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Oakley v. State

Court of Appeal of Iowa

September 18, 2013

KENNETH OAKLEY, Applicant-Appellant,
v.
STATE OF IOWA, Respondent-Appellee.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Robert A. Hutchison, Judge.

A postconviction relief applicant asks us to decide whether an administrative parole judge has a constitutional obligation to inform a parolee of a statutory right to call witnesses at a parole revocation hearing.

Jonah Hammer Dyer of JHD Law, Des Moines, for appellant.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Tyler J. Buller, Assistant Attorney General, John P. Sarcone, County Attorney, and Stephanie Cox, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee State.

Considered by Eisenhauer, C.J., and Vaitheswaran and Doyle, JJ.

VAITHESWARAN, J.

Kenneth Oakley asks us to decide whether an administrative parole judge has a constitutional obligation to inform a parolee of a statutory right to call witnesses at a parole revocation hearing.

I. Background Proceedings

Kenneth Oakley was on parole for a felony when he was charged with child endangerment as well as domestic abuse assault causing bodily injury. The board of parole issued a parole violation report alleging a breach of his obligation to obey all laws and ordinances.

Oakley's girlfriend subsequently recanted her complaint of domestic abuse, and the State elected not to prosecute Oakley. Nonetheless, the parole board proceeded with a parole revocation hearing grounded on those charges. In doing so, the administrative parole judge explained that a parole violation only had to be proven by a preponderance of the evidence, whereas the criminal complaint required proof by the higher "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard.

Oakley chose to represent himself at the parole revocation hearing. Following the hearing, the administrative parole judge revoked his parole. That decision was affirmed on intra-agency appeal.

Oakley filed a postconviction relief application challenging the probation revocation decision. The district court held an evidentiary hearing at which Oakley asserted the administrative parole judge deprived him of due process by failing to inform him of his "right to present evidence in the form of witnesses to support his claim that he did absolutely nothing wrong." The district court rejected this assertion, reasoning as follows:

Applicant has cited no authority in support of such proposition, and the Court is aware of none. Applicant clearly understood his statutory and constitutional right to present evidence on his own behalf as he did so during the hearing. His complaint now appears to be that he would have called the alleged victim of the domestic abuse incident in person at the parole violation hearing, instead of presenting only her affidavit and the dismissal of the domestic abuse charge, if only the APJ had advised him personally of his right to call witnesses on his own behalf. The Court concludes that the APJ had no legal duty to advise Applicant of ...

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