In class we covered a very controversial allegation that was handled by the Iowa Supreme Court. Alleged Jesse M. Marzen committed numerous violations of the Iowa Rules of Professional Conduct by engaging in a sexual relationship with a client, disclosing client confidences to the public and making a misrepresentation to a judge. It began with a simple suspension and then lead to a court case. We were able to obtain information regarding the allegation and viewpoints from both Marzen and the victim “Jane Doe”.
The general background information covered the career path of Marzen. He is an Iowa lawyer who graduated from St. Thomas school of law. He practiced law in Charles City and is currently the Floyd County Attorney. On September 2006, a complaint was filed by a woman named “Jane Doe”. She alleged Marzen engaged in a sexual relationship with her after representing her in a mental health commitment hearing. Soon after, a district court judge also filed a complaint against Marzen after hearing testimony from Doe. Marzen was a candidate for the position of Floyd County Attorney at the time the complaints were filed. The news of the allegations spread throughout the community and was highly publicized by local media. Marzen was still elected as Floyd County Attorney even after the allegations.
At the hearing on the complaint, Doe testified she had sexual intercourse with Marzen on numerous occasions while he represented her. Marzen quickly denied any intimate contact with Doe. One member of the commission dissented from the dismissal of the sexual misconduct. The dissenting member believed the events established at least one occasion of sexual intercourse between Doe and Marzen during the course of their attorney-client relationship. Doe’s testimony revealed interesting information that would lead people to believe sexual intercourse did take place between her and Marzen. She commented that Marzen had “funny”-appearing buttocks due to a loose fold of skin hanging from the lower portion of his buttocks. Doe testified she engaged in sexual intercourse with Marzen on four additional occasion’s, all in different locations. One of the witnesses, Amanda, had stopped by a home unannounced when she observed Doe and Marzen walking out of a bedroom. She claimed that Doe hastily offered a reason for her presence in the bedroom with Marzen.
Marzen denied the existence of any sexual relationship at any time with Doe. He testified Doe was never at his house. However, he acknowledged he had been at the house where Doe was staying on multiple occasions, but only for business purposes. Marzen claimed he had more than 10 moles on his back, which Doe failed to mention. Marzen also denied the presence of a flap of loose skin on the bottom portion of his buttocks. He did, however, acknowledge he weighed 325 pounds when he graduated from high school and lost between 125 and 150 pounds since that time. He also acknowledged he has loose skin around his waist and inside his arms.
In addition to his testimony, Marzen offered testimony from a number of witnesses. Rod Mulcahy, a lawyer in Marzen’s former law office, testified the attorneys and staff at the office would be there until eight or nine in the evening. He felt it would be difficult for Marzen to have had sex in his office during this time without being noticed. Marzen also offered testimony from a number of witnesses designed to show Doe had a propensity to lie or exaggerate. Marzen offered testimony from John Farrell, a probation officer formerly assigned to Doe. Doe had sued Farrell for sexual misconduct, intentional infliction of emotional distress, assault, and false imprisonment. Although Farrell denied any sexual harassment or other such conduct, he settled the lawsuit for $5,000. Exhibits were used and a DNA test by the IDCI came back with negative results. Also had a doctors appointment where the report documented only that Marzen’s buttocks and perineum appeared “normal,” without a specific statement affirming or denying the presence of loose folds of skin.
It is an interesting case that required a lot of background information and reason to formulate a decision. There are many reasons that would argue “Jane Doe” is falsely accusing Marzen but it is up to the Supreme Court to make the decision.