to prove by clear evidence that prior owners of the farmland acquiesced to his alleged boundary line.  

Case No. 23-0286:  State of Iowa v. Joseph Wayne Hanson Jr.

Filed Jun 19, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0286

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Lee (South) County, Wyatt Peterson, Judge.  REVERSED AND REMANDED FOR NEW TRIAL. Considered by Tabor, P.J., Ahlers, J., and Danilson, S.J.  Opinion by Danilson, S.J.  (8 pages)

            Joseph Hanson Jr. appeals his convictions following the denial of his motion to continue.  OPINION HOLDS: The district court abused its discretion when it denied the motion to continue, and Hanson established that injustice resulted.  We reverse and remand for new trial before a different judge.

Case No. 23-0335:  Estate of Kathleen Hazen, by Steven J. Hazen, Administrator, and Steven J. Hazen, Individually v. Genesis Health System d/b/a Genesis Medical Center, and William E. Olson, M.D.

Filed Jun 19, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0335

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Meghan Corbin, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Bower, C.J., and Schumacher, Ahlers, Badding, and Buller, JJ.  Langholz, J., takes no part. Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (12 pages)

            The Estate of Kathleen Hazen and Steven Hazen (the Hazens) appeal the district court’s judgment entered on a jury verdict in favor of Dr. William Olson on the Hazens’ medical malpractice action.  The Hazens claim the court erred in preventing them from impeaching Dr. Olson with evidence of prior professional disciplinary matters, instructing the jury on alternative methods of treatment, and engaging in “prejudicial misconduct during trial.”  OPINION HOLDS: Upon review, we affirm.

Case No. 23-0500:  Brandy Renee Byrd v. State of Iowa

Filed Jun 19, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0500

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Christopher L. Bruns, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., Buller, J., and Gamble, S.J.  Opinion by Gamble, S.J.  (6 pages)

            Brandy Byrd appeals the denial of her third application for postconviction relief.  OPINION HOLDS: Finding Byrd has not established her sentence is grossly disproportionate to her crime, we affirm.

Case No. 23-0864:  In re the Marriage of Word

Filed Jun 19, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0864

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Cerro Gordo County, Gregg Rosenbladt, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Badding and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (12 pages)

            Bridget Grady appeals the district court’s order on her petition to modify the decree dissolving her marriage to Brett Word, challenging the court’s denial of her request for physical care of the parties’ child.  OPINION HOLDS: Upon review, we affirm.

Case No. 23-0987:  State of Iowa v. Christopher Lavelle Mitchell

Filed Jun 19, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0987

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

            A criminal defendant seeks discretionary review of a ruling on his motion in arrest of judgment and challenges the imposition of consecutive sentences.  OPINION HOLDS: We grant discretionary review of the district court’s ruling on the motion in arrest of judgment but affirm that ruling on the merits.  Finding no abuse of discretion in sentencing, we affirm the imposition of consecutive sentences.  PARTIAL DISSENT ASSERTS: Because exercising our extraordinary jurisdiction to decide the guilty-plea issue is contrary to legislative intent, an abuse of the discretion granted to us by the elected branches, and a waste of judicial resources, I dissent from granting discretionary review.  

Case No. 23-1172:  State of Iowa v. Joshua Benjamin Kutcher

Filed Jun 19, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1172

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

            A defendant appeals his conviction for attempting to disarm a peace officer.  He seeks a new trial, contending the jury should have received a specific-intent instruction.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the crime only required proof of general intent, we find no error.  Thus, we affirm.

Case No. 23-1614:  State of Iowa v. Lanard Antonio Collins

Filed Jun 19, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1614

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Buchanan County, Alan T. Heavens, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Ahlers, P.J., and Chicchelly and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (5 pages)

            Lanard Antonio Collins appeals the sentence imposed after his guilty plea to willful injury resulting in bodily injury as a habitual offender, contending the district court abused its sentencing discretion by relying on certain factors and imposing incarceration instead of probation.  OPINION HOLDS: Because we conclude that the district court did not abuse its discretion, we affirm Collins’s sentence.

