Articles Posted in Iowa Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court concluding that challenged portions of Iowa Administrative Code rule 441-78.1(4) violate the Iowa Civil Rights Act (ICRA) and determining that the Iowa Department of Human Services’ (DHS) denial of Medicaid coverage for gender-affirming surgeries was reversible, holding that the rule violates the ICRA’s prohibition against gender-identity discrimination. At issue was the language of rule 441-78.1(4) pertaining to the exclusion of Iowa Medicaid coverage of surgical procedures related to “gender identity disorders” violated the ICRA or the Iowa Constitution’s equal protection clause. The district court concluded that the challenged portions of the rule violated both the ICRA and the Constitution and that the DHS’s denial of Medicaid coverage for gender-affirming surgeries would result in a disproportionate negative impact on private rights and that the decision was unreasonable, arbitrary, and capricious. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) rule 441-78.1(4)’s exclusion of Medicaid coverage for gender-affirming surgery violates the ICRA as amended by the legislature in 2007; and (2) under the doctrine of constitutional avoidance the Court did not address the constitutional claim. View "Good v. Iowa Department of Human Services" on Justia Law

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Upon rehearing in this case involving issues related to an automated traffic enforcement (ATE) system, the Supreme Court concluded that the district court properly granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants, the City of Cedar Rapids and Gatso USA, Inc., holding that Plaintiffs’ challenges to the ATE system were unavailing. The City enacted an ordinance designed to authorize and implement the establishment of an ATE system and contracted that Gatso to install the system. Plaintiffs filed a class-action petition against Defendants claiming, among other things, that the ATE system as implemented violated the equal protection, due process, and privileges and immunities clauses of the Iowa Constitution and that the ordinance as implemented unconstitutionally delegated governmental power to a private entity. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants. The Supreme Court originally affirmed in part and reversed in part and then vacated its earlier opinion and granted the City’s petition for rehearing. On review, the Court held that it relied on an incorrect version of the City’s ATE ordinance in discussing the issue of preemption and then concluded that the district court did not err in granting summary judgment in favor of Defendants. View "Behm v. City of Cedar Rapids" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction of operating while intoxicated (OUI), second offense, holding that Defendant’s rights under Iowa Code 804.20 were not violated when a law enforcement officer denied Defendant’s request to call his wife until after sobriety testing occurred. Defendant was driving a motor vehicle when he was involved in an accident in the midst of a snowstorm. Because of the weather conditions, the law enforcement officer that responded to the scene transported Defendant to a protected location - the sally port of the nearby law enforcement center - for the completion of field sobriety testing. Before leaving the scene, Defendant asked to talk to his wife, but the request was denied. Defendant subsequently failed field sobriety tests. Defendant was later convicted of OUI. Defendant appealed, arguing that his rights were violated because he had been “restrained of his liberty” within the meaning of section 804.20 at the sally port. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Defendant’s rights under section 804.20 were not violated when the officer refused to allow Defendant the opportunity to speak with his wife until after field sobriety testing had been completed at the sally port because the sally port was a location for testing, not a “place of detention” within the meaning of section 804.20. View "State v. Davis" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the decision of the court of appeals finding that there is no legislative authority supporting the use of the Iowa Risk Revised risk assessment tool (IRR) at sentencing and affirmed the decision of the district court, holding that the court’s use of the IRR in sentencing Defendant did not violate his due process rights. Defendant pled guilty to burglary in the second degree as part of a plea agreement. Defendant later violated the conditions of release and pled guilty to the additional charge of interference with official acts. The presentence investigation report stated that the interviewer completed an IRR, which recommended that Defendant be supervised at an intensive level. The district court sentenced Defendant to prison for an indeterminate term, not to exceed ten years plus ninety days in jail, to be served concurrently with the burglary sentence. The court of appeals vacated the sentence. The Supreme Court vacated the court of appeals and affirmed the judgment of the district court, holding (1) the court did not infringe on Defendant’s due process rights based on its use of the IRR at sentencing; and (2) the court did not abuse its discretion by discussing an unproven or unprosecuted offense. View "State v. Guise" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court sentencing Defendant to prison for a maximum of ten years for theft in the first degree, to be served consecutively with five years for theft in the second degree, holding that Defendant failed to preserve his due process claim for direct appeal and that this Court could not reach Defendant’s ineffective assistance of counsel due process claim on direct appeal for the reasons stated