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State v. Stanton

Court of Appeals of Iowa

October 11, 2017

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
TYWON STANTON, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Johnson County, Lars G. Anderson, Judge.

         Defendant appeals the district court decision denying his motion to quash the garnishment of funds held by the State. AFFIRMED.

          John W. Bruzek and Julia C. Zalenski, Assistant State Public Defenders, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Linda J. Hines, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Doyle and Bower, JJ.

          BOWER, Judge.

         Tywon Stanton appeals the district court decision denying his motion to quash the garnishment of funds held by the State. To the extent Stanton is arguing the district court should have granted his motion to return seized property, the district court granted the motion. We find the district court did not err in concluding the State could proceed with garnishment proceedings, although the funds were held by the State as seized property at the time the garnishment proceedings were initiated. Other issues raised by Stanton have not been preserved for our review. We affirm the decision of the district court.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings

         On April 22, 2015, Stanton was charged with burglary in the third degree in Johnson County, in violation of Iowa Code section 713.6A(1) (2015), for taking cell phones from a business. When Stanton was arrested, he was in possession of $6900, which the State seized. Stanton pled guilty to the charge. He was sentenced to a term of imprisonment not to exceed five years. The sentence was suspended, and Stanton was placed on probation. Of the amount seized, $1825 was applied to fines and restitution in the third-degree burglary case.

         Stanton filed a motion on December 15, 2015, for the return of seized property, pursuant to section 809.3.[1] He claimed the State was improperly keeping the funds seized at the time he was arrested. At a hearing on January 13, 2016, the State agreed $2685.31 held by the Iowa City Police Department should be returned to Stanton. An order returning the money to Stanton was entered.

         The State then filed a general execution seeking to collect the amount of $2389.69 for unpaid judgments against Stanton based on previous criminal charges. The State filed a notice of garnishment, seeking to collect $2389.69 held by the Iowa City Police Department from the $6900 seized in April 2015.

         At a hearing on January 29, 2016, the State agreed it was not making any claim under chapter 809 for the remaining balance of the $6900. The district court granted the motion for return of seized property but stated its ruling did not address the separate issue of whether the State could garnish the funds.

         On February 13, 2016, the court determined the State could pursue garnishment of the money. The court stated, "The fact the monies the State seeks to garnish were subject to proceedings under Chapter 809 of the Iowa Code at the time the garnishment was instituted does not bar garnishment proceedings by the State."[2]

         Stanton filed a motion to quash the garnishment. He claimed he was a professional gambler and the cash represented amounts he won, which he asserted were the same as earnings, and should therefore be exempt from garnishment under Iowa Code section 642.21 and 15 U.S.C. § 1672(a). The court entered an order on September 8, 2016, denying the motion to quash. The court found, "Defendant's gambling proceeds [are] not subject to the exemption applicable to earnings under either State or Federal Law." The court stated, "Gambling winnings are not compensation paid ...


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