Board and Grievance Commission annual report filed
The Iowa Supreme Court
filed its 2015 Attorney Disciplinary Board and Grievance Commission annual
report earlier this month. The report includes minutes, budget information,
complaint determinations, grievance case summaries and much more.
According to the
report, the Attorney Disciplinary Board opened 389 new complaint files in 2015,
up from 337 in 2014 and 366 in 2013. The assistant directors declined to open
investigations in 199 complaints. Of the 316 determinations that the board
made, 189 were dismissed upon a finding of no ethical violation, 47 resulted in
private admonitions, 41 were referred to staff counsel for filing with the
Grievance Commission, 35 resulted in public reprimand, two were deferred per
Iowa Court Rule 34.13, and two files resulted in other determinations.
The report identified
prisoners or criminal defendants as the most frequent source of complaints
(30.4 percent) followed by clients other than prisoner, criminal or family law
(13 percent); judges or attorneys (11.7 percent); family law clients (9.8
percent); and beneficiaries or others involved in probate (6.6 percent). The
three most common ethical violations were neglect or incompetence (59.5
percent) followed by misrepresentation or fraud (13.4 percent) and money or
trust account issues (12.7 percent).
Commission began 2015 with 22 cases pending from 2014 then added 15 additional
cases from the Attorney Disciplinary Board during the year. Of those cases, 19
received final dispositions during 2015 and 18 were pending as of Dec. 30,
2015. The final dispositions resulted in revocation of license (1), suspensions
of varying lengths (14), dismissal (1), private admonition (1) or written
To view the full
report click here. For other
Office of Professional Regulation announcements and reports, visit the Iowa courts website.
Supreme Court to
continue business specialty court
The Iowa Supreme Court
issued an order on Monday that continues the Iowa Business Specialty Court as a
component of the Iowa court system. The decision to continue the business court
beyond the three-year pilot program that expires in May is due in part to the
high overall rating from attorneys who’ve used it since its inception as a
pilot program in May 2013.
Thirty attorneys who
responded in the 2015 evaluation prepared by the state court administrator’s
office stated they strongly agree (2.9 out of 3.0) that the business court
should become a permanent component of the Iowa court system. The attorneys
gave an average rating of 2.8 out of 3.0 to the statement: "I will seek
assignment of qualifying cases to the business court in the future.” (See the
full 2015 annual evaluation here.)
The business specialty
court accepts a broad range of complex commercial cases with $200,000 or more
in dispute. It is staffed by three judges with experience in handling complex
issues facing businesses. Details on the criteria for a case to be assigned to
the business court and additional information about the business court,
including biographical information on the three judges, are posted on the Iowa
Judicial Branch website at this link. The "Joint
Consent Form for Case Assignment to the Business Court Pilot Project” can also
be accessed at that link.
The court will conduct
its third annual review of the business court during its 2016 administrative
term beginning July 1. During that evaluation, it will determine if changes
should be made to the eligibility criteria or other aspects of the project.
ABOTA sponsoring hall
of fame for mock trial educator coaches
The Iowa Chapter of
the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) is seeking nominations for its
first Iowa Mock Trial Educator Coach Hall of Fame. The new hall of fame recognizes
the vital role that "mock trial coaches play in teaching Iowa’s youth about the
American jury system,” according to a release issued by the organization.
New inductees into the
hall of fame will be announced at the awards ceremony for each middle school
and high school state tournament. Inductees will receive a plaque commemorating
their induction. In addition, new inductees will be recognized at the Iowa
ABOTA chapter’s annual dinner usually held in October in Des Moines, Iowa.
ABOTA is a national
association of experienced trial lawyers and judges dedicated to the
presentation and promotion of the right to a civil jury trial provided by the
Seventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It works to uphold the jury system
by educating the American public about the history and value of the right to
trial by jury.
Click here to access the
website and read the full release that outlines the criteria for nominating an
educator to the hall of fame. Also, see the nomination form, which can be
filled out and submitted directly from the website.
Share your experiences
with ADR and LSR in family practice
Communications Department is exploring opportunities to publish articles
related to emerging trends in family law practice. Attorneys are invited to
share their experiences with the alternative dispute resolution methods they
utilize in the context of family law. Input is also needed from attorneys who
engage in limited scope representation in the context of their family law
More specifically, the
editors of the Iowa Lawyer Magazine and the Iowa Lawyer Weekly are interested
in learning more about how the following are beneficial in attorneys’ family
- Collaborative law; and
- Limited scope
Attorneys who engage
in elder mediation are welcome to share their insights as well.
To submit your
practice experiences, email firstname.lastname@example.org and
include "Family Law – ADR & LSR” in the email subject line. Please include
your full name, a short bio and one to two paragraphs that address this
request. In addition, if you want to provide other input related to this
request, please do. All information received will be taken into consideration.
Priority will be given to responses received no later than February 26.
