Articles Posted in Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the restitution portion of Defendant's sentence and affirmed the remainder of the sentence, holding that the district court erred in ordering restitution without first conducting the applicable reasonable-ability-to-pay analysis but otherwise did not err. Defendant was convicted and sentenced for domestic abuse assault and second-degree burglary. The Supreme Court remanded the case for resentencing in light of this opinion and the Court's opinion in State v. Albright, __ N.W.2d __ (Iowa 2019), holding (1) the district court did not abuse its discretion by considering the risk assessment tools on their face as contained within the presentence investigation report (PSI); (2) Defendant failed to preserve error on his due process and abuse of discretion claims regarding the court's consideration of the risk assessment tools contained in the PSI; (3) the district court did not abuse its discretion in considering the department of correctional services' sentencing recommendation; (4) the district court did not err in requiring Defendant to pay the court costs associated with dismissed charges; but (5) the district court improperly ordered restitution without first determining Defendant's reasonable ability to pay. View "State v. Headley" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court sustained Defendant's petition for writ of certiorari filed after the district court summarily dismissed Defendant's motion to correct an illegal sentence and denied appointment of counsel, holding that Iowa R. Crim. P. 2.28(1) requires the court to appoint counsel when an indigent defendant files a motion to correct illegal sentence under Iowa R. Crim. P. 2.24(1). Defendant pleaded guilty to third-degree sexual assault. The district court sentenced Defendant to an indefinite term of imprisonment, ordered his placement on the sex offender registry, and imposed a special lifetime sentence pursuant to Iowa Code section 903B.1. After Defendant was discharged from prison, a parole judge revoked Defendant's parole and found him in violation of four parole conditions. The judge ordered Defendant to serve up to five years in prison. Defendant later filed a second motion for correction of an illegal sentence claiming that his lifetime special sentence was unconstitutional. Defendant also filed an application for appointment of counsel. The district court denied Defendant's motions. The Supreme Court sustained Defendant's petition for writ of certiorari, holding (1) Rule 2.28(1) affords a right to counsel on a motion to correct an illegal sentence; and (2) Defendant was entitled to the appointment of counsel. View "Jefferson v. Iowa District Court for Scott County" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court holding that sex offender registration requirements are not punitive and convicting Defendant of failing to report his Internet identifier for a Facebook account he was using under an assumed name, holding that the Internet identifier reporting requirement withstands challenge under the First Amendment and article I, section 7 of the Iowa Constitution. Defendant pleaded guilty to lascivious acts with a child and was placed on the sex offender registry pursuant to Iowa Code chapter 692A. The legislature's 2009 amendment to that statute added the requirement that the offender disclose his Internet identifiers. Defendant was later charged with failing to report his Internet identifier. Defendant argued that the statute, as applied, violated the Free Speech and Ex Post Facto Clauses in the state and federal constitutions. The district court rejected Defendant's constitutional challenges. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Internet identifier reporting requirement of Iowa Code chapter 692A.104(1) is narrowly tailored to serve a significant governmental interest. View "State v. Aschbrenner" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the judgment of the district court convicting and sentencing Defendant for driving while license barred, possession of marijuana, possession with intent to deliver marijuana, and failure to affix a drug tax stamp, holding that there was no error in the proceedings below. Specifically, the Court held (1) the police had reasonable suspicion to conduct a traffic stop of Defendant's vehicle, and therefore, the court was not required to suppress the evidence obtained from the stop; (2) trial counsel was not ineffective for failing to move to suppress evidence before Defendant entered his guilty pleas for driving while license barred and possession of marijuana; (3) the district court had a substantial basis for determining that probable cause existed to support the warrant the police executed on Defendant's residence; and (4) the district court did not abuse its discretion in imposing Defendant's sentence. View "State v. Baker" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment and sentence of conviction of the crime of theft in the second degree, holding that the district court imposed an illegal sentence by requiring Defendant to pay the total court costs in this case. The State charged Defendant by an eight-count trial information with multiple crimes. Pursuant to a plea agreement, Defendant pleaded guilty to one count of theft in the second degree, and the State dismissed the remaining counts. At the sentencing hearing, the district court imposed a sentence and ordered that Defendant pay the court costs of the action, including the court costs associated with the dismissed counts. Defendant appealed, arguing that the district court should have apportioned the court costs to limit his responsibility to pay only those costs associated with the single count that resulted