Iowa Appellate Lawyers: How to Appeal Your Iowa Conviction

Iowa Supreme Court of Appeals


Criminal appeals can be complicated business. Choosing a lawyer with appellate experience is important. An appeal is not a retrial. There are no hearings, no juries and no new evidence. An appeal is merely an opportunity for a higher court to correct any legal errors which may have occurred in the trial court. Iowa has two courts of appeals:

The Iowa Court of Appeals is an intermediate appellate court. This means every decision of the Iowa Court of Appeals is reviewable by the Iowa Supreme Court.


All appeals originate in the Iowa Supreme Court. To appeal an Iowa conviction you must file a notice of appeal with the Iowa Supreme Court no more than 30 days after sentencing. After this notice is filed, a certificate, stating among other things the issues presented for appeal, must be filed. The Iowa Supreme Court then sets a briefing schedule. The party appealing submits the first appellate brief. Then, the non-appealing party files their brief. Finally, the appealing party may file a rebuttal brief. Appellate briefs are subject to strict formatting, length and content requirements. The briefs are based on the “record” (transcripts and evidence from the trial court) and any caselaw or other authorities cited in support of a party’s argument.


Appellate work is totally different from trial work. It requires a keen knowledge of existing caselaw and an ability to discern error from nothing but paper transcripts. It is tedious and time consuming. Appeals are often a client’s last line of defense so a good appellate lawyer is seriously important. At Stowers & Sarcone, PLC we pride ourselves on performing  high quality appellate work. We often achieve successful appellate outcomes, though each case is unique and results are not guaranteed. You can view summaries of some of our most successful appeals here.  You can also watch video of Nick and Dean at the Iowa Supreme Court by clicking on our names in this sentence.

If you or a loved one need an appellate lawyer call Stowers & Sarcone, PLC now! 515.224.7446.

Interdiction Case Win at the Iowa Court of Appeals

win court appeals interdiction case

Today, the Iowa Court of Appeals released its opinion in State v. Campbell. Dean Stowers of our firm, Stowers & Sarcone, PLC, argued this case in the District Court and the Iowa Court of Appeals.

The Iowa State Patrol stopped Mr. Campbell on Interstate 80 in Adair County. The alleged reason for the stop –  speeding. However, the Patrol had ulterior motives. The Troopers engaged in a suspicionless, drug interdiction investigation during the traffic stop. Invasive questioning totally unrelated to the actual reason for the traffic stop (speeding) is the hallmark of a drug interdiction investigation. Questions center on travel plans, cost of travel, personal history and characteristics, etc. The police use these questions to generate allegedly inconsistent statements. Inconsistencies allegedly indicate criminal activity. At that point the police search the vehicle, run a drug dog, etc.

Recent decisions of the  United States Supreme Court  (Rodriguez) and the Iowa Supreme Court have helped curb this practice. Though, not all police agencies have accepted these new limits. Iowa’s seminal case is another Stowers & Sarcone, PLC victory – In The Matter of Property Seized from Pardee. Today’s case is the latest in a series of successful interdiction appeals which includes State v. Hanrahan.

In today’s case, the Iowa Court of Appeals relied on the decisions in Rodriguez and Pardee to hold that the Trooper’s unrelated interdiction investigation unconstitutionally prolonged the stop beyond what was necessary to complete the stop’s mission; writing a speed citation. Therefore, the Trooper’s actions violated the 4th Amendment and Article 1 Section 8 (Iowa Constitution) prohibition on unreasonable seizures.

In the District Court Campbell was convicted of possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Today’s ruling vacates his sentence and reverses his conviction. We anticipate the case will be dismissed by the trial court in the near future due to a lack of admissible evidence.

Congratulations to Dean and the team at Stowers & Sarcone, PLC. If you or a loved one are stopped and subjected to an invasive, unconstitutional interdiction investigation, call us today! 515.224.7446

Eddie Tipton Iowa Supreme Court Argument

On Monday February 13, 2017, the Iowa Supreme Court will hold a special 7 o’clock evening session  due to the significant media interest in the case of State of Iowa v. Eddie Tipton. Dean Stowers will be arguing on behalf of Eddie Tipton.

Information about the argument and case briefs can be found here. The argument is open to the public. The Supreme Court Building is located at 1111 E. Court Ave. Des Moines, Iowa. The argument will also be streamed online.

Please watch Dean Stowers of Stowers & Sarcone, PLC as he advocates for our client, Eddie Tipton!