Rick L. Lynch
Assistant County Attorney
General Information About Your County Attorney
Davis County Attorney (elected official)
Rick L. Lynch, admitted to bar, 1992, Iowa; also admitted to practice before U.S. District Court, Northern and Southern Districts of Iowa. Preparatory education: Iowa Wesleyan College (B.A., Accounting, summa cum laude, 1990); legal education, University of Iowa College of Law (J.D., 1992). County Attorney, Davis County, Iowa, 1995-present. Member: Davis County, Iowa State (Board of Governors, 1999–2006, 2018-present) and American Bar Associations.
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Assistant Davis County Attorney
Ashley M. Leyda, admitted to bar, 2011, Iowa. Preparatory education: University of Iowa (B.A., with honors, 2008); legal education, Drake University Law School (J.D., with high honors, 2011). Note Editor, Drake Journal of Agricultural Law, 2010-11. Assistant County Attorney, Davis County, Iowa, 2011-present. Member: Davis County, Iowa State and American Bar Associations, American Inns of Court (Blackstone Inn of Court), Young Lawyers Association.
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The County Attorney
Your County Attorney is the legal advisor and chief law enforcement officer for your county. The Davis County Attorney’s Office is responsible for prosecuting all state criminal misdemeanors and felonies that occur in Davis County. They are also responsible for enforcing county ordinances and other state laws that apply to Davis County.
• Prosecutes all violations of state criminal laws and county ordinances;
• Provides legal advice to the Board of Supervisors and county and township officers concerning county matters;
• Represents and defends the state, county and its officers in officially related cases; and,
• Presents at all mental health commitment proceedings and all juvenile delinquency and child in need of assistance cases.
*NOTE* There are both full-time and part-time County Attorneys in Iowa. Roughly two-thirds of all County Attorneys in Iowa are part-time and practice private legal work in addition to their official duties. Davis County is one of these ‘part-time county attorney’ counties, so our attorneys also have a private practice as well.
Basic Steps of the Criminal Justice System
Criminal cases cannot be prosecuted unless witnesses come forward to testify. By your willingness to be involved, you are working with other citizens, the police, the County Attorney and the Courts to reduce crime.
If the suspect was not arrested at the time the crime was committed, there are options that may happen. The Police Department/Sheriff’s Office may continue with its investigation until they feel they have enough evidence to charge the suspect. If the Police Department/Sheriff’s Office feel they already have enough evidence and cannot locate the suspect, a warrant may be issued for his/her arrest. Victims and witnesses may be called to police headquarters during the course of the investigation and/or after the arrest of the suspect.
An arrest is made by the Police Department/Sheriff’s Office or a citation to appear in Court is issued. A report by the arresting officer is sent to the County Attorney’s Office. If you have sustained damages, medical bills, lost wages, etc., submit the amount of your losses, along with proof of payment or billing statements, as soon as possible to the Crime Victim Assistance Program. Make sure to identify who the defendant is so the restitution can be submitted to the proper case.
Persons held in custody must be taken before the Judge within 24 hours of arrest. The Initial Appearance assures that the individual was properly charges, that the Compliant and Affidavit on file is correct, that an Attorney is appointed for the defendant (if necessary) and that a date is set for the preliminary hearing. If the bail amount was not set in the arrest warrant, it is set at this time.
The purpose of the Preliminary Hearing is to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to justify holding the defendant. The State presents evidence showing the defendant probably committed the crime. However, the Preliminary Hearing almost never happens because the same purpose is fulfilled by the filing of the Trial Information (formal charge against the defendant).
The Arraignment is the formal accusation of the defendant where a plea of guilty or not guilty is entered. The defendant does not need to be present if a written arraignment is filed on their behalf by their Attorney.
The majority of the time the defendant will plead not guilty at arraignment and the Judge will then set a trial date. A defendant may change the plea to guilty at any time. Most defendants eventually choose to plead guilty.
The Defense Attorney has a right to “discover” the State’s evidence in the case, However, defendants do not have to tell the prosecutor anything about their defense unless the defendant gives a deposition. Discovery can include viewing evidentiary, documents and taking depositions (interviews under oath) of the State’s witnesses. The defendant has a right to a speedy trial (right to have the case tried within 90 days of the filing of the trial information).
Victims and witness will be contacted, or may receive a subpoena, if the defense wishes to take their depositions.
A group of people are chosen at random from public lists, such as voter registration lists. From this original group, twelve are chosen to serve. The County Attorney and the Defense Counsel choose the make-up of the Jury. Victims and witnesses are not allowed in the courtroom at this procedure or until after they testify.
Once the Jury has been chosen and sworn in, the trial proceeds. Here again, not all trials proceed in the same manner. Once a criminal case has been filed and you are a victim/witness, you have a legal obligation to appear and testify.
A trial usually consists of the following steps:
- Opening Statements (State’s and then the Defense’s)
- State’s Witnesses and Evidence
- Defense Witnesses and Evidence
- Closing Arguments
- Court’s Instructions to the Jury
- Jury’s Deliberation (decision)
- Jury’s Verdict
- Hung Jury (cannot come to a unanimous verdict)
- Not Guilty
After the plea or verdict of guilty, the offender may be referred by the Judge to a probation officer who interviews the offender to determine his special problems, such as drugs/alcohol or a psychological evaluation. The officer then submits a report to the Judge with recommendations regarding sentencing of the offender. This is when victims have the right to complete a Victim Impact Statement. This document allows you to express your views about the case to the Sentencing Judge.
