The Ottumwa Courier

Southeast Iowa

June 25, 2014

Appeals court rejects local cases

DES MOINES — The Iowa Court of Appeals released rulings on two area cases Wednesday, siding with the district court on both cases.

The first case was appealed from Appanoose County. Joseph Agan wanted the court to overturn the district court’s decision on his sentencing.

The state’s inmate locator shows Agan currently serving a sentence on drug charges, with a long history of prior convictions.

Agan was, in a sense, appealing the result of an appeal. He had filed a petition for post-conviction relief, which is when someone convicted of a crime seeks correction of errors. Agan giled a “petition alleging illegal sentence” in 2012. The filings included an application for a transcript of court proceedings and an application for Agan’s attorney to withdraw, thus clearing the way for a possible claim of ineffective counsel.

The court rejected the requests and granted the prosecution’s motion to dismiss the petition “for failure to state a claim.”

The court assessed Agan’s petition as a series of complaints about treatment. He felt he should have been offered a plea bargain, as prosecutors did with two co-defendants. Agan criticized the Appanoose County Sheriff’s Department charging him for his incarceration, which resulted in a restitution judgement for more than $13,000. And he questioned whether online mention of his sentences might lead the parole board to think he required more time behind bars than what his sentence said.

The appeals court agreed with the district court judge that Agan “did not raise any claim that would make him eligible for postconviction relief,” nor did it err in denying the motion to withdraw and the motion for a transcript.

The second case comes from Mahaska County, where William Kuba appealed dismissal of his suit against William Penn University.

William Penn hired Kuba beginning with the 2007-2008 academic year. The job had the potential for turning into a tenured position, though that wasn’t guaranteed.

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