Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

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March 14, 2013

Iowa Court of Appeals affirms VanWeelden's new trial

DES MOINES — The Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed Henry “Willie” VanWeelden’s request for a new trail by a 2-1 vote in an opinion filed Wednesday morning.

In Mahaska County District Court, Judge Paul Miller granted VanWeelden a new trial on May 18, 2012, and the state filed its appeal on May 29.

VanWeelden had been convicted on Feb. 3, 2012, of first-degree theft, felonious conduct in office and tampering with documents after a week-long trial. The charges were in regards to VanWeelden placing his wife, Bonnie, back on county health insurance coverage after he was reelected in November 2008. She was covered initially after VanWeelden was elected in 2001. She was removed in 2004 and then was reinstated in early 2009 after VanWeelden was reelected in 2008.

Miller granted VanWeelden a new trial after a DVD recording of an April 6, 2009, board of supervisors meeting was discovered at the Communications Research Institute office. The DVD had been labeled “April 6, 2008,” instead of the correct date, and it was not discovered in time for the trial. Miller ruled that the contents of the DVD invalidated the testimony of then-county supervisor Lawrence Rouw.

A three-judge panel at the Iowa Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in the case on Feb. 27.

Judges Richard Doyle and Amanda Potterfield affirmed the district court decision to grant VanWeelden a new trial, while Judge Gayle Vogel dissented.

 

 

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The Iowegian wants readers to think about the solicitation ordinance that will prevent groups or individuals from entering a roadway to solicit money. The Centerville City Council in June by a 5-0 vote passed the first reading of just such an ordinance. Public pressure and during a subsequent special meeting, the council voted 3-2 to table the ordinance. A second special meeting to discuss the solicitation ordinance is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7 at City Hall. So, the question of the week is, "Do you or do you not support the ordinance to prevent solicitation of funds in city streets?"

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