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    June 24, 2015
Past Issues   

RSVP today, help shape ABA agenda with ABA president-elect nominee, July 2

Linda Klein, the president-elect nominee of the American Bar Association, invites you to join her at the Historic Park Inn, Mason City, Iowa on July 2. As Klein plans the future direction of the ABA, she is specifically requesting a dialogue that includes attorneys’ and judges’ candid feelings, suggestions and recommendations to assist the profession.

Klein plans to arrive at the Historic Park Inn at 11 a.m., or shortly thereafter, July 2. The meeting is expected to conclude at 1:15 p.m. The event is free to attend, however there is a small fee for those interested in lunch.

"Linda is very sincere in wanting to hear from the bench and bar,” says Phil Garland, co-chair of the ISBA Rural Practice Committee. "She has been a strong advocate for rural attorneys.”

Klein seeks the input of main street attorneys and judges to better understand how the ABA can improve to help all practitioners, particularly those in our rural communities. Iowa Supreme Court Justice Mark Cady and ISBA President Bruce Walker are both scheduled to attend.

Thank you to those who already registered. For those who have not registered and are interested in lunch, please note that there is a small $10 fee provided the ISBA receives your reservation by noon on Thursday, June 25. For reservations made after noon on June 25, the cost of the meal is $20. Please RSVP to Lisa Hanson at if you have not already done so. Questions about the event may be directed to ISBA Executive Director Dwight Dinkla via email at

IRS policy change - estate tax closing letters issued only upon taxpayer request

The IRS recently announced that estate tax closing letters will only be issued upon taxpayer request for estates filed on or after June 1. Under this change in IRS estate tax closing letter policy, rather than including requests for estate tax closing letters with estate tax returns, taxpayers are asked to wait at least four months before making closing letter requests.

Individuals with questions regarding this policy change may visit the frequently asked questions about estate tax information available at by clicking here. Those with additional questions about estate tax closing letter requests may call 866-699-4083.

Answer questions, help develop disaster response volunteer attorney training and technology

Iowa Legal Aid is partnering with a technology firm to adapt mobile technology to provide disaster-related resources to disaster survivors and attorneys. As one of the first Legal Services Corporation Midwest Legal Disaster Coordination Grant awardees, Iowa Legal Aid plans to recruit and train volunteer attorneys to respond in the event of a disaster. The Iowa Legal Aid Midwest Legal Disaster Coordination Project captures Iowa Legal Aid's experiences responding to disasters in 1993 and 2008 for the next generation.

By answering questions, prospective volunteer attorneys can share their opinions on what training and technology they would like Iowa Legal Aid to offer. Iowa Legal Aid would provide training on how to recognize a disaster legal problem and substantive training on disaster-related legal issues. In addition, Iowa Legal Aid would provide ongoing support through its Disaster Relief Coordinator and other staff.

To take this brief multiple choice survey, click here. For more information, contact Iowa Legal Aid staff attorney Lisa Gavin at


Grassley, Leahy introduce legislation to protect whistleblowers in criminal antitrust cases

U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and Ranking Member Patrick Leahy recently introduced legislation to extend whistleblower protection for employees who provide information to the U.S. Department of Justice related to criminal antitrust violations.

The Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act seeks to protect whistleblowers in criminal antitrust cases by prohibiting employers from retaliating against an employee who provides information to the Department of Justice regarding conduct that violates the criminal antitrust laws. The Senate unanimously passed a similar version of the legislation last Congress.The legislation is based on recommendations from a Government Accountability Office report released in July 2011. The bill allows an employee who believes he or she is the victim of retaliation to file a complaint with the Secretary of Labor, and provides for that employee to be reinstated to his/her former status if the Secretary finds in his/her favor. Grassley and Leahy authored similar whistleblower statutes as part of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in 2002. To view the proposed bill, click here.

Sioux City law firm to host RAGBRAI BBQ, July 18

Crary, Huff, Ringgenberg, Hartnett & Storm, P.C. in Sioux City, Iowa will be hosting a kick-off party in conjunction with the opening weekend of RAGBRAI. Members of the ISBA and any other legal professionals participating in RAGBRAI are invited to attend from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, July 18. Complimentary beef brisket, pulled pork, craft beer and a variety of other refreshments will be offered.

Crary Huff Law Firm is located in the heart of downtown Sioux City, just a few blocks from camping and other RAGBRAI entertainment. For directions, click here. Those interested in attending may RSVP by contacting McKenzie Shipley at or by calling 712-277-4561.

