OTTUMWA — The rights of an Ottumwa man found guilty of attempted murder and other charges by a jury were not violated, a court ruled Wednesday.

Joseph Benjamin Dobbe, 42, of Ottumwa, argued to the Iowa Court of Appeals that the district court should have dismissed the case against him due to a missed deadline and that he had ineffective counsel.

Dobbe was found guilty by a jury in 2019 of attempted murder, willful injury, assault while participating in a felony, domestic abuse assault with intent to inflict serious injury and domestic assault causing bodily injury.

He was charged in 2018 after a violent confrontation between him and his girlfriend.

According to court filings, Dobbe struck his girlfriend in the head and threw her to the floor. The girlfriend left the home on foot, and Dobbe followed her in his van. He drove his van over the curb and struck her with the van, then left the scene.

He went to his mother's home, where he held a gun to himself for several hours, according to court documents. He then took medication, which made him sick, and authorities apprehended him. He was transported to a Des Moines hospital for emergency care.

The arrest  occurred on April 20, 2018. The next day, he was released from the hospital and taken to the Polk County Jail. On April 22, 2018, the district court in Polk County entered an order for Dobbe to be held for the Wapello County Sheriff.

Dobbe was served by the Wapello County Sheriff's Office with an arrest warrant on April 23, 2018, and taken for his initial appearance.

Trial information, the document that formally charged a defendant with a crime, was filed on June 6, 2018.

Dobbe's counsel asked the district court to toss the case, citing a speedy indictment rule that requires formal charges within 45 days. They argued the clock began on April 20, 2018.

The appeals court concurred with the district court's ruling that an arrest is not complete until the initial appearance is completed. Therefore, the clock would begin on April 23, 2018, and thus the trial information was timely filed.

On his other claim for appeal, the court ruled that Dobbe's counsel was not ineffective. Dobbe argued that his lawyers should have objected to some jury instructions. However, the appeals court ruled there was no reason for Dobbe's lawyers to move for a new trial based on the jury instructions.

Dobbe was sentenced to a total of 25 years in prison on the charges.

Kyle Ocker is the group editor of the Ottumwa Courier and the Oskaloosa Herald. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @Kyle_Ocker.


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Kyle Ocker is a Centerville native and award-winning multimedia journalist. Kyle is currently the first vice president of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council and vice president of the Iowa Print Sports Writers Association.

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