Court of Appeals session to honor Judge Fagg
The United States Court
of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit will hold a special session to honor the late
Judge George G. Fagg March 4, at 1:30 p.m. at the United States Courthouse in
Des Moines, Iowa. All are welcome to attend this public session. Please RSVP
|Supreme Court Opinions|
WELLMARK, INC. vs.
POLK COUNTY BOARD OF REVIEW
County board of review seeks further review of a
court of appeals decision affirming the district court’s ruling on an appeal
from a property tax assessment. REVERSED.
STATE OF IOWA vs.
STEPHEN SCOTT PRUSHA
A criminal defendant seeks further review of a court of
appeals decision affirming his conviction for methamphetamine possession,
contending police obtained evidence through a warrantless search that violated
his constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches. COURT OF APPEALS DECISION AND DISTRICT
COURT JUDGMENT AFFIRMED.
TINA ELIZABETH LEE vs.
STATE OF IOWA and POLK COUNTY CLERK OF COURT
The State and the Polk County
Clerk of Court appeal a judgment awarding the plaintiff attorney fees. REVERSED AND CASE REMANDED WITH
|In Other News ...|
What Scalia's death spells for the
Supreme Court's docket
As we've been
reporting, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has died, reportedly at a ranch
in Texas. He was 79 years old. Tom Goldstein is an attorney who's argued before
the court and a well-known blogger, publisher of the SCOTUSblog about the Supreme
Court of the United States. And he is with us now. Tom Goldstein, thanks for
speaking with us. What are your thoughts on hearing this news today? TOM
GOLDSTEIN: Well, it's obviously a tragedy for his family, his wife and nine
kids. There are more than 20 grandchildren. And he was a historic figure. He
was a huge, huge influence on every kind of law - the Constitution, statutes,
regulations. He really was the kind of father of conservative legal thought in
a lot of ways.
Iowa Public Radio
Iowa's top court to rule on felon voting ban
Iowa's highest court
will decide whether to loosen the state's strict ban on voting by former
felons. The Iowa Supreme Court said last week it would hear a challenge to the
ban brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and other voting rights
groups. The Hawkeye State is one of just three states — Florida and Kentucky
are the other two — that disenfranchise former felons for life unless the
governor personally intercedes.
Webster County unrolls next phase
of courthouse security
Security cameras and
access control doors will be installed in the Webster County Courthouse in the
next phase of security improvements in the building. The Messenger reports that
the county will pay more than $7,200 for cameras on the first floor, and more than
$11,600 for locked doors on the east and west sides. Campbell says the cameras
will connect to the existing system in the law enforcement center so they can
be monitored at all times.
KWWL Channel 7
Iowa ‘death with dignity’ bill
sparks emotional debate
Iowa adults diagnosed with a terminal illness could make a written request for
self-administered medication they could use to end their lives under a bill
that provoked an emotional debate Wednesday before an Iowa Senate subcommittee.
Senate File 2051, titled the "Iowa Death With Dignity Act,” would establish a
medical process for a terminally ill patient to take his or her life. The
person would need to be diagnosed by at least two physicians and have less than
six months to live.
Iowa legislators want to cut number
of counties in half
Completing the "full
Grassley” might not seem so intimidating – or sound so impressive -- if a
proposed amendment to the Iowa Constitution is adopted. Rep. Jake Highfill,
R-Johnston, has proposed the Legislature reduce the number of counties from 99
to 40 as a way to save taxpayer dollars and modernize local government. "I’m
just trying to be a good steward of the taxpayers’ money,” Highfill said after
introducing House Joint Resolution 2005. He thinks that by consolidating county
operations there will be savings through efficiency.
Sioux City judge confirmed to Iowa
A U.S. magistrate from
Sioux City has been approved to serve as a judge on one of Iowa's federal
courts. Sen. Chuck Grassley announced Thursday that the U.S. Senate unanimously
approved the nomination of Leonard Strand, of Sioux City, to serve as a U.S.
district judge for the Northern District of Iowa. President Barrack Obama
nominated Strand in June to replace U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett. The
nomination will go back to Obama for final approval.
KCCI Channel 8
David S. Walker retires from Drake
University Law School
Drake University Law
School celebrated the retirement of David S. Walker, the Dwight D. Opperman
Distinguished Professor of Law, on Feb. 11. David served on the Drake Law
faculty for 40 years, including two terms as dean. The ISBA congratulates him
on his retirement.
Drake University Law
The Iowa Lawyer Weekly is an electronic newsletter published every Wednesday. Please submit comments, letters to the editor, articles, or photos, to email@example.com. Contact information should be included with submissions. The ISBA reserves the right to refuse any submission but will take all submissions into consideration for future publication.
TIPS & TRICKS
ADMISSION ON MOTION
The following individuals applied for admission on motion to the Iowa Bar:
- Michael L. Hahn, Litchfield Cavo, Chicago, Illinois
Anyone with questions or comments on the above applicants should contact: Dave Ewert at the Office of Professional Regulation, 1111 East Court Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50319; Phone: 515-725-8029.
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