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Below are some of the larger, more complicated cases I have handled. I believe you will find my various legal experiences as an elected County Attorney and private practice attorney provide me a unique insight into assisting clients with all areas of criminal defense, child and family issues, and handling cases involving government or fighting against a business entity.

Click on the case name to read the appellate court decisions or articles about the case.

Criminal Litigation

State v. Mitchell

Type of case: Criminal Sexual Conduct – 3rd Degree, multiple charges of an adult having sexual penetration with a minor and forcing sexual penetration.

My role: I represented the Defendant through pre-trial hearings when I was a Contract Public Defender for Dakota County, Minnesota. After state budget cuts, many Public Defender contracts were ended, including mine. Sue Flinsch, Esq., a full-time Public Defender and former head attorney for the City of Saint Paul, was assigned the case.

At issue: The Defendant firmly contended the alleged victim lied about her age, claiming to be older than 16-years-old, which negated one facet of the charges. The Defendant also contended he did not force himself on the alleged victim and that all sexual penetration was consensual, which negated the other charge.

Results: During pre-trial hearings I raised the defense as to mistake of age and the defense of consensual penetration, which the court did allow at trial. I also prevented some statements made by the Defendant from being used against him at trial because law enforcement did not read his right to remain silent. Sue Flinsch, Esq., handled the trial and obtained a not guilty verdict on all counts.

State v. Hatcher

Type of case: Methamphetamine Manufacturing while in Possession of an Offensive Weapon, Delivery of Methamphetamine, Possession of Methamphetamine, Manufacturing Marijuana while in Possession of an Offensive Weapon, Unlawful Possession of Explosive Materials.

My role: I was prosecuting attorney for a 3-day Jury Trial and a pre-trial Motion to Suppress evidence filed by opposing counsel.

At issue: A confidential informant voluntarily came to law enforcement and wanted out of the drug scene. During a sting operation the defendant was arrested and a search warrant executed. The evidence seized included numerous weapons and explosive materials, night vision goggles, an altered tank with anhydrous ammonia hanging from a tree, 2-liter bottles containing ether in a meat freezer, altered gas cans, muriatic acid, scales, baggies, and marijuana growing above the kitchen sink.

Results: The conviction on all counts after a 3-day Jury Trial was upheld by the Iowa Court of Appeals.

State v. Williams

Type of case: Burglary—2nd Degree, Kidnapping—1st Degree, Domestic Assault with a Dangerous Weapon.

My role: I was the prosecuting attorney for 3-day Jury Trial, 2-day Post-Conviction Relief Trial, and over 10 pre-trial motions filed by opposing counsel.

At issue: A husband violated a no contact order protecting his wife for which he was charged for burglarizing his own home. The husband loaded a shotgun and placed it to his wife’s head. The husband chased his wife after she fled the house and ran her off a road with a vehicle. The wife sustained multiple injuries. Their children were in the home during most of the incident.

Results: The 3-day Jury Trial produced a conviction for Burglary-2nd Degree, Domestic Assault with a Dangerous Weapon, and False Imprisonment, a lesser included offense of Kidnapping. The conviction was upheld by the Iowa Court of Appeals and the District Court at the Post-Conviction Relief Trial. I won many of the pre-trial motions to admit evidence of the husband’s statements, the seized shotgun, letters the husband had delivered through his sister and mother to his wife asking her to recant her story, and many pictures of physical injuries.

State v. Wolfe

Type of case: Sexual Assault by an adult male of two teenage girls on multiple occasions.

My role: I was the prosecuting attorney before the Grand Jury, a 3-day Jury Trial, and various pre-trial motions filed by opposing counsel.

At issue: The only evidence in this case was the word of two teenage girls. There were no physical injuries. The claims made were multiple incidents of sexual fondling by an adult male who was the live-in boyfriend of a mother to one of the girls.

Results: After a 3-day Jury Trial the defendant was convicted on two counts of a multi-count Grand Jury Indictment. This decision was upheld by the Iowa Court of Appeals.

State v. Washington

Type of case: Escape from Custody and Fleeing the State to Avoid Prosecution.

My role: I was Special Prosecutor for a neighboring county in a 2-day Jury Trial.

At Issue: At issue: The defendant was ordered by the Chief District Court Judge to wait for a sheriff’s deputy to transport him to prison. When the defendant was left alone he fled the courthouse and traveled from Iowa to Arizona. My witnesses were a neighboring Assistant Prosecutor, the first defense attorney, the neighboring County Sheriff, the court reporter, and the Chief District Court Judge.

