Iowa SC says pleading guilty prevents man from claiming wrongful imprisonment

Decorative Scales Of Justice In The Courtroom

Des Moines, Iowa – The Iowa Supreme Court says a man who had his conviction for criminal transmission of H-I-V overturned, cannot claim wrongful imprisonment.

Nick Rhoades of Plainfield pleaded guilty to criminal transmission of H-I-V in 2008 after an encounter with a man he met online.

He was sentenced to 25 years in prison, but the Iowa Supreme Court later threw out the conviction based on the level of the H-I-V in Rhoades system and that he unintentionally subjected his partner to the disease.

Rhoades then sued for wrongful imprisonment.  The district court ruled Rhoades could not claim wrongful imprisonment because he had pled guilty.

The Iowa Supreme Court ruling says the best interpretation of Iowa code excludes all people who plead guilty from being able to claim wrongful imprisonment.

The ruling says while this is a narrow definition, it does not lead to an impractical or absurd result. It goes on to say if the court has missed the mark, the Iowa Legislature may correct it.

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