Case No. 24-0185:  In the Interest of E.W., Minor Child

Filed Jun 19, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0185

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Romonda Belcher, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Ahlers, P.J., and Chicchelly and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, P.J.  (7 pages)

            A father appeals the termination of his parental rights.  He challenges the statutory grounds authorizing termination, argues termination is not in the child’s best interests, and requests we apply a permissive exception to termination.  OPINION HOLDS: The State established statutory grounds for termination, and termination is in the child’s best interests.  We decline to apply a permissive exception to termination.

Case No. 24-0364:  In the Interest of D.S., Minor Child

Filed Jun 19, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0364

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Lucas County, Erik I. Howe, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Greer and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J.  (7 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights.  OPINION HOLDS: The statutory ground for termination under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(f) (2023) was met because the mother’s ongoing substance use and inability to provide for the child’s safety demonstrated that the child could not be returned to the mother’s custody without exposure to harm.  The same issues made termination in the child’s best interests.  The mother waived her two additional claims.  We affirm.

Case No. 24-0428:  In the Interest of A.M. and A.M., Minor Children

Filed Jun 19, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0428

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Washington County, Patrick McAvan, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Ahlers, P.J., and Chicchelly and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Buller, J.  (7 pages)

            A mother challenges the termination of her parental rights.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm.

Case No. 24-0536:  In the Interest of A.C. and A.C., Minor Children

Filed Jun 19, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0536

            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 Schumacher, J.  (11 pages)

            A mother and father each appeal the termination of their parental rights.  OPINION HOLDS: We find there is clear and convincing evidence in the record to support termination of the mother’s parental rights.  We find termination of the father’s parental rights is in the children’s best interests, an exception to termination should not be applied, and it would not be in the children’s best interests to grant the father an additional extension of time.  We affirm the termination of the mother’s and father’s parental rights.

Case No. 24-0576:  In the Interest of M.H., Minor Child

Filed Jun 19, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0576

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Warren County, Mark F. Schlenker, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Greer and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J.  (7 pages)

            The juvenile court terminated the father’s parental rights to M.H., born in September 2022, pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(h) (2023).  The father appeals, arguing the State failed to prove the statutory ground because M.H. could be returned at the time of the termination trial or, alternatively, it would have been in M.H.’s best interests to establish a guardianship rather than terminate parental rights.  OPINION HOLDS: Because questions regarding the father’s sobriety and his protective capacity persist, the State proved M.H. could not be returned to the father’s custody at the time of the termination trial.  On the record before us, we cannot say the juvenile court should have established a guardianship in lieu of terminating the father’s parental rights.  We affirm.

Case No. 24-0585:  In the Interest of M.W., L.W., and M.W., Minor Children

Filed Jun 19, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0585

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dubuque County, Thomas J. Straka, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Greer and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Schumacher, J.  (8 pages)

            A father appeals the termination of his parental rights.  OPINION HOLDS: We find the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying the father’s motion for a continuance.  We also conclude the court properly denied the father’s request for a six-month extension of time for reunification efforts.  We affirm the termination of the father’s parental rights.

Case No. 24-0629:  In the Interest of M.H., M.H., and T.H., Minor Children

Filed Jun 19, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0629

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Susan Cox, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Ahlers, P.J., and Chicchelly and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (6 pages)

            A father appeals the termination of his parental rights to three children.  OPINION HOLDS: Clear and convincing evidence supports terminating the father’s parental rights under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(f) (2024), and termination is in the children’s best interests.  Because none of the circumstances set out section 232.116(3) apply, we affirm.