Results: The 2-day Jury Trial resulted in a conviction that was upheld by the Iowa Court of Appeals.

State v. Karasev

Type of case: Boating While Intoxicated and Speeding.

My role: I represented the Defendant in the Minnesota District Court for Hennepin County.

At issue: The Defendant was boating on Lake Minnetonka when he was pulled over at dusk for speeding. Law enforcement officers smelled alcohol and performed limited field sobriety test. Eventually the Defendant was taken to the police station where his breath test indicated he was above the legal limit.

Results: All charges were dismissed by negotiation with the prosecutor. I raised the issue of law enforcement lacking probable cause to stop my client as the sunset had not yet occurred, therefore, my client’s speed was still proper under Lake Minnetonka ordinance. This put all evidence of my client’s intoxication at issue with the possibility the court would not allow it at trial. Also, I raised the issue that law enforcement did not complete all standard field sobriety testing.

Custody and Family Law

Hasslen v. Hasslen

Type of case: Dissolution of marriage appeal on contested child custody and property division.

My role: I was attorney for the Respondent on Appeal.

At issue: Custody of a child that did not want to reside with the court ordered custodial parent and the custody of a special needs child, plus child support, was contested. Property division including a marital homestead with multiple encumbrances, retirement pensions, vehicles and personal property was also contested.

Results: Respondent’s favorable trial outcome was affirmed by the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

In re the Interests of C.M.

Type of case: Termination of Parental Rights.

My role: I was the attorney for the Department of Human Services.

At issue: The mother contested terminating her parental rights. The father consented to the termination and cooperated with the case. Many expert witnesses, therapists, counselors, and social workers testified in this case.

Results: The termination of parental rights of the child was upheld by the Iowa Court of Appeals.

Local Government

Humboldt County Election Redistricting 2001

– Redistricting Editorial (click to view PDF)

– Redistricting Editorial 2 (click to view PDF)

– Redistricting Editorial 10/11 (click to view PDF)

– Redistricting Editorial 10/18 (click to view PDF)

Type of case: County Board of Supervisors wanted to deny an election redistricting plan submitted by the election redistricting committee that complied with case law on population distribution.

My role: I advised the Board of Supervisors and investigated public corruption.

At issue: I discovered three of five Supervisors meeting with the County Auditor without public notice as they were drawing a new election redistricting map. This meeting was in violation of the Iowa Open Meetings Law. There was much heated political debate at many public meetings. The plan submitted by the three Supervisors that broke the Open Meetings Law would have allowed the City of Humboldt to control 75% of the votes on the Board of Supervisors in the next election, while the City of Humboldt only had 40% of the county-wide population. Each of these Supervisors had districts that were in the Humboldt city limits and each was running for re-election. This could have disenfranchised 60% of the voting public in Humboldt County, and this is similar to how the election districts in Humboldt County were drawn for many years.

Results: After multiple votes the Supervisors finally changed their stance to approve the correct election redistricting plan that I had advised them to adopt and the Iowa Secretary of State adopted this plan over a plan previously submitted by the Humboldt City Council.

Humboldt County Hog Lot Ordinances 2002

Type of case:  The County Board of Supervisors wanted to approve the County Board of Health recommendation that there be restrictions on hog confinements stronger than the state standards.

My role: Advising the Supervisors on the propriety of the Board of Health’s requested restrictions.

At issue: Before my time as County Attorney, Humboldt County had been the first Iowa county to promote agricultural ordinances that were more restrictive than the state laws. The Supervisors were advised not to enact these previous ordinances but hired an outside law firm for over $100,000 to enact the ordinances only to loose on appeal in the Iowa Supreme Court. There were many public meetings with raised voices when this issue was revisited, which involved various citizen action groups and agricultural producers.

Results: The Supervisors changed their initial stance and voted against the Board of Health recommendations based on my advice. An Iowa District Court later issued a judicial opinion that supported the advice I gave. I saved the county much litigation time and expense as the previous Board of Supervisors had previously spent over $100,000 in legal fees to loose in the Iowa Supreme Court on a similar hog lot issue.

General practice including but not limited to trial, appeals and negotiations of legal matters dealing in all areas of criminal law and drunk driving, custody and family law, accidents and personal injury, and local government and politics.

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