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Felonies Archives

Restoration of voting rights in jeopardy after Iowa ruling

Earlier this year, we covered a major issue in the world of criminal rights: voters' rights restoration. Many states, including Iowa, revoke a person's right to vote if he or she is convicted a felony. Although the current governor has taken a hard line against restoring the ability of many to vote, a recent state supreme court ruling has potential to move things in a different direction.

Feds call on Iowa to lift voting policy for felons

Readers probably know that being charged with a felony should always be taken seriously. In addition to the very real possibility of being sentenced to time behind bars, those who are convicted of a felony may lose certain privileges. Iowa law imposes a voting ban for anyone serving on felony charges.

Man pleads not guilty in case of 1997 Iowa City murder

Criminal charges often have a statute of limitations attached to them. This means that there are time constraints for when charges can be filed. However, other types of charges do not include a statute of limitations, including murder. As a result, a person can face charges no matter how many years ago the purported crime occurred.

Police: Iowa City 21-only ordinance cut felonies, alcohol crimes

With a referendum on Iowa City’s 21-only ordinance coming up in November, the police just released data indicating a number of crimes have dropped since the ordinance was first passed. An earlier repeal effort was only narrowly defeated, and organizers hope support from the police and city council will firmly settle the issue.

Special prosecutor: Sorenson may have made felony misstatements

Even after his resignation on Wednesday after the Iowa Senate Ethics Committee special prosecutor filed his report, former State Senator Kent Sorenson could still face legal repercussions from allegations that he accepted money from U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign. The special prosecutor’s report determined there was probable cause to believe that he knowingly made misstatements about the money, which could result in felony charges.

Court strikes down Barry Bonds' obstruction of justice appeal

Back in 2003, baseball great Barry Bonds was given immunity from prosecution in exchange for his agreement to testify before a grand jury. The case came after a raid of a steroid manufacturer called the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, or BALCO, by federal agents. Bonds was to testify about his knowledge of BALCO and a professional trainer the government said had provided steroids to Bonds and a number of other professional athletes.

Juvenile felony life sentences ruled unconstitutional in Iowa

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Miller v. Alabama that mandatory sentences of life without the possibility of parole are unconstitutional for juvenile offenders. That was a challenge for Iowa, which had until then required that anyone convicted of first-degree murder -- juvenile or adult -- be given that sentence. In response to the ruling, Governor Terry Branstad immediately used his commutation power to change the sentences of 38 such juvenile offenders to allow parole -- but only after they had served 60 years behind bars.

8th Circuit: yard sign may 'invite' police to search your home

In a somewhat surprising ruling, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, which includes Iowa, recently held that an otherwise unlawful police search was legal because the defendant had a “for sale” sign on his lawn. A Kansas City man has now been convicted of illegally possessing a shotgun after a felony conviction -- all because he wanted to sell a motorcycle.

Criminal charges can have far-reaching consequences

Iowa City readers may be aware that undocumented or unauthorized immigrants charged with certain criminal offenses might also find themselves in a deportation proceeding -- regardless of whether those criminal allegations result in a conviction or prove unfounded.

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