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Case No. 18-1280

Joshua Venckus
City of Iowa City, et al.

Appellee, Joshua Venckus, sued the appellants City of Iowa City, police investigator Andrew Rich, Johnson County, and assistant county attorneys Anne Lahey, Naeda Elliott, and Dana Christensen. Venckus alleged the investigator and prosecutors unlawfully continued a prosecution against him for sexual abuse in the second degree even after he provided facts and information regarding his lack of culpability. He asserts against all of the appellants constitutional claims under Godfrey v. State, 898 N.W.2d 844 (Iowa 2017), for violation of his rights to freedom of movement and association, liberty, due process, a fair trial, and equal protection, as well as his right against unreasonable seizure, all under the Iowa Constitution. In addition, he asserts claims of defamation, abuse of process, and malicious prosecution against the city and its investigator, and a claim of abuse of process against the county and its prosecutors. The district court denied the appellants’ motions to dismiss all claims. On interlocutory appeal, the appellants collectively argue absolute immunity insulates them from suit because the investigator and assistant county attorneys acted within the scope of their respective duties as part of the judicial process, and such immunity applies, or should extend to, Venckus’s constitutional claims under Godfrey. The city and the investigator further argue there is no cause of action in Iowa for malicious prosecution against law enforcement for “continuing” a prosecution originally supported by probable cause, and all of Venckus’s claims are preempted by the Iowa Municipal Tort Claims Act and otherwise time-barred.



Joshua Venckus


City of Iowa City, et al.

Attorney for the Appellee

Martin A. Diaz

Attorneys for the Appellant

Eric R. Goers
Susan Dulek
Susan D. Nehring
Robert M. Livingston
Kristopher K. Madsen

Supreme Court

Oral Argument Schedule


Apr 09, 2019 9:00 AM


Supreme Court Opinion

Opinion Number:
Date Published:
Jun 28, 2019

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