Case No. 22-1497:  State of Iowa v. Mathurin Pettit

Filed Jun 05, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1497

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, David M. Cox, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Ahlers, P.J., Buller, J., and Gamble, S.J.  Opinion by Gamble, S.J.  (12 pages)

            A criminal defendant appeals his convictions for third-degree sexual abuse.  OPINION HOLDS: We find sufficient evidence supports the convictions, and the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Pettit’s motion for mistrial.  We affirm.

Case No. 22-1881:  State of Iowa v. Jon Thomas Kucharo

Filed Jun 05, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1881

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Tamra Roberts (Trial) and Partick A. Mcelyea (Sentencing), Judges.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Schumacher, P.J., Ahlers, J., and Blane, S.J.  Opinion by Ahlers, J.  (6 pages)

            Jon Kucharo appeals his conviction for harassment in the first degree, arguing insufficient evidence supported the verdict and the court abused its discretion in imposing a prison sentence.  OPINION HOLDS: Because sufficient evidence supports each element of the crime, we affirm the conviction.  The challenge to the sentence is moot due to discharge of the sentence.

Case No. 22-1882:  State of Iowa v. Datarius Dewon Spates

Filed Jun 05, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1882

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

            Datarius Spates appeals from the district court’s denial of his motion for new trial based on newly discovered evidence.  OPINION HOLDS: Because Spates failed to meet his burden to prove the affiant or purported eyewitness provided newly discovered information, nor would either likely change the trial’s result, we affirm.

Case No. 22-1963:  In re Marriage of Sanders

Filed Jun 05, 2024

View Opinion No. 22-1963

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Sarah Crane and Jeanie Vaudt, Judges.  AFFIRMED AS MODIFIED AND REMANDED WITH DIRECTIONS.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  (17 pages)

                A husband appeals the decree dissolving his marriage, arguing the district court erred in (1) finding a premarital agreement between the parties unenforceable, (2) treating his inherited assets as marital property, (3) requiring him to be partially responsible for debt under a home equity line of credit, (4) conditioning the duration of his obligation to pay his wife’s health insurance expenses on whether he exercised his right to appeal, and (5) awarding his wife trial attorney fees.  The wife requests an award of appellate attorney fees.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the district court on all issues except the award of trial attorney fees.  Because those fees were not supported by an itemization, we modify the decree to vacate the award and remand for reconsideration of trial attorney fees consistent with this opinion, together with the wife’s request for appellate attorney fees.

Case No. 23-0139:  Sean Michael Freese v. State of Iowa

Filed Jun 05, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0139

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Henry W. Latham II, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., Buller, J., and Doyle, S.J.  Opinion by Doyle, S.J.  (5 pages)

            Sean Freese appeals the denial of his application for postconviction relief.  OPINION HOLDS: Freese has not shown his trial attorneys’ strategic decision to forgo a diminished responsibility defense denied him effective assistance of counsel.  There is insufficient evidence in the record to allow us to resolve a claim of ineffective assistance of postconviction-relief counsel raised for the first time on appeal.

Case No. 23-0156:  Heartland Co-Op v. Nationwide Agribusiness Insurance Company

Filed Jun 05, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0156

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Jeffrey D. Bert, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Schumacher, P.J., and Ahlers and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, J.  Dissent by Langholz, J. (19 pages)

            Heartland Co-op (Heartland) appeals the district court’s grant of summary judgment to Nationwide Agribusiness Insurance Company, arguing the insurance policy issued to Heartland allowed it to recover for separate losses at each location, subject to the per loss coverage limit in the policy.  OPINION HOLDS: Under the terms of the policy, Heartland suffered only one loss, so we affirm. DISSENT ASSERTS:  Interpreting the text of the policy as a whole, I would hold that a business-interruption loss is tied to physical loss or damage at a specific location.  So when more than one location has physical losses, the business interruption at each of those locations is multiple losses too.  And because the $3 million limit is per loss—not per occurrence or per peril or capped by the catastrophe limit that the parties chose not to set—Heartland can claim up to $3 million for each of the business interruption losses arising from each of the physical losses at Heartland’s locations.  Even if the majority’s contrary interpretation is also reasonable, the policy is fairly susceptible to two interpretations, and this interpretation favoring the insured must thus be adopted.

