The Ottumwa Courier

AP Iowa

April 16, 2014

Court: Man can seek office despite conviction

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A split Iowa Supreme Court issued a ruling Tuesday that allows a Des Moines man to run for state Senate and affirms that second-offense drunken driving is not an infamous crime as defined by the Iowa Constitution.

The opinion reverses the long-standing approach that a crime carrying a prison sentence is an infamous crime. Instead of taking the next step in drawing a clear definition, the court in a 5-1 ruling said it need not precisely define infamous crime now. The court did say however, that it would "be prudent for us to develop a more precise test that distinguishes between felony crimes and infamous crimes" in a future case.

The case arose from a Democratic primary battle between Anthony Bisignano and Ned Chiodo, both former lawmakers, who are seeking the Des Moines-area Senate seat Jack Hatch is vacating to run for governor.

Chiodo challenged Bisignano's candidacy on the theory that since Bisignano has been convicted of second-offense drunken driving, an aggravated misdemeanor in Iowa, he should be disqualified from running for office or voting.

At issue was whether an aggravated misdemeanor falls under the Iowa Constitution's definition of an infamous crime, which would mean Bisignano cannot vote or hold public office.

Chiodo's attorney, Gary Dickey, based his argument on a constitutional article that says a person convicted of an infamous crime shall not be entitled to the privilege of an elector.

The problem is the Iowa Constitution doesn't define infamous crime, and courts over the last 100 years have construed it to mean anything resulting in a prison sentence. The Legislature revised the criminal code in the 1970s, requiring prison time in some circumstances for individuals convicted of aggravated misdemeanors.

Bisignano did not serve prison time. He was sentenced to seven days in jail and probation.

Text Only
AP Iowa
  • Southeast Iowa's Lake Darling State Park reopens BRIGHTON, Iowa (AP) — Lake Darling State Park has reopened after around six years of restoration work in southeast Iowa's Washington County. The $16 million project began in 2008 and included draining the 300-acre lake and replacing a dam. The park n

    July 25, 2014

  • University of Iowa bans restroom videos suspect IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — University of Iowa police have identified a university employee as the person suspected of placing a video camera on the floor of a restroom and recording scenes there. The camera was found June 4 in the University Capitol Cent

    July 25, 2014

  • Iowa panel sued for rejecting Cedar Rapids casino CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — Former Linn County Attorney Eugene Kopecky has sued the Iowa Racing Gaming Commission over its rejection of the proposed Cedar Rapids casino. Kopecky says he wants a court to force the commission to reconsider its decision a

    July 25, 2014

  • Manure odor biofilters topic of Iowa conference AMES, Iowa (AP) — The latest technology designed to reduce the odor from hog manure will be the focus of a conference next month at Iowa State University. The Biofilter Conference on Aug. 20 is aimed at producers and managers of animal feeding operat

    July 25, 2014

  • Northwest Iowa man dies in hay bale accident WESTFIELD, Iowa (AP) — A northwest Iowa man has died after being hit with a hay bale. The Le Mars Daily Sentinel reports (http://bit.ly/1lyRu37 ) 76-year-old Barry E. Knapp, of Westfield, died Tuesday while stacking hay bales. The Plymouth County She

    July 24, 2014

  • Hearing set for Iowan held as deaths case witness AKRON, Iowa (AP) — A detention hearing has been scheduled Aug. 4 for a 44-year-old man held as a material witness in the deaths of an elderly couple. The man has been held since he was taken into custody in La Crosse, Wisconsin, on July 10, the day a

    July 24, 2014

  • Five charged after eastern Iowa police chase SOLON, Iowa (AP) — A two-county police chase in eastern Iowa has ended in the backyard of a house in Solon. Deputies say two teenagers and three men from Cedar Rapids were taken into custody Wednesday night. They face a variety of charges. The five w

    July 24, 2014

  • 2012 fatal boat pilot offers insurance money DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A man facing lawsuits involving a jon boat crash that killed four people and injured six others on the Mississippi River in 2012 has agreed to hand over $300,000 from an insurance policy, but he wants a judge to absolve him of

    July 24, 2014

  • Spontaneous combustion causes Cedar Rapids fire CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — Cedar Rapids fire officials say a fire at a local bar was caused by spontaneous combustion of rags and towels containing animal fat. An early morning fire Wednesday at the Chrome Horse Saloon and Slop House damaged the first

    July 24, 2014

  • Fired Iowa editor claims religious discrimination NEWTON (AP) — The former editor of the Newton Daily News has filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claiming he was fired for expressing his religious beliefs.In the complaint filed Wednesday, Bob Eschliman claimed re

    July 24, 2014

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National