Law is an art, not a science, and it often happens especially in cases complex and important enough to attract the Supreme Court’s attention, that questions of great moment do not receive unanimous answers.
—Judge Richard Arnold 1
Discretionary decisions that Judge Denato made, both prior to and during the second trial, based on his view of the subjective facts and applicable procedural law almost guaranteed that Robert Williams would appeal the case if convicted, and he did. During the appellate process, every court that would rule on the Williams case would have to review Judge Denato’s decision. In the process, each court would have to determine if the inevitable discovery exception was supported by the Constitution and, if so, whether the subjective facts demonstrated that the body would have been discovered. Williams’s appeal went to the Iowa Supreme Court and was settled by it on November 14, 1979. The attorneys who represented Williams were Gerald Crawford, who had been the trial attorney, and Robert Bartels, who had so capably assisted Williams in his first set of federal appeals. The State of Iowa was represented by a team of four attorneys—Thomas Miller, the Iowa attorney general; Dan Johnston, the Polk County prosecuting attorney; and Robert Blink and Rodney Ryan, who had acted as the prosecuting attorneys at the trial.
In Iowa v. Williams, 2 Williams’s attorneys argued that several pretrial legal