Case No. 23-0217:  Norris v. Paulson

Filed Jun 05, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0217

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Sarah Crane, Judge.  AFFIRMED IN PART, REVERSED IN PART, AND REMANDED.  Heard by Tabor, P.J., and Buller and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  (11 pages)

            In September 2019, Des Moines Police Officer Trudy Paulson shot Bryan Norris while responding to complaints about a homeless camp near the Racoon River.  Norris sued Paulson and the city alleging unreasonable seizure under the state constitution and common law assault.  The district court denied the city’s motion for summary judgment.  After that denial, our supreme court overruled Godfrey v. State, 898 N.W.2d 844 (Iowa 2017), which had recognized standalone suits for damages under the Iowa Constitution.  See Burnett v. Smith, 990 N.W.2d 289, 307 (Iowa 2023).  In this interlocutory appeal, the city argues that Burnett eliminated Norris’s constitutional claim.  It also contends that Officer Paulson’s use of force was reasonable under Iowa Code section 804.8 (2022).  OPINION HOLDS: On the first issue, the city is correct that Norris’s constitutional claim cannot move forward after Burnett.  On the second issue, the district court was correct in deciding the common law assault claim was for the jury to decide.  Thus, we affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand for trial on the assault claim.

Case No. 23-0308:  Jeffery A. Oppedahl and Angela M. Oppedahl v. First State Bank

Filed Jun 05, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0308

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Hamilton County, Jennifer Miller, Judge.  REVERSED AND REMANDED.  Heard by Bower, C.J., Chicchelly, J., and Gamble, S.J.  Langholz, J., takes no part.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (9 pages)

            Jeffery and Angela Oppedahl appeal the district court’s order dismissing their invasion-of-privacy claims against First State Bank.  OPINION HOLDS: We reverse the district court’s order granting First State Bank’s motion to dismiss and remand for further proceedings.

Case No. 23-0314:  In the Matter of the Judith C. Rolenc Revocable Trust

Filed Jun 05, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0314

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Montgomery County, Craig M. Dreismeier, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Bower, C.J., and Badding and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (15 pages)

            Scott Rolenc appeals the district court’s order recognizing his brother, Steve Rolenc, as successor trustee of their mother’s trust.  OPINION HOLDS: Upon review, we affirm the court’s order.

Case No. 23-0429:  James Allen Breen v. State of Iowa

Filed Jun 05, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0429

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Patrick R. Grady, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., Buller, J., and Doyle, S.J.  Opinion by Doyle, S.J.  (10 pages)

            James Allen Breen appeals the denial of his application for postconviction relief (PCR).  OPINION HOLDS: We agree with the PCR court’s determination that Breen was not prejudiced by any deficiencies in counsel’s performance.  We affirm the denial of his PCR application.

Case No. 23-0437:  State of Iowa v. Todd Matthew Crosgrove

Filed Jun 05, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0437

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, Mark C. Cord, III, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Ahlers, P.J., and Chicchelly and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (6 pages)

            Todd Matthew Crosgrove challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his conviction.  OPINION HOLDS: Because substantial evidence supports the verdict, we affirm his conviction.

Case No. 23-0456:  State of Iowa v. Erica Lynn Velez

Filed Jun 05, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0456

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

            A defendant challenges her sentences arising from an armed assault at a social club.  She raises a due process argument and challenges the sentencing court’s discretion.  OPINION HOLDS: We find that the defendant failed to preserve error on her constitutional claim and detect no abuse of discretion on the court’s denial of a deferred judgment.  Thus, we affirm.

