Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Missouri Extradition Passes Constitutional Muster

State v. Dentler, no. 06-1905 (Iowa Dec. 7, 2007)

Dentler took a high performance car out for a drive in southern Wayne County. A Wayne County deputy heard the racket and signalled Dentler to stop, but Dentler did not stop until he crossed the state line into Missouri. Missouri officers were summoned, and as the crowd gathered it became obvious that Dentler had consumed a large quantity of adult beverage.

Some discussion ensued, and the end result was that the Missouri deputies said that Wayne County could have Mr. Dentler. Dentler subsequently failed the Datamaster Cdm test and was charged with driving under the influence

Of course, the Missouri deputies had not brought Dentler in front of a Missouri magistrate as was required by that state's fresh pursuit statute. Dentler argued that the evidence obtained should be suppressed because of this lapse, and the district court bought the argument. The State appealed.

On appeal, the Iowa Supreme Court considered the issue and found that although Dentler had not been brought before a Missouri magistrate, his right to due process was not violated because the facts clearly showed that a Missouri magistrate would have found probable cause. The issue then becomes whether violation of the Missouri statute should trigger Iowa's exclusionary rule.

Absent police misconduct, applying the exclusionary rule to a Missouri statute that did not involve fundamental rights or constitutional overtones was mistaken, and the Supreme Court remanded the case for further proceedings.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Be Careful What You Ask For

State v. Harms, no. 06-1703, (Iowa Ct. App. November 29, 2007).

This case is a homily on the old adage that you have to be careful of what you wish for, because you might just get it-and the other adage that it's best to steer clear of unintended consequences and keep your fingers in your ears when the jailhouse lawyers start rendering advice.

Harms was charged with one count of Theft-1st degree, and there was a negotiated plea to a single count of second degree theft. Prior to sentencing, Harm filed a motion in arrest of judgment alleging that there was no factual basis for his plea and his attorney was ineffective.

The motion was granted and the case was dismissed without prejudice. So far, so good.

Then, those wild and crazy guys and gals over at the Polk County Attorney filed an amended trial information, charging Harms with ten counts of Theft-first degree.

Harms pled guilty to two counts of theft first degree and was sentenced to two consecutive terms of incarceration for his trouble.

Now. That legal advice from the jail really helped a lot, didn't it?

And then, of course, there was that pesky vehicular homicide case from Webster County to consider.