Sunday, February 14, 2016

Iowa Supreme Court rejects notion that malpractice plaintiff has to show actual innocence in order to support claim against former criminal defense lawyer

In a many jurisdictions, a convicted criminal defendant who wants to recover for malpractice against his or her former lawyer has to obtain post conviction relief and prove that he or she was actually innocent of the crime for which they were convicted.  This view has been criticized but still appears to be the majority view.  Yet, I have read recent cases where a few courts have abandoned this view in favor of the minority approach which does not require the convicted defendant (plaintiff in the malpractice claim) to show actual innocence.  The most recent court to so hold was the Kansas Supreme Court, something I reported about a month ago here.

Now comes news (via the Legal Profession blog) that the Iowa Supreme Court has taken the same step.  Actual innocence is no longer required as an element of the cause of action.  The case is called Barker v Capotosto, and it is available here.

UPDATE (7/21/16): The Chicago Legal Malpractice Blog has a story on the case here.

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