Case No. 23-0507:  Elias Walter Wanatee v. State of Iowa

Filed Jun 05, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0507

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, Jeffrey A. Neary, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Ahlers and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Buller, J.  (5 pages)

            An applicant appeals the denial of postconviction relief related to trial counsel’s effectiveness.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the applicant failed to generate a triable issue, we affirm.

Case No. 23-0508:  State of Iowa v. Patrick Donover Sallis

Filed Jun 05, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0508

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, David P. Odekirk, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Schumacher, P.J., Badding, J., and Doyle, S.J.  Opinion by Doyle, S.J.  (8 pages)

            Patrick Sallis appeals the denial of his motion to suppress evidence supporting his conviction for possession of a firearm as a felon and habitual offender.  OPINION HOLDS: The information in the application for the search warrant was timely and provided a sufficient nexus between criminal activity and the places to be searched.  When viewed together, the circumstances before the district court that issued the warrant provide a sufficient basis for finding the informant’s information was credible.  Because probable cause supported the search warrant, we affirm.

Case No. 23-0530:  State of Iowa v. Donnell E. Thomas

Filed Jun 05, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0530

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Plymouth County, Steven J. Andreasen, Judge.  CONVICTIONS AFFIRMED; SENTENCES VACATED AND REMANDED FOR RESENTENCING.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J. (11 pages)

           Donnelle Thomas appeals his convictions and sentences, claiming the district court violated his right to a speedy trial, there was insufficient evidence to find him guilty of possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of marijuana, and the district court abused its sentencing discretion.  OPINION HOLDS: Upon review, we affirm Thomas’s convictions, but we vacate the sentencing order and remand for resentencing.

Case No. 23-0550:  George Prentiss III v. State of Iowa

Filed Jun 05, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0550

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Clinton County, John Telleen, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Ahlers, P.J., Badding, J., and Potterfield, S.J.  Opinion by Potterfield, S.J.  (6 pages)

            George Prentiss III appeals the summary dismissal of his fifth application for postconviction relief (PCR) following his 2002 convictions for first-degree murder and first-degree robbery.  He argues summary disposition was not appropriate because he created a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether his application contained newly-discovered evidence that would except it from the three-year time-bar.  OPINION HOLDS: Because Prentiss failed to raise a new ground of fact that allows him to avoid the statute of limitations, his fifth PCR application is time-barred and summary disposition was appropriate. 

Case No. 23-0658:  Gary Charles Wood Jr. v. State of Iowa

Filed Jun 05, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0658

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

            An applicant appeals the denial of his application for postconviction relief, claiming the district court erred in rejecting his claims of ineffective assistance of counsel and prosecutorial misconduct.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the denial of this application for postconviction relief.

Case No. 23-0669:  Joe Anthony Lopez v. State of Iowa

Filed Jun 05, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0669

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

            Joe Lopez appeals the denial of his application for postconviction relief (PCR.)  He contends new scientific evidence on shaken baby syndrome and abuse head trauma undermines his conviction.  And he argues his criminal trial counsel was ineffective by (1) not challenging prior bad acts testimony and (2) not marshalling scientific data to rebut the State’s expert witnesses.  OPINION HOLDS: Lopez did not raise the second ineffective-assistance claim before the PCR court, so we do not address it.  We find his newly discovered evidence claim and his bad-acts ineffectiveness challenge lack merit.  So we affirm denial of PCR. 

Case No. 23-0689:  Erik Guadalupe Davila v. State of Iowa

Filed Jun 05, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0689

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Wapello County, Crystal S. Cronk, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Greer and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J.  (10 pages)

            Erik Davila appeals the denial of his application for postconviction relief.  OPINION HOLDS: Because he failed to prove the prejudice element of his ineffective-assistance claim, we affirm the district court’s denial of his application for postconviction relief.

