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    March 30, 2016
Past Issues  

Funeral services for former Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynoldson set for Friday

Former Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice W. Ward Reynoldson will be laid to rest at 2 p.m. Friday, April 1, at the Osceola United Methodist Church in Osceola, Iowa. Chief Justice Reynoldson died Monday. He would have been 96 on May 17.


News of his death brought accolades from public and private individuals, including this tribute from retired Des Moines Register editorial writer, Rox Laird. Long-time Des Moines attorney, Harlan "Bud” Hockenberg was one of many who praised his integrity, temperament and ability. In addition, he was praised for the many changes he initiated in the Iowa court system during the 16 years he served on the state’s high court, including nine as chief justice. Read more about those changes and about his life in this release from the Iowa Judicial Branch.


"The Iowa court family is saddened by the passing of former Chief Justice Ward Reynoldson,” said current Chief Justice Mark Cady. "Our sympathies go out to his wife, Pat, and his family.”

Assistance needed for ISBA’s top legislative priorities

The legislature is expected to adjourn sometime in the next three weeks or so making this an important time in the legislative session, according to ISBA Legislative Counsel Jim Carney. He and his legislative team are working on two top-priority bills that are being considered by the legislature and asking for ISBA members to contact local representatives to support these priorities.

The supplemental appropriations bill (SF2109) provides for an additional $3 million for the State Public Defender’s budget. The additional funding is approximately 10 percent of the entire annual contract attorney budget.  Claims from contract attorneys will exceed the $29.5 million budget for fiscal year 2016, and a supplemental appropriation is needed, said Carney. 

"To avoid the disastrous situation of 2011 when payments were delayed for three to four months or longer,” Carney said, "the supplemental appropriation in SF 2109 is needed.” He urges members to contact their Representatives to request support the bill which is currently in the House.

Another top legislative priority of the ISBA is the probate cost bill (HSB 645). By unanimous vote, the House Ways and Means Committee passed the bill today, March 30, and it will now go on to the House calendar. Members are urged to contact their House of Representative members to support the bill. 

"The bill establishes a uniform approach to the taxation of probate cost throughout the state of Iowa,” Carney said, "and ensures that assets, which pass by operation of law without the need for court administration, are not taxed for court cost purposes. Assets such as joint tenancy, insurance, annuities, payable on death accounts etc. The bill also provides that if costs have been assessed in a conservatorship on the assets, when the ward passes, the same assets are not taxed a second time when transferred to the estate of the deceased ward.

For phone numbers and email addresses for House of Representative members, visit the legislators contact page. For details regarding the status of other ISBA legislation, review the most current affirmative legislative program and the ISBA Legislative Report.


April Iowa Lawyer now available online

The April issue of the Iowa Lawyer Magazine is now available online. Those who elect to receive the print version of the magazine should see it in mailboxes in the next week or so. In this issue, ISBA focuses on family law.


Members can view the digital version of the April issue by navigating to, clicking on "Publications,” then "Iowa Lawyer Magazine.” 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.


Questions regarding the Iowa Lawyer Magazine can be directed to the ISBA Communications Department at or 515-697-7898.

Spring Tax Institute opens registration

A message from Jon Landon, co-chair for the Iowa Spring Tax Institute

I invite you to attend the 62nd Annual Spring Tax Institute scheduled for April 29. The day-long CLE program will be held at The University Club in Iowa City, Iowa.  


The impressive speaking lineup includes the Honorable Cary Pugh, U.S. Tax Court, who will speak on "Federal Tax Controversy and the Tax Court” along with U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa, Kevin Techau, and IRS special agent for criminal investigation, Jeff McGuire, who will be presenting on criminal tax.


More information can be found on the ISBA seminar webpage, including registration details and full program schedule. Information on all of the distinguished guest speakers is available as well. The program is awaiting approval for CLE credits (6.5 hours, including 0.75 ethics).


I look forward to what promises to be an excellent seminar. The seminar is co-sponsored by the University of Iowa College of Law CLE Programs and the Taxation Section of The Iowa State Bar Association. Hotel rooms at the Iowa House in the Iowa Memorial Union are available for reservation for Spring Tax Institute attendees.

New scam targets home buyers

The Federal Trade Commission and the National Association of Realtors® are warning home buyers about an email and money wiring scam. Hackers have been breaking into some consumers’ and real estate professionals’ email accounts to get information about upcoming real estate transactions. 


