Iowa Supreme Court to hear oral arguments in Iowa City police wrongful prosecution case

The court will hear arguments on Feb. 21 in the case of Josh Venckus, who accused Iowa City police detective Andrew Rich of wrongful prosecution, a common law crime in Iowa.


Katie Goodale

Iowa City Police Department vehicles are seen on July 9, 2019.

Liam Halawith, Politics Editor

The Iowa Supreme Court will hear oral arguments from the legal team of an Iowa City man who was charged with, and later acquitted by a jury, of sexual abuse in 2013.

The legal battle between Iowa City Police Department and Josh Venckus will be heard by Iowa’s highest court on Feb. 21.

Venckus was charged with sexual abuse in 2013 by Iowa City Police detective Andrew Rich. Venckus accused Rich of malicious prosecution, a common law crime and constitutional tort in Iowa. Venckus filed a lawsuit in 2018 against Rich.

A brief filed with the Iowa Supreme Court by Venckus’ attorneys alleged that Rich ignored a lapse in the state’s timeline of events. Venckus was in Chicago at his parent’s residence at the time of the crime.

The filing reported that during a deposition, Rich admitted he still believed Venckus was guilty and continued with the prosecution when Venckus’ alibi was revealed. Rich reportedly said he believed Venckus was guilty even if he could not prove it.

The City of Iowa City and Rich are arguing that Venckus’ own admission that the state had probable cause to charge him proves that the claim of malicious prosecution isn’t warranted.

The filing also alleged that DNA evidence revealed that another suspect was identified but was ignored by Rich, according to a complaint filed by Venckus’ attorneys.

The court is expected to answer an important legal question pertaining to Malicious Prosecution later this month.

The Iowa Supreme Court will hear arguments at 9 a.m. on Feb. 21.