Mablin trial put on hold during appeals process

CLINTON — Prosecutors' appeal of a post-conviction relief ruling granting a new trial for a Clinton man previously convicted of a 2007 murder will be heard before his re-trial begins.

District Court Judge John Telleen on Wednesday submitted an order denying Benaiah Mablin's demand for a speedy trial.

"While Defendant's October 25 filing was captioned "Demand for Speedy Trial," it in essence argues that this case is not stayed and demands that this case be set for trial on or before December 4, 2018," Telleen's order states. "The Order entered by the Iowa Supreme Court on October 24, 2018, could not be more clear. The District Court's post-conviction ruling which granted the Applicant a new trial has been stayed."

A Clinton County jury in May 2008 found Mablin, now 37, guilty of second-degree murder in connection with the 2007 stabbing death of Sandra Chambers-Singh. He originally was charged with first-degree murder. District Court Judge Mark Cleve on July 10, 2008, sentenced Mablin to up to 50 years in prison and ordered him to pay $150,000 in restitution to the estate of the victim.

Mablin on December 16, 2009, filed an application for post-conviction relief. The matter was dismissed without prejudice on Oct. 1, 2013. Mablin's application was reinstated on October 28, 2013.

Telleen in September ruled Bruce Ingham of the Scott County Public Defender's Office, who was appointed to represent Mablin during the 2008 first-degree murder trial, did not communicate effectively with Mablin or investigate the case adequately.

Telleen, in the ruling, stated Ingham did not pursue a credible argument that Mablin underwent a custodial interrogation on Dec. 13, 2007, without being given a Miranda warning. Telleen in the September ruling also states the one-sentence motion to suppress that was filed was deficient, stating that it contained no citations to case law and did little to alert the trial court to issues needing to be analyzed.

Mablin was granted a new trial. However, Iowa Supreme Court Justice Edward Mansfield on Oct. 24 entered an order granting the State's application for a stay on the district court's order vacating Mablin's conviction.