After figuring out a closing date, the hacker sends an email to the buyer, posing as the real estate professional or title company. The bogus email says there has been a last minute change to the wiring instructions, and tells the buyer to wire closing costs to the scammer’s account. If the buyer takes the bait, their bank account could be cleared out in a matter of minutes. 


When buying a home, consumers should be aware of potential phishing scams. Email is not a secure way to send financial information. Consumers should verify any requested changes with their real estate professional before sending any information. If it’s a phishing email, report it to the FTC.

Supreme Court Opinions
March 25

No. 13–1397 

Defendants seek further review of the court of appeals decision that reversed the district court’s ruling dismissing criminal charges against them for lack of territorial jurisdiction. DECISION OF COURT OF APPEALS VACATED; DISTRICT COURT JUDGMENT AFFIRMED IN PART AND REVERSED IN PART; CASE REMANDED.


No. 14–0816 
A defendant in a criminal case contends the district court should have granted his request to poll the jury after a local newspaper published a factually inaccurate online report about the case during trial. COURT OF APPEALS DECISION AND DISTRICT COURT JUDGMENT AFFIRMED.


No. 15–0573 
A mother appeals the district court’s denial of her petition to modify the child custody and physical care provisions of a marriage dissolution decree. REVERSED AND REMANDED WITH INSTRUCTIONS.


In Other News ...

New electronic world, same rules

The Iowa Supreme Court says a man found guilty of attempted murder and robbery won’t get a new trial, even though inaccurate reporting on a local news website was possibly seen by members of the jury. The case required justices to consider how its harder for jurors to avoid information that may prejudice them during a trial in the age of social media. Theodore Gathercole was found guilty in 2014. At the trial, jurors were frequently told to ignore print and broadcast accounts of the case. 

Iowa Public Radio


Mock trial teams head to state competition

Teams from two North Iowa high schools are set to compete in The Iowa State Bar Association’s High School Mock Trial Tournament in Des Moines. This year, students from Garner-Hayfield-Ventura and Hampton-Dumont will take part in the 32-team competition March 28 to 30. Each school will face off on opposing sides of the mock court in a multi-round competition. 

The Globe Gazette


Judicial impeachment bill advances in Kansas

Kansas Supreme Court justices could be impeached for behaving discourteously in the courtroom or for trying to "usurp” legislative power under a bill approved by the state Senate on Tuesday. The proposal, now under consideration by the Kansas House, specifies various "crimes and misdemeanors” that would constitute impeachable offenses. 

The Wall Street Journal


No retention drama in 2016. But keep your fingers crossed

So all’s quiet on the Iowa judicial retention front, at this hour. With all the hubbub swirling around a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court, it’s easy to forget that three Iowa Supreme Court justices are on the ballot in November. Justices Daryl Hecht and Brent Appel and Chief Justice Mark Cady all face a retention vote. It wasn’t all that long ago that retention barely rated mention. Then came 2010, when religious conservatives led by Bob Vander Plaats and his Family Leader organization successfully campaigned to toss three justices off the court. Their offense was joining the unanimous 2009 Varnum ruling striking down Iowa’s ban on same-sex marriages.

The Gazette


Justice Department cracks iPhone; withdraws legal action

The FBI said Monday it successfully used a mysterious technique without Apple Inc.'s help to hack into the iPhone used by a gunman in a mass shooting in California, effectively ending a pitched court battle between the Obama administration and one of the world's leading technology companies.

Channel 7 KWWL


Chief Justice Roberts predicted the Supreme Court nightmare unfolding right before his eyes

Chief Justice John Roberts isn’t just in charge of the Supreme Court. His role extends, more or less, to making sure the entire federal court system is running as it should — from his own court, all the way down to a lowly court in Iowa... sending signals to lower courts on how they ought to do their jobs. But in the wake of Justice Antonin Scalia’s death — and what’s shaping up to be a hopeless political fight over Merrick Garland’s confirmation — there’s also a need for the institutional John Roberts to speak up, for the sake of the Supreme Court’s own ability to function.

The Huffington Post


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.


March 29




The following individuals applied for admission on motion to the Iowa Bar:

  • Christopher Ronald Henson, Pappas Davidson O'Connor & Fildes, P.C., Oak Park, IL

  • Aimee Bataillon, Woodke & Gibbons, Omaha, NE

  • Elizabeth Marie Lally, Zionsville, IN

  • Leah Brown Burkhead, Mark & Burkhead, Mission, KS

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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See more ISBA member benefits here


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