in State v. Gordon, __ N.W.2d __ (Iowa 2018), also decided today. On appeal, Defendant argued that the district court violated his due process rights by using an Iowa Risk Revised assessment report (IRR) in sentencing. In the alternative, Defendant argued that the court abused its discretion by considering the IRR without understanding the contours of the IRR. Defendant further asserted an ineffective assistance of counsel claim. The Supreme Court affirmed for the reasons set forth in Gordon. View "State v. Buesing" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the decision of the court of appeals reversing Defendant’s sentence and affirmed the judgment of the district court, holding that Defendant failed to preserve error on his due process claim and that the district court did not use an unproven or unprosecuted offense when it sentenced Defendant. Defendant pled guilty to third-degree sexual abuse. As part of the presentence investigation, Defendant underwent a psychosexual evaluation, resulting in a psychosexual assessment report. The district court ultimately sentenced Defendant to a prison term not to exceed ten years. The court of appeals reversed, holding the the legislature has not deemed sex offender risk assessment tools relevant in imposing prison sentences. The Supreme Court vacated the court of appeals and affirmed the district court’s sentence, holding (1) the district court did not violate Defendant’s due process rights by consideration of and reliance on the sex offender risk assessment tools in imposing its sentence; and (2) the district court did not abuse its discretion by relying on an unproven or unprosecuted offense. View "State v. Gordon" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court denying Appellant’s application for postconviction relief (PCR), holding that Appellant’s requested remand for a new hearing was not available and that Appellant’s claim that his postconviction counsel was ineffective must be brought in a separate application for PCR. In his application for PCR Appellant sought to vacate his conviction based on newly discovered evidence. The district court denied the PCR application and rejected Appellant’s ineffective assistance of counsel claim. On appeal, Appellant argued that the district court improperly dismissed his PCR application because his postconviction counsel failed to present physical evidence at the PCR hearing to support his claim. Therefore, Appellant asked that his PCR application be remanded to the district court for a new hearing. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that no error occurred, that the request made to remand the case failed, and that Appellant must raise his claim of ineffective assistance of postconviction counsel in a separate application for PCR. View "Goode v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed in part the decision of the court of appeals denying Defendant’s ineffective assistance of counsel claim on appeal, holding that the court erred in finding that Defendant waived his ineffective assistance claim by only including a cursory discussion of ineffective assistance in a footnote. Defendant was convicted of drug offenses. On appeal, the court of appeals held (1) there was sufficient evidence to support the convictions, and (2) Defendant failed to preserve error on his ineffective assistance of counsel claim. On further review, the Supreme Court held that the court of appeals erred in rejecting Defendant’s ineffective assistance claim rather than preserving it for a postconviction relief proceeding. The Court then affirmed the judgment of the district court and instructed that Defendant could bring a separate postconviction relief action based on his ineffective assistance of counsel claim. View "State v. Harris" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of operating while intoxicated (OWI), holding that the stop of the van in which Defendant was a passenger violated Iowa Const. art. I, section 8. After responding to a dispatch report of a vehicle in a roadside ditch, officers saw a van pass by on the road. Discovering that the van’s license plate was registered to another member of the same household that the vehicle in the ditch had been registered to, the officers followed the van and pulled it over. The driver of the car that had gone into the ditch was riding as a passenger in the van. That person, Defendant, was convicted of OWI. Defendant appealed the denial of his motion to suppress, arguing that the stop of the van was not permissible under the community caretaking doctrine. The Supreme Court agreed and reversed Defendant’s conviction and sentence, holding that the community caretaking exception did not apply under article I, section 8. View "State v. Smith" on Justia Law

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In this case challenging an automated traffic enforcement (ATE) program implemented by the City of Des Moines and its private contractor, Gatso USA, Inc., the Supreme Court reversed in part and affirmed in part the district court’s judgment, holding that the district court (1) erred in finding that the City’s ATE ordinance violated procedural due process; (2) properly granted Defendants’ motion to dismiss on grounds of preemption; (3) did not err in granting summary judgment to Gatso on Plaintiffs’ unjust enrichment claims; (4) erred in dismissing Plaintiffs’ equal protection, substantive due process, and privileges and immunities claims; and (5) erred in holding that there was no action for damages under the Iowa Constitution. Further, in light of the changed posture of the case, the Supreme Court vacated the district court’s order on unjust enrichment and the order on class certification and remanded for further consideration. View "Weizberg v. City of Des Moines" on Justia Law