Case No. 23-0705:  Robinson v. Linn County Board of Supervisors

Filed Jun 05, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0705

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, David M. Cox, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Tabor, P.J., and Greer and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Schumacher, J.  (22 pages)

            Appellants challenge the district court decision annulling a writ of certiorari.  OPINION HOLDS: The district court applied the correct standard in reviewing the county board’s actions, the rezoning is not inconsistent with the county comprehensive plan, the overlay district established by the rezoning does not violate the uniformity requirement of Iowa Code section 335.4 (2022); the board decision is not an illegal zoning of agricultural property under section 335.2; the board decision does not violate Linn County Ordinance section 107-68(3)(g), Linn County Ordinance section 107-70(1)(i) does not illegally alter the county comprehensive plan; the rezoning is not a taking of the appellants’ property, and the rezoning is not illegal.  Accordingly, we affirm.

Case No. 23-0981:  State of Iowa v. Lonnie James Pryor

Filed Jun 05, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0981

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Warren County, Kevin Parker, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Buller, J.  (5 pages)

            A criminal defendant challenges a suppression ruling, sufficiency of the evidence, and the sentence imposed.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm, finding reasonable suspicion and probable cause for the stop, sufficient evidence for the conviction, and no abuse of sentencing discretion by the district court.

Case No. 23-0985:  State of Iowa v. Jason Aaron Gordon

Filed Jun 05, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0985

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Mark R. Lawson, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Greer and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J.  (12 pages)

            A defendant appeals his conviction for assault causing serious injury.  OPINION HOLDS: The State presented substantial evidence to support the conviction and the district court did not abuse its discretion in overruling the defendant’s motion for a mistrial.  We affirm.

Case No. 23-0991:  Jason Shimar Keys v. State of Iowa

Filed Jun 05, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-0991

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Cerro Gordo County, Chris Foy, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Greer and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J.  (15 pages)

            An applicant appeals the denial of his application for postconviction relief.  OPINION HOLDS: Because we find that none of the errors alleged constituted a breach of duty, Keys has failed to demonstrate ineffective assistance of his trial counsel.  And because Keys has not demonstrated a breach of his trial counsel’s duty, his cumulative error claim also fails for lack of prejudice.  We affirm.

Case No. 23-1041:  In the Interest of B.B., Minor Child

Filed Jun 05, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1041

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

            A father appeals the termination of his parental rights under Iowa Code chapter 600A (2023), arguing the mother failed to prove he abandoned the child, and that termination of his parental rights was in the child’s best interest.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the mother proved the father abandoned the child and that termination of the father’s parental rights is in the child’s best interest, we affirm.

Case No. 23-1043:  State of Iowa v. Julius De Vonte Blakeley

Filed Jun 05, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1043

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Palo Alto County, Carl J. Peterson, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Ahlers, P.J., and Chicchelly and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J. (14 pages)

            Julius De Vonte Blakeley appeals his convictions, contending insufficient evidence supports the domestic abuse assault conviction and the State violated his constitutional right to speedy trial.  OPINION HOLDS: Because we find sufficient evidence supports the domestic abuse assault conviction and we further find that his speedy‑trial right was not violated, we affirm Blakeley’s convictions.

Case No. 23-1062:  State of Iowa v. Eric Anela Perry

Filed Jun 05, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1062

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Pottawattamie County, Charles D. Fagan, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Greer and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J.  (12 pages)

            Eric Perry appeals his conviction for operating while intoxicated.  OPINION HOLDS: The State presented substantial evidence that Perry had lost control of his bodily actions or motions to an extent, and Perry waived his challenge to juror bias and did not establish the necessity of an evidentiary hearing.  For these reasons, we affirm.

Case No. 23-1063:  State of Iowa v. Alison Elaine Dorsey

Filed Jun 05, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1063

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Cass County, Amy Zacharias, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Greer and Schumacher, P.J.  Opinion by Schumacher, J. (14 pages)

            Defendant appeals her convictions for second-degree murder and child endangerment causing death.  OPINION HOLDS: We conclude the verdict was supported by substantial evidence.  The district court did not abuse its discretion in granting a change of venue.  The district court did not abuse its discretion in admitting evidence of a possible source of a rib injury or by denying additional trait witnesses as cumulative.  The district court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion for a new trial.  We affirm. 

