High Court Says Prosecutor Undermined Plea Bargain

Dec 4, 2015

The Iowa Supreme Court ruled Friday that plea bargains may not be undermined by the prosecution, which negotiates agreements with defense attorneys. 

Andrew Lopez pleaded guilty in 2013 to child endangerment. He reached a plea bargain that recommended probation and no-contact agreement. 

At Lopez's sentencing hearing the prosecuting attorney submitted new evidence at a sentencing hearing, including photos of burn and bite marks on the toddler involved. The judge in the case sentenced him to a prison sentence of up to five years. 

Today the Supreme Court ruled the photos were “gratuitously” introduced, and were designed to signal that the defendant deserved incarceration rather than probation.  Lopez will now receive a new sentence by a different judge.