Judicial Branch will keep vacancies open, enact furlough day to absorb deappropriation
In a memo to all court employees Friday, State Court Administrator David K. Boyd announced that the Judicial Branch would resort to keeping vacancies open and enacting a furlough day to make up for a $3 million reduction to the judicial branch operating budget for the current fiscal year.
Originally, the deappropriation for FY 2017 was $7.7 million for the state’s court system, in order to bring the state budget into compliance. However, house and senate leadership crafted a different plan which reduced the cut to $3 million. According to Boyd, the Governor has indicated he would sign this bill.
In order to reduce the budget by $3 million over the next five months, Boyd said in the memo that the court system would have to turn to personnel costs. Currently, the judicial branch has 111 vacant positions, which includes 12 judgeships. Boyd says holding those positions vacant through the end of FY 2017 gets the courts within $400,000 of covering the $3 million deappropriation.
To make up the remaining deficit, all court offices, including clerk of court offices, will be closed and all judicial branch employees will take unpaid leave on Friday, May 26.
This $3 million deappropriation is a permanent cut, so Boyd says now the court system must prepare for a possible reduction of services in future fiscal years.
ISBA officers and lawyer-legislators talk politics at annual dinner
On Wednesday, Jan. 25, ISBA officers and the lawyer-legislators at the Iowa Capitol met to discuss legislative policy during the annual lawyer-legislator dinner hosted by ISBA's chief legislative counsel Jim Carney.
There are 17 lawyer-legislators in the house and senate this session, including three in key leadership positions: Rep. Chris Hagenow (R) is House Majority Leader, Sen. Jack Whitver (R) is Senate President and Sen. Rob Hogg (D) is Senate Minority Leader.
To see photos of the event, please visit the ISBA Facebook page.
YLD networks with law students as part of outreach program
Members of the ISBA Young Lawyers Division Law School Participation Task Force held outreach events at the University of Iowa College of Law and Drake University Law School last week, as part of a broader push to engage Iowa's future lawyers in ISBA activities.
The YLD has spent the last six months trying to encourage social events around the state. In September, the YLD Executive Council voted to make it a requirement that each district representative must hold one social event every year.
At the Drake Law School event Wednesday, Jan. 25, a panel of young lawyers talked to students about things like finding a job after graduation, becoming a successful associate, networking, managing student debt and the benefits of joining the YLD. At the University of Iowa College of Law event on Thursday, Jan. 26, approximately 30 students attended a social event to meet and mingle with young attorneys.
If you are interested in being involved in future law school outreach events, please contact the committee chairs: Laura Folkerts: FolkertsL@wloolaw.com, Cynthia Boyle Lande: firstname.lastname@example.org
New view of the Iowa Supreme Court in video tour
A new video tour of the Iowa Judicial Branch Building is now available online for anyone interested in the history and use of the facility that houses the state's highest courts.
The tour is an 11-minute video, produced by JAC photoworks and narrated by retired KCCI anchor Kevin Cooney. It highlights the many architectural and decorative features within the building, while focusing on the public spaces including the rotunda, courtrooms and ceremonial areas.
The judicial branch building is open to the public to visit weekdays from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. When oral arguments for the supreme court and court of appeals are heard, the public is welcome to attend and watch. Group tours for more than 20 persons can be scheduled ahead of your arrival, or a self-guided tour sheet is available for individuals.
More information on visiting the Iowa Judicial Branch Building is available on the Supreme Court's website.
February Iowa Lawyer now available online
The February Iowa Lawyer Magazine is now available online. In this issue, you will read about how the ISBA is advancing its 2017 legislative lobbying agenda during what is expected to be a challenging year. Also, you will meet the lawyer-legislators serving at the Iowa Capitol and learn more about the judicial branch’s most ambitious undertaking ever: EDMS.
Those who elect to receive the print version of the magazine should see it in mailboxes this week. To view the digital version, go to the bar website. Those who no longer wish to receive the printed version of the magazine can elect to receive it electronically by navigating to their ISBA account settings and selecting "yes” for the "Iowa Lawyer Magazine Online” option.
SUPREME COURT OPINIONS
January 27, 2017
BOARD OF WATER WORKS TRUSTEES OF THE CITY OF DES MOINES, IOWA vs. SAC COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS, AS TRUSTEE OF DRAINAGE DISTRICTS 32, 42, 65, 79, 81, 83, 86, and CALHOUN COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS and SAC COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS AS JOINT TRUSTEES OF DRAINAGE DISTRICTS 2 AND 51 and BUENA VISTA COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS and SAC COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS AS JOINT TRUSTEES OF DRAINAGE DISTRICTS 19
Water utility seeks monetary and injunctive relief from upstream drainage districts on claims arising from the cost to remove nitrates from drinking water. CERTIFIED QUESTIONS ANSWERED
IOWA SUPREME COURT ATTORNEY DISCIPLINARY BOARD vs. BRUCE A. WILLEY
Grievance commission reports respondent committed ethical misconduct and recommends a thirty-day suspension. LICENSE SUSPENDED
IOWA SUPREME COURT ATTORNEY DISCIPLINARY BOARD vs. PAMELA ANN VANDEL
Grievance commission reports respondent committed ethical misconduct and recommends a one-year suspension. LICENSE SUSPENDED
IN OTHER NEWS
Trump nominates Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court
President Trump on Tuesday nominated Judge Neil M. Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, elevating a conservative in the mold of Justice Antonin Scalia to succeed the late jurist and touching off a brutal, partisan showdown at the start of his presidency over the ideological bent of the nation’s highest court.
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Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, and State Public Defender Adam Gregg announced that the State of Iowa was recently awarded $632,765 in federal grant money to support the work of the Wrongful Conviction Division in the Office of the State Public Defender.
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