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    April 13, 2016
Past Issues  

Investitures for new federal judges scheduled for next week

Three recently appointed federal judges will be invested during official swearing-in ceremonies next week. Following are the dates and times for each:

Judge C.J. Williams, 1:30 p.m., Thursday, April 21, Donald E. O’Brien Courtroom, United States Courthouse, 320 Sixth St., Sioux City, Iowa. Biography available here.

Judge Leonard Strand, 3 p.m., Thursday, April 21, 2016, 3 p.m., Donald E. O’Brien Courtroom, United States Courthouse, 320 Sixth St., Sioux City, Iowa. Biography available here.

District Judge Rebecca Goodgame Ebinger, 2 p.m., April 22, U.S. District Courthouse for the Southern District of Iowa, 123 East Walnut Street, Des Moines, Iowa. Biography available here.

Iowa AG’s office seeking input

The Iowa Attorney General’s office is requesting that attorneys complete a survey that will assist it in determining what services will best serve older victims. The survey is required by the federal government as a condition of the $399,994 grant it recently received to aid in the fight against abuse in later life.

Part of the grant money, which was awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, a division of the U.S. Department of Justice, will be used to train judges, prosecutors, law enforcement, advocates, attorneys and other providers. Another portion will be used for direct victim services. The survey responses from attorneys and other organizations and professionals will help the AG’s office determine gaps in services for older victims of abuse, and obtain funding to provide the most-needed services.

Survey responses are needed by the end of April, according to Chantelle Smith, assistant attorney general and grant project coordinator. Click here to access the survey, which is powered by Survey Monkey.

Author of book made into ‘The Butler’ movie to discuss latest book on Thurgood Marshall

Wil Haygood, the author of a New York Times bestselling book that was the basis for the movie "The Butler” starring Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey and John Cusack, will discuss his latest book "Showdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination that Changed America” at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, April 21, at the Temple for Performing Arts in Des Moines, Iowa.

Haygood’s latest work about the first African American supreme court justice was named "Best Book of the Year” by National Public Radio, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe and the Baltimore Magazine. The book also recently won the prestigious 2016 Scribes Book Award.

The lecture is part of the Salsbury House’s History series. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased on the Salisbury House & Gardens website here. Doors open at 7 p.m.


Register for the Elder Law Section’s CLE

A message from Deanna Clingan-Fischer and Greg Kenyon, Elder Law Section Co-Chairs

The ISBA Elder Law Section, in partnership with the Foster Group and the Bradshaw Law Firm, is hosting a CLE event as a part of the Governor’s Conference on Aging and Disabilities. The event will be held May 23 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Iowa Events Center, in Des Moines, Iowa.

With the aging of America’s population, attorneys and other professionals can expect to see many more situations where legal questions arise regarding capacity, impairment, planning for incapacity and rights. This elder law intensive will seek to create a learning environment in which topics such as medical capacity, competency, powers of attorney, guardianship, administrative appeals and mediation will be presented and discussed.

Featured speakers include Dr. Robert Bender, Margaret Van Houten, Josephine Gittler, Frank Tenuta, Jo Kline Cebuhar, Jennifer Donovan, Kristen Hall and Sally Hurme.

This event will provide 6.00 state CLE hours. For a complete schedule and more information, visit the conference website.


Social Security Administration seeking future administrative law judges

The Social Security Administration plans to add up to 250 administrative law judge positions nationwide in the near future. Though none of the open positions are currently posted, the agency recommends that interested individuals begin preparing for the application process now since the window for applying may be short.

To prepare for the application process, go to, click on "create an account” and follow the instructions. Once the account is created you can store up to five distinct resumes, save and automate job searches, save and apply for jobs, etc.

To watch a video featuring several administrative law judges talking about their work, click here. You can also find more about the administrative law judge opportunity and the qualifications for becoming an administrative law judge by clicking on several links on the same page.

Supreme Court Opinions
April 8

No. 13–1238
STATE OF IOWA vs. KEVIN DUANE FISHER II A defendant challenges his guilty plea for failure to inform him of certain consequences of the plea. DECISION OF COURT OF APPEALS VACATED; DISTRICT COURT JUDGMENT AND SENTENCE VACATED AND CASE REMANDED.

No. 14–1112

No. 15–2008
IN THE MATTER OF THE INQUIRY CONCERNING JOSEPH SEVCIK, Judicial Magistrate, First Judicial District. On application of the Iowa Commission on judicial qualifications filed application to discipline part-time judicial magistrate for misuse of expunged court files. APPLICATION GRANTED; JUDICIAL OFFICER REPRIMANDED.



In Other News ...

Iowa courts brace for cutbacks
The administrator of Iowa’s court system said Tuesday he has alerted courthouse officials they may be in for another round of layoffs, furloughs, reduced hours or other belt-tightening measures due to a fiscal 2017 state budget that likely won’t include the Judicial Branch’s requested $5.6 million increase. "It’s bleak at the moment,” said State Court Administrator David Boyd given that the overall spending target is $5.24 million above current appropriations for a justice system budget area that includes Iowa’s corrections system, public safety and public defense departments, the Iowa attorney general’s office and other programs in addition to Iowa’s court system.
Quad-City Times

Supreme Court to swear in large group of deaf lawyers
Mobile phones ordinarily are strictly forbidden in the marble courtroom of the nation's highest court, but the justices are making an exception next week when roughly a dozen deaf and hard-of-hearing lawyers will be admitted to the Supreme Court bar. The lawyers will use their phones to see a real-time transcript as they take part in an April 19 swearing-in ceremony featuring the largest group of hearing-impaired attorneys ever admitted at one time to practice before the high court. Advocates for deaf lawyers say they hope the event will encourage others with disabilities to pursue legal careers.
ABC News

Five years of supreme outreach by Iowa's highest court
Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady stopped by Friday to meet with our editorial board. It’s been five years since the last time we spoke with him. Back then, the state’s highest court was dealing with the aftermath of the 2010 election... Cady told us, since then, the court has heard oral arguments in 22 Iowa communities. Justices have made 140 public appearances at schools and community colleges. "It’s been something where we not only see success, but we feel it when we go into communities,” Cady said.
The Gazette

Avvo legal forms: A real stinker
I learned from this post by Bob Ambrogi that Avvo, an online legal-services marketplace, has announced that it "has added a selection of no-cost, high-quality legal forms for family, business, estate planning and real estate to its website.” Avvo apparently expects to have more than 200 forms available by the end of 2016. With no enthusiasm, I duly completed the questionnaire for one of the forms on offer, a mutual nondisclosure agreement. Here are my impressions.
Adams on Contract Drafting

Due to lack of counsel, New Orleans judge freezes cases against seven inmates,
orders their release

In the latest development in an ongoing Louisiana public defender funding crisis, a New Orleans judge on Friday froze the cases of seven inmates charged with serious felonies— including rape and second-degree murder—because they have been held for months without access to counsel. "The defendants’ constitutional rights are not contingent upon budget demands, waiting lists and the failure of the legislature to adequately fund indigent defense,” said District Judge Arthur Hunter in his written decision.
ABA Journal

The Iowa Supreme Court says defendants facing drug charges must be told that
they'll lose their driving privileges for six months if they plead guilty
The Iowa Supreme Court says defendants facing drug charges must be told that they'll lose their driving privileges for six months if they plead guilty. The court ruled Friday that defendants also have a right to know the amount of mandatory surcharges they'll be required to pay on top of their fines.
The Daily Journal


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.



April 12







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

  • Alison L. Miner, West Des Moines, IA

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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