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Case No. 17-1075

State of Iowa
Kenneth Leroy Heard

The State seeks further review after the court of appeals reversed the defendant’s first-degree murder conviction and remanded for a new trial. The court of appeals found the defendant’s right to compulsory process was violated when the trial court accepted a witness’s assertion of Fifth Amendment privilege as to the entire subject matter of the trial. The State contends the witness’s blanket assertion of Fifth Amendment privilege was proper. The State further contends the defendant is categorically prohibited from calling a witness for the sole purpose of raising an inference from the witness’s invocation of the privilege.

Trial Court Case No.:


State of Iowa


Kenneth Leroy Heard

Attorney for the Applicant

Louis S. Sloven

Attorney for the Resister

Gary Dickey

Supreme Court

Oral Argument Schedule


Sep 19, 2019 9:00 AM Iowa Supreme Court


Supreme Court Opinion

Opinion Number:
Date Published:
Oct 11, 2019
Date Amended:
Dec 20, 2019

Court of Appeals

Court of Appeals Opinion

Opinion Number:
Date Published:
Jan 09, 2019

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Robert Blink, Judge.  REVERSED AND REMANDED.  Heard by Potterfield, P.J., Doyle, J., and Danilson, S.J.  Opinion by Potterfield, P.J.  (10 pages)

            Kenneth Heard appeals from his conviction for murder in the first degree.  Heard argues the district court erred in denying his motion to compel testimony from a witness, his sentence is illegal because the jury did not specifically find him to be over eighteen at the time of the offense, and the district court erred in denying his motion for a new trial because the jury verdict went against the weight of the evidence.  OPINION HOLDS: The district court violated Heard’s right to compulsory process when it failed to determine the extent or validity of a witness’s assertion of his Fifth Amendment privilege. 

Other Information

Date Further Review is Granted:
Mar 28, 2019
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