Knudsen, attorney request jury trial on legal questions

Paul Knudsen (right), a rural Cedar Falls man who was convicted of sexual abuse in 2017 and sentenced to life in prison, appeared in Grundy County District Court on Monday to set a trial date on questions of whether a sentencing enhancement was properly applied in his case. (Robert Maharry/The Grundy Register photo) 

The Grundy County man who was convicted of felony sexual abuse and sentenced to life in prison in 2017 will stand trial again after a Court of Appeals ruling on a legal technicality that could provide an opportunity for a reduced prison term.


Paul Knudsen, age 40, and attorney Chad Frese stood before Judge Joel Dalrymple at the Grundy County Courthouse on Monday morning and requested a trial on the questions of whether he is the same person who was convicted of sexual abuse in Polk County in 2006 and whether he was adequately represented by counsel in that case.


Because of that conviction, an automatic sentencing enhancement was imposed on Knudsen in 2017, but a subsequent Iowa Supreme Court ruling in State v. Harrington concluded that a man convicted of robbery could not be considered a habitual offender due to the fact that he “did not knowingly and voluntarily admit his prior convictions because he was not informed of his constitutional rights and the consequences of his admission.”


“He intends to put the state to the test on all of the issues, your honor,” Frese said. 


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