Lindaman guilty, again, but of a lesser crime

MASON CITY — With help from the Iowa Supreme Court, the state Attorney General’s Office, and an avalanche of his own court filings, Charles City’s Doug Lindaman, 62, has managed to get a felony conviction replaced with an aggravated misdemeanor verdict despite two juries ruling against him.

The latest verdict arrived Wednesday in his third trial over alleged sexual abuse in 2011 of a 17-year-old he hired to do farm work. Jurors chose to convict Lindaman of assault with intent to commit sexual abuse. He was originally charged with felony third-degree sexual abuse.

It’s yet to be seen whether he will serve any more prison time. His sentencing is May 11.

He will be required to register on the Iowa sex offender registry.

He is also facing a new aggravated misdemeanor charge of tampering with a witness. He is scheduled to be arraigned April 24 in Floyd County.

Lindaman was convicted in 2016 by a Floyd County District Court jury of the felony and began serving a 10-year prison sentence. However, after filing numerous arguments to have the verdict overturned, one crafted with the aid of a court-appointed attorney stuck in May 2017.

The state Attorney General’s Office and Supreme Court agreed Lindaman deserved a new trial because Judge Gregg Rosenbladt did not adequately inquire in a timely manner about Lindaman’s decision to waive his right to an attorney. As a former lawyer — although he had no experience arguing in criminal court — Lindaman chose to represent himself.

He decided again to represent himself in his second and third trials, though he accepted a court-appointed attorney sitting, as he called it, “second chair.”

Lindaman had been a Floyd County magistrate judge but left the post in 1983. He lost his law license after he was convicted in 1988 on two felony counts of committing lascivious acts with a child in Floyd County.

The Iowa sex offender registry hadn’t been created by the date of his conviction, so he was not required to register.

Lindaman made later made headlines as an unsuccessful candidate for Floyd County Board of Supervisors and then the Charles City School Board, despite his felony convictions. He was able because of Gov. Tom Vilsack’s 2005 executive order restoring voting rights to all Iowans with felony convictions who had completed their sentences. Gov. Terry Branstad rescinded that in 2011.

Lindaman accused Floyd County Attorney Rachel Ginbey of filing the original sex abuse charge just before the 2015 Charles City School Board election to stop him from winning.

Ginbey, who was elected in 2014, denies the allegation, saying that she had come across the allegations of sexual abuse while cleaning out files of former County Attorney Norm Klemesrud. From that point, it took time to put together the case, and the election held no sway in her charging decision, she said.

Charles City School Board incumbent Lorraine Winterink defeated Lindaman by 2,001 votes to 335, in the Sept. 8, 2015, race.

Lindaman’s second trial, which was moved to Franklin County, ended in a mistrial after a witness mentioned his criminal history on the stand. Lindaman attempted to use that as evidence of prosecutorial malfeasance to have the case dismissed on the grounds of double jeopardy, meaning continued prosecution would violate his right to due process and equal protection under the law. It was an argument of that he continued to pursue to the end of the third trial, which was moved to Cerro Gordo County.

After Judge Rosenbladt denied Lindaman’s motion, Lindaman motioned to have a jury, not the judge, decide the matter.

Rosenbladt on Tuesday wrote in his order to deny, “The court further determines that these issues amount to legal questions to be heard and determined by the court, and not the jury.”

Also this week, Lindaman filed motions that could resurface in appeals, as many already had. In one motion, Lindemann tried to have statements he made to an investigator during three interviews suppressed.

Rosenbladt also denied that motion on Tuesday: “The court finds that the strategy and tactics of the interviewer did not amount to the interviews being involuntary or subject to exclusion by the court.”

Lindaman sought to have more specific language written into jury instructions defining what is not sexual contact. He wanted there be some sort of rubbing or more specific motion in the contact for it to reach the level of sexual contact.

“The court does not conclude that the Iowa code or the case law requires that the jury be more specifically instructed that sex act includes any sort of particular emotion or rubbing,” Rosenbladt ruled.