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DECORAH | Justices with the Iowa Supreme Court will hear arguments in two cases April 8 in Decorah High School. One case originated in Black Hawk County.

Proceedings will begin at 7 p.m. in the auditorium and are open to the public. 

The first case, State of Iowa vs. Patience Paye, involves a question of whether the front steps of a person's home represent a "public place."

Paye is appealing her conviction in December 2013 for second-offense public intoxication, a serious misdemeanor. After a bench trial, Judge Jeffery Harris found Paye guilty and placed her on probation for a year.

"The Iowa Supreme Court has previously held that the front steps and common hallway of an apartment house do constitute public places, but it has not extended that analysis to a single-family home," according to an announcement from the court.

Under Iowa law, a public place is defined as "any place, building or conveyance to which the public has or is permitted access." Iowa law also prohibits being intoxicated in a public place.

Waterloo police officers Melissa Lippert and John Heuer responded to a domestic disturbance and met Paye on the steps to her home.

Paye, who was four months pregnant, provided two preliminary breath tests. The first showed a blood alcohol level of .267 percent. The second was .264 percent. Each reading is more than three times the legal limit to drive, .08 percent.

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According to court documents, Paye was the aggressor in the situation, and officers arrested her for domestic assault and public intoxication.

The state argues police officers and private citizens can approach a home, knock and wait for acknowledgement.

"This implied right is so clear and well-understood that it is generally managed without incident by the nation’s Girl Scouts and trick-or-treaters,'" Benjamin Parrott, an assistant Iowa attorney general, wrote in court documents.

The second case, State of Iowa vs. Tyler Webster, is out of Jefferson County. Webster is appealing his conviction for second-degree murder.

Webster alleges juror misconduct because a member of the panel failed to disclose familiarity with the victim's family, according to the court.

The Iowa Court of Appeals reversed Webster's conviction and ordered a second trial, but the Iowa Supreme Court granted the state's request for additional review.

A reception with the justices in the school commons will follow the arguments. The school is at 100 Claiborne Drive in Decorah.

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