You may have read today that the former Indianola City Attorney is getting a new trial in his fraud conviction. That’s because the State of Iowa…and this was approved by the Judge…lowered the bar and made it easier to prove that fraud had occurred. Basically, the jury was instructed that they could convict if there was anything on his submitted invoices that he knew to be false.
The Iowa Supreme Court decided that the State had to prove that the defendant had a “specific intent to deceive.” John Hoyman will get a new trial, and, he may win or lose. Doesn’t affect the rest of us, does it? But in a way it does.
The State Attorney General’s Office always seems intent on pushing the law so that they can convict more and more criminals. And, sometimes when they lose at the big blue Judicial Building, they ask the legislature to change the law so they can convict more people.
If you are ever accused of fraud…in criminal court or in civil court (like in a divorce), it is important that your accuser must show more than that you submitted intentionally untrue information. If the information you presented wasn’t meant to deceive (or defraud) someone, then it shouldn’t be fraud.
Many of you, of course, have no sympathy for people charged with a crime. But, I find that even those people object to unfairness in the judicial system when they face it in court.
An experienced defense attorney will always focus on what must be proved by the state to prove the crimes charged. If you ever get wind that you are facing the possibility of charges, get counsel.