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September 27, 2013

Cobbins' appeal in Appellate Court

Des Moines — The Clerk of the Iowa Supreme Court transferred the appeal of Terry Tobias Cobbins, Jr., to the Court of Appeals on Sept. 25. 

Cobbins was convicted of first-degree murder in early 2012 for the January 2011 murder of Teresa Louise Miller. He was hired by his boss, Michael Jamey Miller, to shoot Teresa inside the couple's home. Michael was also convicted of first-degree murder and both were sentenced on the same date and time, April 27, 2012. One of Cobbins' trial defense attorneys, Matt Sheeley, filed a notice of appeal within moments of the conclusion of the sentencing hearing. 

Since that time, a great deal of paperwork has been filed through the appellate process. The Supreme Court chose not to hear Cobbins' case at this point and referred it to the Court of Appeals. 

Steve Davis, with the Iowa Judicial Branch, explained that each court sets its own case submission schedule and decides whether to grant the parties an opportunity to address the court, a process known as oral argument. During oral arguments lawyers have a brief period of time to summarize their legal arguments before the court and to answer questions asked by justices or judges. Many cases are submitted without oral argument. 

After a case is submitted or after oral arguments, the justices or judges will discuss in private conference, the legal issues presented in the case. Later, the justice or judge who has been given the assignment of writing the court’s opinion will prepare a draft. The opinion writer circulates copies of the draft opinion to the other members of the court who may comment on the draft. A justice or judge who disagrees with the opinion may write a dissent. A justice or judge who agrees with the result, but not necessarily for the same reasons, may draft a special concurrence. 

There is no specific timeline for this process. The case could be with the Court of Appeals for at least six months. 

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