by Marty Ryan
We are always on the lookout for issues that may be coming up in the form of a legislative bill. Most people think that the Iowa Legislative Session begins in January and ends when the legislators adjourn for the year, which is known as sine die (Latin meaning go home and don’t come back until next year). Actually, the session may have ended, but the process never stops.
Often, we can predict with some accuracy what sort of proposed legislation we will see in the first month or two of the next session just by keeping up with the Iowa courts. For instance, we know that an opinion by the Iowa Supreme Court that will interpret a statute in a way that sends the case back to the district court will have an effect on prosecutors. The County Attorney Association or the Iowa Attorney General will have a bill introduced that amends the language of that particular statute to comply with what they had thought it meant. Is that good? Sometimes.
On July 18, the Iowa Supreme Court handed down State v. Lyle, a case that nullifies a mandatory minimum sentence for a person who committed a crime as a juvenile. On Wednesday, the Iowa Court of Appeals handed down five cases that we will be looking at over the next few weeks, along with the Lyle case.
We’ll review each case and report on what we anticipate as we move through July and August. However, the Iowa Supreme Court is cleaning its docket, and some of its more interesting cases will be handed down on Fridays from now through mid-August. Another interesting opinion may be substituted for one of those we have planned.
We’ll be blogging about State v. Nadir Topic in a blog later this week or early next week. Nadir Topic agreed to replace some windows in a home owned by a couple in Polk County. He was paid upfront approximately 2/3 of the total cost of replacement. He never bought the windows and a jury found him guilty of second-degree theft by a home improvement contractor. The Iowa Court of Appeals “Reversed” the case and “Remanded” it to the district court in order to enter a judgment of acquittal.
How does this enter into Fawkes-Lee & Ryan’s programs? We’ll tell you in the next blog.