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Case No. 20-0086

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

State of Iowa
Hillary Lee Hunziker


State of Iowa


Hillary Lee Hunziker

Attorneys for Appellee

Louis S. Sloven, Assistant Attorney General

Attorneys for Appellant

Bradley M. Bender, Assistant Appellate Defender

Court of Appeals

Court of Appeals Opinion

Opinion Number:
Date Published:
Jan 12, 2022

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Buchanan County, Andrea Dryer, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Badding, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J. (27 pages)

            Hillary Hunziker appeals from her conviction of murder in the first degree.  She argues (1) the district court erred in denying a continuance based on the unavailability of her expert witness, (2) the jury instructions about the insanity defense did not correctly state the law, (3) her conviction is contrary to the weight of the evidence, (4) the district court erred in denying two requests for substitute counsel, and (5) she should be able to assert an ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claim on this direct appeal or have her case reviewed for plain error.  OPINION HOLDS: The district court did not err in denying her request for continuance.  The jury instructions correctly stated the law regarding the insanity defense.  The conviction is supported by the weight of the evidence.  The district court gave her ample opportunity to explain her request for substitute counsel, but she did not meet the required burden.  Ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims are reserved for postconviction relief and we do not adopt plain-error review. 

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