from the Iowa District Court for Dickinson County, David C.
Larson, District Associate Judge.
defendant challenges the order requiring him to pay costs
associated with dismissed charges.
A. Wingert of Wingert Law Office, Spirit Lake, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kevin Cmelik, Israel J.
Kodiaga, and Kelli A. Huser (until withdrawal), Assistant
Attorneys General, for appellee.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., Doyle, J., and Blane, S.J.
years after the district court erroneously assessed Beau
Tremaine Berge (Berge) court costs in dismissed criminal
cases, he challenged the assessment of those costs, which the
district court denied. On this discretionary review, because
of legal precedent, Berge's own failure to timely
challenge the assessments, and his later agreement in a
contempt proceeding to pay the costs, we find the district
court properly denied Berge's challenge and affirm.
Factual and procedural background.
2007, Berge was charged with one felony drug count in
Dickinson County case No. FECR016893, as well as two related
charges in case Nos. SM065539 and SM062381. Berge retained
private counsel and filed a motion to suppress. Following a
hearing, on May 12, 2008, the court granted Berge's
motion to suppress. Due to the grant of the suppression
motion, on July 7, the State filed a motion to dismiss
FECR016893. On that same date the court entered an order
granting the motion and dismissing that case, but taxing
court costs to Berge in the amount of $100. Similarly, on
August 14, 2008, the State filed a motion to dismiss the two
accompanying misdemeanor charges (Nos. SM065539 and
SM062381), and the court entered an order on that same day
dismissing those criminal charges, but again taxing court
costs to Berge. Berge did not consent to the taxing of any
of the costs in these dismissed cases. Berge did not file an
appeal or seek a hearing challenging the taxing of court
costs in any of these dismissed cases.
years later, on July 9, 2010, the State filed an application
against Berge for contempt for failure to pay, listing case
Nos. FECR016893, NT006855, SMSM062381, and SMSM065539. The
application contained no itemization by case of the total
amount claimed of $1466.02. On August 12, at the time
scheduled for hearing on the contempt application, Berge
admitted he was in contempt of court as alleged in the
State's application and did not challenge the amount of
the fines and court costs he had been ordered to pay. Based
on Berge's admissions, the court found him in contempt of
court for failure to pay,  sentenced him to seven days in jail,
and withheld mittimus conditioned on Berge making monthly
payments of $50.00 to the clerk of court. Berge's
signature appears on the bottom of the ruling regarding
contempt of court, agreeing to the ruling in form and
substance. Berge did not appeal this order.
8, 2011, the State requested a mittimus hearing to determine
whether Berge should be required to serve the seven days in
jail for the contempt based upon his failure to make the
monthly payments as agreed. The mittimus hearing was
scheduled for July 7. When Berge failed to appear for the
hearing, a bench warrant was issued for his arrest. Almost
four years later, on May 7, 2015, after the State learned
that Berge was incarcerated in federal prison, the State
filed a motion to dismiss the mittimus proceeding. The court
granted the motion, canceled the mittimus hearing, and
recalled the arrest warrant previously issued, but it again
assessed court costs to Berge. Berge did not appeal or
challenge the costs assessed in this order.
two years later, on February 9, 2017, after receiving letters
from the Dickinson County Attorney's office attempting
collection, Berge wrote a letter to the court questioning why
he was being required to pay so much. On April 20, the court
held a hearing on Berge's complaint about court costs. At
the hearing, Berge testified and the parties agreed that the
court would take judicial notice of all of the court files
involved in the court cost issue. On June 30, the district
court filed its order denying Berge's challenge to the
court costs he had been ordered to pay.On July 10, Berge
filed a notice of appeal. By order, the supreme court deemed
the notice of appeal to be an application for discretionary
review, which it granted on September 25, 2017. The supreme
court then transferred the case to us.
Whether the district court erred in denying Berge's
challenge to the imposition of court costs against him when
those charges were dismissed.
specific challenge is to the costs taxed to him in the
criminal cases that were dismissed. "To the extent we are
required to engage in statutory construction, our review is
for correction of errors at law." State v.
Dudley, 766 N.W.2d 606, 612 (Iowa 2009) (citing
State v. Sluyter,763 N.W.2d 575, 579 (Iowa 2009)).
Under Iowa statutes and as discussed in case ...