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Case No. 19-1067

State of Iowa
v.
Jake Skahill

Jake Skahill seeks further review of the court of appeals opinion affirming his convictions for second-degree sexual abuse in violation of Iowa Code section 709.3(1)(b), lascivious acts with a minor child in violation of Iowa Code section 709.8(1)(a), enticing a minor child in violation of Iowa Code section 710.10(1), and indecent exposure in violation of Iowa Code section 709.9(1). Skahill argued on appeal: (1) trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object to the guardian ad litem’s evidentiary arguments, cross examination and resistance of defense counsel’s withdrawal during the criminal trial for the reason the GAL’s actions exceeded the authority allowed under Iowa Code section 915.37(1) and impeded Skahill’s constitutional rights to due process and a fair trial; (2) if the court determines the GAL’s participation was allowed by section 915.37(1), then the application of the statute violated Skahill’s right to due process under article I, section 9 of the Iowa Constitution and the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution; and (3) the trial court erred in allowing K.W.’s child protection center videos into evidence after K.W’s testimony, which resulted in improper bolstering of K.W.’s testimony. The court of appeals preserved Skahill’s ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims for a possible postconviction relief proceeding. Regarding the child protection center videos, the court of appeals concluded the State satisfied the necessity prong of the residual hearsay exception with respect to the first forensic interview recording, but found the second forensic interview recording was not necessary, and the recording was therefore inadmissible. The court of appeals ultimately determined that because the evidence supporting the jury’s findings of guilt was overwhelming, even if the admission of the forensic interview recordings was erroneous, the admission amounted to harmless error.

County:
Dubuque

Resister

State of Iowa

Applicant

Jake Skahill

Attorneys for Resister

Zachary Miller

Attorneys for Applicant

Ashley Stewart

Supreme Court

Oral Argument Schedule

15-15-5

Sep 15, 2021 1:30 PM

Briefs

Supreme Court Opinion

Opinion Number:
19-1067
Date Published:
Oct 22, 2021

Court of Appeals

Court of Appeals Opinion

Opinion Number:
19-1067
Date Published:
Nov 04, 2020
Summary

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dubuque County, Monica L. Zrinyi Wittig, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Bower, C.J., and Vaitheswaran and Greer, JJ.  Opinion by Vaitheswaran, J. (13 pages).

Jake Skahill appeals the district court’s entry of judgment following his convictions of second-degree sexual abuse, lascivious acts with a child, enticing a minor, and indecent exposure.  He argues the guardian ad litem exceeded the scope of her statutorily authorized duties.  Alternatively, Skahill argues that if the guardian ad litem’s participation is statutory authorized, application of the statute violated due process.  Also, Skahill contends the district court erred in admitting video recordings of forensic interviews with the child.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm Skahill’s judgment and sentence.  

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