The Iowa Supreme Court expects to file opinions in four cases on Friday, May 7, 2021.
19–1162 Holmes v. Pomeroy
The plaintiff seeks further review of the court of appeals decision affirming the district court’s refusal to grant a new trial in this personal-injury case. The plaintiff contends the district court erred in concluding that post-collision instances of cell phone use while driving is not relevant to establishing habit or routine under Iowa Rule of Evidence 5.406. The plaintiff also contends the district court erred in limiting cross-examination and argument before the jury concerning hearsay statements.
19–1561 State v. Fetner
William Frank Fetner seeks further review of the court of appeals decision affirming his judgment and sentence following his guilty plea to possession of a controlled substance (marijuana), third or subsequent offense, and driving while barred. The court of appeals concluded the district court did not consider an impermissible or irrelevant factor in its sentencing for the reason Fetner acquiesced to his attorney’s statements regarding him working at a daycare while under the influence of a controlled substance.
19–2082 State v. Tucker
Defendant appealed from the judgment and sentence entered on his guilty plea to second-degree theft. See Iowa Code §§ 714.1, 714.2(2) (2019). Defendant contends: (1) he did not enter the plea knowingly and voluntarily, (2) his trial counsel provided him ineffective assistance, and (3) new legislation requiring good cause for appeals from most guilty pleas and prohibiting consideration of ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims on direct appeal unconstitutionally restricts the role and jurisdiction of Iowa’s appellate courts and violates defendant’s right to equal protection.
20–1027 Xenia Rural Water District v. City of Johnston
In litigation between a municipality and a rural water district over the provision of public water supply services in certain areas, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa has certified the following questions to the Iowa Supreme Court pursuant to Iowa Code section 684A.1 (2020): (1) Whether an Iowa Code section 357A.2 rural water district, before amendments to section 357A.2(4) in 2014, had a legal right to provide water service to portions of an area described in its county board of supervisors resolution, see Iowa Code § 357A.2(1), when those portions were also within two miles of the limits of a municipality, see § 357A.2(3), and when the municipality had not waived its rights to provide water service to the area, see § 357A.2(4); (2) Whether Iowa Code section 357A.2(4), as amended by the Iowa legislature in 2014: (a) exempts a rural water district from following notice-of-intent procedures when the area the district seeks to serve is within the district’s boundaries as designated in the county board of supervisors’ resolution creating the water district, and/or (b) otherwise provides the rural water district a legal right to serve such areas when the municipality has not waived its rights. If so, whether the 2014 amendment to section 357A.2(4) had retroactive effect; and (3) Whether an Iowa Code section 504A nonprofit corporation created in 1977 had a legal right to provide water service anywhere within the state of Iowa. If so, whether a section 504A nonprofit corporation that reincorporated (including through articles of dissolution for the section 504A entity) as a section 357A.2 rural water district in 1990 retained the legal right to provide water service anywhere within the state of Iowa (including outside its boundaries as specified in its county board of supervisors resolution and within two miles of a municipality), prior to and following the 1991 amendment to section 357A.2.