Case No. 23-1078:  In re Estate of Bartosh

Filed Jun 05, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1078

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Benton County, Chad Kepros, Judge.  AFFIRMED. Heard by Tabor, P.J., and Greer and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Schumacher, J.  (11 pages)

            The appellants challenge a district court’s grant of summary judgment that denied their challenge to a will and argue the terms of the will create an improper restriction on the alienation of title.  They also claim the court did not follow the parties’ mediation agreement and erred by enforcing a no-contest provision contained in the will.  OPINION HOLDS: We find the district court properly granted summary judgment.  Because we affirm the grant of summary judgment, we determine the issue of the no-contest provision is moot and we render no further opinion on such issue.

Case No. 23-1345:  State of Iowa v. Jeremy Allyn Crandall

Filed Jun 05, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1345

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Christopher L. Bruns, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Schumacher, P.J., Ahlers, J., and Blane, S.J.  Opinion by Ahlers, J.  (6 pages)

            A defendant appeals his sentence following is guilty plea.  OPINION HOLDS: The district court did not abuse its discretion, so we affirm.

Case No. 23-1355:  In the Matter of the Trust of Duane M. Pagel

Filed Jun 05, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1355

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Fayette County, Richard D. Stochl, Judge.  AFFIRMED IN PART, VACATED IN PART, AND REMANDED WITH DIRECTIONS.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Chicchelly and Langholz, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, P.J.  (13 pages)

            Richard Pagel appeals the ruling denying his application for fees, costs, and expenses.  OPINION HOLDS: We vacate the district court’s ruling insofar as it denied Richard’s request for payment of fees, costs, and expenses related to his defense of the trust’s 1998 farm stock sale and remand with directions to determine if he is entitled to payment as to that challenge and the appropriate award.  We affirm as to the 2010 real estate sale as we find that the court did not abuse its discretion in disallowing fees, costs, and expenses for Richard defending against reasonable claims by the trust’s beneficiaries over his breach of the duty of loyalty and self-dealing.

Case No. 23-1693:  State of Iowa v. Charles Lee Brumley

Filed Jun 05, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1693

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Jasper County, Charles C. Sinnard, Judge.  APPEAL DISMISSED.  Considered by Ahlers, P.J., and Chicchelly and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, P.J.  (3 pages)

            Charles Brumley appeals his sentence following his guilty plea to theft in the third degree, arguing the district court imposed an illegal sentence.  OPINION HOLDS: Because Brumley received the sentence to which he agreed pursuant to the plea agreement, he has not established good cause to appeal following his guilty plea, so we dismiss his appeal.

Case No. 23-1731:  State of Iowa v. Benjamin Frederick Hurry

Filed Jun 05, 2024

View Opinion No. 23-1731

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Henry W. Latham II, Judge.  AFFIRMED IN PART, VACATED IN PART, AND REMANDED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Greer and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Schumacher, J.  (5 pages)

            Defendant appeals the district court’s decision to sentence him to incarceration rather than probation.  OPINION HOLDS: The district court properly considered the relevant factors in sentencing the defendant, but the court was without authority to order the defendant to complete sex offender treatment.  Accordingly, we vacate the sentence in part and remand for the entry of a corrected sentencing order eliminating the requirement to complete sex offender treatment.

Case No. 24-0052:  In the Interest of K.H., Minor Child

Filed Jun 05, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0052

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Cerro Gordo County, Adam D. Sauer, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Greer, P.J., and Chicchelly and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Buller, J.  (8 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights, challenging reasonable efforts, the use of unfounded child abuse assessments, and references to her past substance use.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm.

