The Iowa Supreme Court has ordered a new trial for a man who was convicted of being a sexually violent predator. Jonathan Stenzel pled guilty to second-degree sexual abuse in connection with the rape of an elderly bookstore employee in 1986.
He also pled guilty to first-degree burglary and second-degree arson in connection with a home burglary and fire around the same time. Court proceedings determined that Stenzel was a sexually violent predator and should continue to be held after his sentence for the previous crimes was completed.
He appealed the sexually violent predator designation based on three issues, the timing of the action, the evidence used against him and information used by an expert who testified in the case. The Iowa Supreme Court upheld the lower court ruling on the timing and evidence issues.
But the High Court says the testimony from the expert on the process used by the state to determine who might be a sexually violent offender should not have been used in Stenzel’s case. The court ordered a new trial for Stenzel and also said the Linn County District Court should reconsider the admissibility of expert testimony about the specifics of Stenzel’s crimes prior to the rape and arson.