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.