GRL Law’s 15 Years of Appellate Advocacy

Iowa Supreme Court

At GRL Law, we are preparing to argue yet another case before the Iowa Supreme Court next month in State v. Sewell.  The case involves law enforcement’s attempts to record phone conversations between arrested persons and their attorneys while at the jail.  As we prepare to argue Sewell, we also  eagerly await two pending decisions in State v. Kilby and State v. Wright.  Both of these cases involve significant issues related to the privacy and constitutional rights of Iowans.

Looking back over the years, this year marks the 15th year of GRL Law’s zealous appellate advocacy.  In total, GRL Law has argued 22 cases before the Iowa Supreme Court and 70 cases before the Iowa Court of Appeals.  Here are the highlights of the cases we have successfully argued before Iowa’s highest court.

  • 2008 – State v. Massengale – Due Process of Law required law enforcement to properly advise individuals arrested for operating while intoxicated of the impact that their breath testing decision would have on their commercial drivers license.
  • 2009 – State v. Harris – Law enforcement was not permitted to perform a warrantless compelled blood withdrawal of a suspect when they are not faces with an emergency situation in which the time required to obtain a search warrant threatened the destruction of intoxication evidence.
  • 2012 – State v. Kurth – The “community caretaking” exception to the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment did not permit an officer to stop a vehicle without objective evidence establishing an emergency situation necessitating immediate law enforcement intervention.
  • 2013 – State v. Washington – A sentencing judge may not improperly penalize a defendant for invoking his right against self-incrimination when the sentencing judge attempts to question him regarding other suspected criminal activity.
  • 2014 – State v. Hellstern – Law enforcement may not deny an arrested person’s request for attorney-client privilege during a telephone call with his attorney without also advising the arrestee of his right to a private and confidential consultation with an attorney if the consultation occurred in-person.
  • 2016 – Winger v. CM Holdings, LLC – A violation of a city building code may be used as evidence of negligence as a matter of law in a wrongful death lawsuit.
  • 2017 – State v. Downey – A defendant’s false answers to unauthorized questions on an application to acquire a weapon permit could not serve as a basis for a criminal conviction for making a false statement on an application to acquire a weapons permit.
  • 2017 – State v. Pettijohn – Warrantless administration of a breath test on an individual arrested on suspicion of operating a boat while intoxicated violated the Iowa Constitution because impermissible threats of adverse consequences for refusing the test were made prior to the individual’s submission to the test.
  • 2018 – State v. Smith – When a police officer stop a vehicle to investigate a crime, he is not engaging in a bona fide community caretaking activity, and thus the community caretaking exception to the warrant requirement will not justify the warrantless stop of the vehicle.

GRL Law’s success in front of the Iowa Supreme Court and Iowa Court of Appeals is attributable to our relentless mindset.  When we are convinced that injustice has been done, we refuse to stop until all legal avenues have been exhausted.  It is with this mindset that we continue to tirelessly advocate for justice on behalf of all those we represent.  We look forward to what the future brings and how we will be able to protect and positively shape the rights of all Iowans.  We care.  We fight.  You win.