in the conviction. The Supreme Court reversed in part and remanded the case for a determination how the service fees should be apportioned so that no service fees were attributed to the counts dismissed. View "State v. Ruth" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment and sentence of the district court and remanded for resentencing on restitution for court-appointed attorney fees, holding that the amount of court-appointed attorney fees assessed against the defendant must be determined before the sentencing court determines the reasonable amount the defendant is able to pay. Defendant was charged by a trial information of several crimes. Defendant entered into an Alford plea of guilty to the charge of false report of an incendiary explosive device, and the remaining charges were dismissed. The district court sentenced Defendant, suspended the terms of incarceration, and placed Defendant on probation. The court ordered Defendant to pay restitution, including court costs and court-appointed attorney fees. On appeal, Defendant claimed that the district court (1) imposed an illegal sentence by ordering him to pay costs associated with counts of the trial information later dismissed by the State, and (2) erred in assessing court-appointed attorney fees before the amount of the fees was known. The Supreme Court held that the district court (1) did not err in ordering Defendant to pay court costs, but (2) erred in finding that Defendant had the ability to pay attorney fees before the amount had been determined. View "State v. McMurry" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the portion of Defendant’s sentence regarding restitution but affirmed the district court’s decisions revoking Defendant’s deferred judgment and probation and sentencing him to serve a maximum of twenty-five years in prison, holding that the court erred in finding Defendant reasonably able to pay restitution when it did not have the total amount of restitution owed. Specifically, the Court held (1) the district court did not abuse its discretion in revoking Defendant’s deferred judgment and probation; (2) the district court did not err in ordering Defendant to serve the twenty-five-year sentence he would have served had the court not granted a deferred judgment; but (3) the court erred in ordering Defendant to pay restitution without knowing the total amount of restitution owed. View "State v. Covel" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions but vacated certain portions of Defendant’s sentences, holding that the imposition of a surcharge violated the Ex Post Facto Clauses of the state and federal constitutions and that the district court erroneously ordered restitution without determining Defendant’s reasonable ability to pay. Defendant pled guilty to lascivious acts with a child and sexual exploitation of a minor. On appeal, Defendant argued that the district court failed to comply with Iowa R. Crim. P. 2.8(2)(b) in accepting his guilty pleas, did not adequately inquire into an alleged communication breakdown in the attorney-client relationship, violated the Ex Post Facto Clauses by imposing a surcharge, and erred in ordering restitution without first determining his reasonable ability to pay. The Supreme Court held (1) Defendant did not preserve error on his guilty pleas challenge; (2) the record on appeal was insufficient to conduct an ineffective assistance of counsel analysis and to determine whether the district court adequately inquired into the alleged communication breakdown; and (3) the surcharge and restitution were erroneously imposed. View "State v. Petty" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions for willful injury causing bodily injury and kidnapping in the first degree but vacated the restitution portion of the sentencing order and remanded the case to the district court to order restitution in a manner consistent with this opinion, holding that the restitution order did not comply with restitution law. Specifically, the Court held (1) substantial evidence supported Defendant’s conviction for first-degree kidnapping; (2) Defendant was not prejudiced when the court instructed the jury on a lesser included charge of kidnapping in the second degree; (3) this Court cannot reach Defendant’s ineffective assistance of counsel claims; and (4) the lower court’s finding that Defendant had the reasonable ability to pay and ordering restitution for certain items without having the amount of each item of restitution before it was contrary to the statutory scheme as outlined in this opinion. View "State v. Albright" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction of second-degree burglary and reversed the habitual offender judgment and Defendant’s sentence, holding that Defendant’s stipulation to being a habitual offender was not knowingly and voluntarily made. A jury found Defendant guilty of burglary in the second degree. While the jury was in deliberations, Defendant’s counsel informed the court that Defendant would stipulate to predicate priors for the habitual offender charge. The district court sentenced Defendant as a habitual offender to incarceration not to exceed fifteen years and ordered restitution. On appeal, Defendant argued that the district court failed to comply with the requirements set forth in State v. Harrington, 893 N.W.2d 36 (Iowa 2017), in accepting his habitual offender stipulation. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that the stipulation was not knowingly and voluntarily made because the stipulation proceedings did not comply with the Harrington requirements. The Court remanded the case for further proceedings consistent with Harrington. View "State v. Smith" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law