Victims and witnesses have the right to attend the Sentencing Hearing. Sentencing usually takes place two to six weeks after a plea or verdict of guilty. All crimes are classified in degrees of either a “felony” or “misdemeanor.” The most common types of sentences imposed are:
- Entry of Conviction and Imposition of sentence — defendant must serve the sentence that the Judge imposes.
- Entry of Conviction and Suspended sentence — Judge pronounces sentence and then suspends all or part of it. If the defendant then successfully completes a period of probation, he/she will not have to serve the remainder of the sentence.
- Deferred Judgement — Judge does not pronounce a sentence and instead places the defendant on probation. If the defendant successfully completes a term of probation, the crime will not count against the defendant on his/her criminal record.
Probation provides control, supervision and rehabilitation for defendants. The defendant must report to a probation officer regularly and must follow specific rules and conditions of the Probation. Probation also gives the defendant a chance to make restitution more quickly if any damages were suffered by the victim of the crime.
If the criminal is incarcerated in a state facility, the corrections authorities acquire jurisdiction over the prisoner. However, the Judge can reconsider a sentence of incarceration within 30 days (misdemeanors) or within 90 days (felonies). After that period has elapsed, the corrections authorities can set a date of release at their discretion within the minimum and maximum limits set by the legislature. Victims are allowed input into the parole hearings. Victims may present information to the board by written statement or personal interview. Victims may also attend the scheduled parole hearings in person and will be afforded the opportunity to give testimony.
Being a Witness, Your Duties, Your Rights | Iowa County Attorneys Association
This information is intended to familiarize you with the criminal court system in Iowa and your rights and obligations if you become a victim or witness. If you have specific questions or special needs, call the office of your local County Attorney. Participation of citizens as witnesses in criminal prosecutions is essential in the fight against crime. Without the testimony of witnesses and victims, a prosecutor’s case will fail. Your help is both necessary and appreciated.
If you change address or phone number, contact the Sheriff or Police Department investigating your case. If the County Attorney filed a charge, notify that office. If you have been subpoenaed, call the County Attorney’s Office before you go to Court to make sure you don’t make an unnecessary trip. Court cases are often rescheduled for a variety of reasons.
On rare occasions, witnesses are threatened or harassed. Tampering with witnesses and harassment are crimes. If this happens, contact the appropriate law enforcement department and your County Attorney.
Almost all Defendants are released prior to trial. To ensure the safety of others and the appearance of the Defendant at trial, release is subject to conditions imposed by the court. The conditions may include posting money (bail), hours, travel restrictions, and others.
Knowingly making false statement of material fact of falsely denying knowledge of a material fact is perjury, a felony. If you are aware of possible perjury, contact the appropriate enforcement agency immediately.
Unless you receive a subpoena, you need not talk to a defense attorney, the Defendant, or anyone else connected with the defense. It’s all right to ask for identification before you agree to talk to anyone. If the defense wants your statement, they can subpoena you for a deposition (a formal sworn statement) at which the County Attorney will be present. If the Defendant requests a written statement, call your County Attorney.
Witnesses must appear and truthfully testify under oath when subpoenaed. A subpoena indicates where you should be and when. The prosecutor may ask you to report to the office of the County Attorney first. Bring your subpoena along with you so that you may claim your witness and mileage fees after you testify.
If you have any questions about your testimony, call your County Attorney.
When you receive a subpoena, check with your employer to find out what the company policy is regarding your appearances in Court both before trial and at trial. Policies vary widely and can depend on different circumstances. If you would like, your prosecutor handling the case can call your employer or provide a letter, which will explain the need for your appearance.
Witnesses are entitled to $10 for each full day attendance and $5 for each attendance less than full day, plus an allowance of 45¢ for each mile you traveled. In most counties, take your subpoena to the Clerk of Court to claim your fees.
If you have had property stolen, report it to the nearest law enforcement agency and your insurance company immediately. If it is recovered it may be held for evidence. If you have a real need for your property, call the Department that has your property or the County Attorney. Usually evidence is held and returned after the completion of sentencing.
The Court may order a convicted Defendant to pay restitution to victims. In case of violent crime, you may also file a claim for restitution with the State. Ask your prosecutor about the program.
Crime Victim Assistance Program: –
This is a program that pays certain out of pocket expenses related to an eligible victim’s injuries from a crime. Funds for the program come entirely from fines and penalties paid by convicted criminals, not tax dollars. The program is the payer of last resort after insurance, other government programs, and other sources. A victim who has been physically or emotionally injured by a violent crime may be eligible to receive benefits for: lost wages, counseling, medical care, funeral costs, crime scene clean up, child or dependent adult care, crime related travel costs, personal clothing/bedding replacement and/or home security replacement costs. To apply you must: complete the application; sign the repayment and subrogation agreement; sign the medical and mental health information releases; and send the forms to the program.
The IowaVINE system is a service through which victims of crime can use the telephone or internet to search for information regarding the custody status of their offender and to register to receive telephone and email notification when the offender’s custody status changes. The toll-free number for IowaVINE is 888-7-IAVINE or 888-742-8463. This service is provided to assist victims of crime who have a right to know about their offender’s custody status.