from the Iowa District Court for Warren County, Kevin A.
Parker, District Associate Judge.
defendant appeals from the district court's denial of his
application for an investigator and an expert witness.
REVERSED AND REMANDED.
M. Pope of Branstad Law, P.L.L.C., Des Moines, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Louis S. Sloven, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Potterfield and Mullins, JJ.
Tate appeals following the district court's denial of his
application for a court-appointed investigator and an expert
witness. Tate claims the district court erred by denying his
application without an ex parte hearing as provided under
State v. Dahl, 874 N.W.2d 348, 353 (Iowa 2016).
Background Facts and Proceedings
28, 2016, the State charged Tate with operating while
intoxicated. See Iowa Code § 321J.2 (2016). On
September 9, Tate filed an application for a court-appointed
investigator, stating, "Defendant requests appointment
of a court-appointed investigator in this matter, and
requests private investigator Scott Gratias be appointed with
a fee limit of $800.00. An investigator is needed for the
purpose of obtaining witness statements and obtaining other
exculpatory information." The State did not file a
resistance, but the court held an unreported hearing on the
application on September 20. That same day, the court filed
an order summarily denying Tate's application with no
explanation given for the denial.
days later, Tate filed a second application for a
court-appointed investigator and an expert witness "in
order to locate additional evidence, and to review the
evidence the State possesses." In addition, Tate asked
for the application to be filed "ex parte and under
seal" and cited the supreme court's recent decision
in Dahl. An hour after the second application was
filed, the court summarily denied Tate's second
application. Again, the State filed no resistance to the
October 13, Tate filed a motion to enlarge, amend, and
reconsider the previous denials along with a motion to submit
an offer of proof ex parte and under seal. Again citing
Dahl, Tate asserted an investigator was needed to
speak with witnesses and an expert was needed to testify
regarding the field sobriety tests administered and the
metabolization of alcohol. In a separate motion, Tate
indicated his need to file an offer of proof to support his
application ex parte and under seal to provide the court
facts to support his need for investigative services. The
court summarily denied both motions the following day without
a resistance from the State.
November 11, Tate filed an application for discretionary
review of the decisions of the district court. Specifically,
Tate alleges the court erred when it denied him an ex parte
hearing according to Dahl protocol. The application
was granted, and the matter was transferred to this court.
Scope and Standard of Review
review the trial court's decision whether to grant a
defendant's application for state-funded investigators or
experts for an abuse of discretion. See Johnson v.
State, 860 N.W.2d 913, 921 (Iowa Ct. App. ...