Retired Iowa Attorney General Lawrence F. Scalise dies

Former Iowa Attorney General Lawrence F. Scalise died Friday, June 12. Scalise was Iowa Attorney General from 1965-67. Scalise became one of Iowa’s most esteemed trial attorneys, a past president of the Iowa Academy of Trial Lawyers and an ISBA Leader.

"Larry was one of the greatest trial lawyers this state has ever produced,” said David L. Brown, Iowa Academy of Trial Lawyers Secretary/Treasurer. Scalise held many public positions in Iowa and throughout the nation during the course of his career.

Services for Scalise were held Thursday, June 18, at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Government job opening: Attorney advisor position, Omaha, Neb.

The Social Security Administration’s Office of Disability Adjudication and Review in Omaha, Neb., is currently hiring for the attorney advisor position. An attorney advisor drafts administrative law judge decisions, notices and other written materials essential to ODAR’s mission. The attorney advisor also conducts important legal research for the office. The salary for this position starts at the GS-9 level.

Interested candidates may learn more about SSA and ODAR by clicking here. To apply, submit a resume and writing sample no later than Friday, July 10, via email to: Application transmittal emails should include "Resume – Attorney Advisor” in the subject line. Individuals with questions may email Cory T. Allan, SSA ODAR Hearing Office Director at


In Other News ...

Court: Juror showed poor judgment, not bias, in murder case
The Iowa Supreme Court is letting a man’s murder conviction stand even though a juror communicated with the victim’s stepmother on Facebook during and after the trial. The court ruled Friday the juror showed poor judgment, but not bias, in the trial of Tyler Webster of Fairfield. Jurors found Webster guilty of second-degree murder in the 2012 shooting of his best friend, Buddy Frisbie.
KCRG, Cedar Rapids Channel 9

Iowa court ruling says doctors can prescribe abortion drugs by video
The Iowa Supreme Court struck down a rule on Friday that would have prohibited doctors from using telemedicine to dispense abortion-inducing pills to patients in remote clinics around the state, saying the ban placed an "undue burden” on a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion. Planned Parenthood clinics in Iowa have been using telemedicine to provide medication-induced, nonsurgical abortions since 2008, seeing it as a way to expand access to women living in the state’s many rural areas. Under the system, the first in the nation, doctors in Des Moines, Iowa City and Ames have used videoconferencing to provide the service to more than 7,000 patients in seven clinics.
The New York Times

A sentence, and lesson, of life
The lesson learned through the Yvette Louisell prison sentence? That in Iowa, even if you’ve had two or three court decisions go in your direction, it’s awfully tough to get out from under a "life-in-prison” sentence. But you live with hope. Another court decision is expected shortly — maybe even this month — and this one, from the Iowa Supreme Court, might well be definitive.
Ames Tribune

Iowa courts electronic filing open house
Court officials are making preparations for the arrival of the Electronic Document Management System (EDMS) in Winneshiek, Allamakee, Chickasaw and Howard counties. Beginning June 30, all court filings in Winneshiek, Allamakee, Chickasaw and Howard counties are required to be filed electronically.
The Decorah Newpapers

The Iowa Lawyer Weekly is an electronic newsletter published every Wednesday. Please submit comments, letters to the editor, articles, or photos, to 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.


June 19, 2015

No. 13-1095

On review from the Iowa Court of Appeals. Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Jefferson County, Myron L. Gookin, Judge.

The State seeks further review of a court of appeals decision reversing the defendant’s conviction of second-degree murder and remanding for a new trial. DECISION OF COURT OF APPEALS VACATED; DISTRICT COURT JUDGMENT AFFIRMED.

No. 13-1229
STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,

On further review from the Iowa Court of Appeals. Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Wapello County, Daniel P. Wilson (suppression) and Lucy J. Gamon (trial and sentencing), Judges.

The State seeks further review of a court of appeals decision finding the district court erred in denying defendant’s motion to suppress and reversing defendant’s conviction for theft in the first degree. DECISION OF COURT OF APPEALS VACATED; DISTRICT COURT JUDGMENT AFFIRMED.

No. 14-1415

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Jeffrey D. Farrell, Judge.

Providers appeal a district court judgment upholding a rule by the Iowa Board of Medicine establishing standards of practice for physicians who prescribe or administer abortion-inducing drugs. AFFIRMED IN PART AND REVERSED IN PART.



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