Case No. 24-0218:  In the Interest of W.T., L.T., and L.T., Minor Children

Filed Jun 05, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0218

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Washington County, Daniel Kitchen, Judge.  AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.  Considered by Bower, C.J., Greer, J., and Gamble, S.J.  Opinion by Gamble, S.J.  Special Concurrence by Greer, J.  (13 pages)

            A mother and child separately appeal the termination of the mother’s parental rights.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the mother continues to pose a threat to the children’s long-term best interests, we affirm termination of her rights.  SPECIAL CONCURRENCE ASSERTS: I write separately to emphasize the cracks in the safety system afforded to children like O.T., who find themselves in the child-in-need-of-assistance world.  The stated goal of reunification of families is not realistic if the mental health of a child diagnosed with serious mental-health conditions is not addressed.  We can do better, and we should do better.   

Case No. 24-0435:  In the Interest of A.C., B.C., and P.C., Minor Children

Filed Jun 05, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0435

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Poweshiek County, Richelle Mahaffey, Judge.  AFFIRMED ON APPEAL AND CROSS-APPEAL.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Greer and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Schumacher, J.  (11 pages)

            A father appeals a district court dispositional order that continued removal of his children from his custody and denied his motion to remove the guardian ad litem.  The mother cross-appeals the dispositional order related to concurrent jurisdiction and visitation.  OPINION HOLDS: Continued removal of the three children from the father’s custody was warranted in light of the father’s failure to address a history of physical abuse and placement with the mother was the least restrictive placement available.  The current placement is in their best interest, and it is contrary to the children’s welfare to be in their father’s custody.  We also affirm the court’s denial of the father’s motion to remove the guardian ad litem, the court’s grant of concurrent jurisdiction as to child support only, the specific visitation for the father, and allowance of supervision of the father’s visitation by the paternal grandparents.

Case No. 24-0486:  In the Interest of R.F., Minor Child

Filed Jun 05, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0486

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, Stephanie Forker Parry, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Ahlers, P.J., and Chicchelly and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (7 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her child.  OPINION HOLDS: The juvenile court acted within its discretion by denying the mother’s motion to continue the termination hearing.  Because clear and convincing evidence supports a ground for termination, termination is in the child’s best interests, and termination will not harm the child based on the strength of the parent-child bond, we affirm.

Case No. 24-0503:  In the Interest of J.S. and S.S., Minor Children

Filed Jun 05, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0503

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Johnson County, Joan M. Black, Judge.  AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Greer and Badding, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  (9 pages)

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

Case No. 24-0521:  In the Interest of A.A., Minor Child

Filed Jun 05, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0521

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Johnson County, Joan M. Black, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Greer and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  (9 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her twenty-month-old son.  OPINION HOLDS: Because we find the statutory ground for termination is supported, termination is in his best interests, a statutory exception does not apply, and an extension is unwarranted, we affirm. 

Case No. 24-0534:  In the Interest of E.C.-K., Minor Child

Filed Jun 05, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0534

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Jefferson County, Patrick McAvan, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Badding, P.J., and Chicchelly and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (11 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her child, challenging the State’s reasonable efforts, statutory grounds for termination, and determination that termination is in the child’s best interests.  She also argues a six‑month extension should have been granted.  OPINION HOLDS: Because we find the statutory grounds are satisfied, termination is in the best interests of the child, and additional time is not warranted, we affirm termination of the mother’s parental rights.

Case No. 24-0546:  In the Interest of M.H., Minor Child

Filed Jun 05, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0546

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

            Parents separately appeal the termination of their parental rights, challenging the sufficiency of evidence supporting the ground for termination and arguing 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 both parents’ rights.

Case No. 24-0597:  In the Interest of B.W., Minor Child

Filed Jun 05, 2024

View Opinion No. 24-0597

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

            A father appeals the termination of his parental rights, arguing that he should have been granted additional time to work toward reunification.  OPINION HOLDS: The juvenile court correctly denied the father’s request for additional time to work toward reunification.

© 2024 Iowa Judicial Branch. All Rights Reserved.