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    June 1, 2016
Past Issues  

A message from the president:

Dear Members:

The Iowa Supreme Court this morning announced that it will establish a hiring freeze for all vacancies in the judicial branch and hold open judicial vacancies for an average of six months as a way of compensating for the $5.4 million shortfall in Fiscal Year 2017 funding.

There is little question that the level of services delivered by the judicial branch to our citizens will not be maintained. This shortfall will affect the provision of services beginning July 1.

Other actions the court decided to take include: Reducing travel by 10 percent, reducing furniture and non-IT equipment purchases by 50 percent and instituting a moratorium on the expansion of specialty courts. Click here for more information on actions being taken. Click here to view the news release issued by the court this morning that provides additional information.

I encourage you to be patient with our judicial branch this year. The court’s actions will result in tough consequences that will be felt by Iowa lawyers and most Iowans using our court system.

As such, once the court has determined its needs for Fiscal Year 2018, I encourage all Iowa lawyers to use their talents in a concerted effort to persuade their local legislators to fully fund our judicial branch. Thank you for your help in advance.

Very truly yours,

Bruce L. Walker

Top four notable CLE presentations planned for 2016 ISBA Annual Meeting

People attend the ISBA’s largest event of the year for a number of reasons. There are many opportunities to socialize and be involved in the pomp and circumstance of transitioning leadership into a new fiscal year, but nothing draws more attorneys to the event than the large number of CLE offerings in one location. This year there are four notable CLEs that members may want to attend:

  • Mentorship: The Key to Iowa Attorney’s Professionalism 
    This presentation will cover various aspects of mentorship and how it relates to attorney professionalism. Presented by Past ABA President Robert Grey, Jr., Richmond, Virginia, Wednesday, June 15, from 11 a.m. - 12 p.m. This CLE provides one state CLE credit hour

  • Evidence in Action: Critical Issues in Federal Evidence
    This presentation features the Q&A of courtroom testimony with evidence points interspersed during the courtroom drama. Presented by Prof. Ronald Carlson, University of Georgia School of Law, Athens, Georgia, and Michael Carlson, Cobb County District Attorney’s Office, Marietta, Georgia. Wednesday, June 15, from 9:20 – 10:20 a.m. This CLE provides one state and one federal CLE credit hour.

  • Ethical Responsibility Concerning Confidential Information and Cyber Security Risk Management
    This program discusses the growing information security risks law firms face today and the various business and legal factors contributing to law firm decisions to implement more stringent data security practices. Presented by Theresa Garthwaite and Lisa Jaffee, CNA Insurance, Chicago, Illinois. Wednesday, June 15, from 1:30 – 3 p.m. This CLE provides one and a half state, one and a half federal, and one and a half ethics CLE credit hours.

  • Anatomy of a Hoax
    Using evidence collected during the investigation, this presentation will discuss the facts of the Duke Lacrosse case and how the defense attorneys were able to have the prosecution dismissed and their clients declared innocent by the Attorney General of North Carolina. Presented by James Cooney, III, Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, L.L.P., Charlotte, North Carolina. Tuesday, June 14, from 9:10 – 10:10 a.m. This CLE provides one state and one federal CLE credit hour.

For a full list of CLE offerings or to register for the meeting, visit the 2016 Annual Meeting event page.

Public Relations Committee seeks eligible chairperson 

The ISBA is searching for a member who is interested in becoming the committee chair for the Public Relations Committee for the upcoming year. The committee chair is responsible for facilitating committee discussion meetings and the development of PR and marketing campaigns. The objective of the committee is to create and maintain a good public image of the legal profession and the ISBA.


Bar association members interested in serving one year as chair of the Public Relations Committee are encouraged to email Dwight Dinkla at


June Iowa Lawyer now available online

The June issue of the Iowa Lawyer Magazine is now available online. In this issue, the Iowa Lawyer will introduce the new ISBA president and the new Drake University Law School Dean.  It will also feature articles about Medicaid modernization, drug testing in Iowa and the Affordable Care Act.


Those who elect to receive the print version of the magazine should see it in mailboxes in the next week or so. To view the digital version, navigate to, click 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.

Iowa Supreme Court appoints members to the Iowa Child Support Guidelines Review Committee

The Iowa Supreme Court appointed members to the 2016 Iowa Child Support Guidelines Review Committee May 26. According to the Federal Family Support Act of 1998, states are required to review child support guidelines every four years.


The following individuals will complete committee objectives and submit a final report with findings and recommendations no later than Dec. 12:

  • Wayne Bergman, Assistant Attorney General, Des Moines 
  • Honorable Thomas A. Bitter, First  Judicial District, Dubuque 
  • Eric Borseth, Attorney, Altoona
  • Honorable Susan Christensen, Fourth Judicial District, Harlan
  • Jill M. Davis, Attorney, Spencer
  • Kevin E. Kaufman, Assistant Attorney General, Davenport 
  • Honorable Chad A. Kepros, Sixth Judicial District, Iowa City 
  • Steven H. Lytle, Attorney, Des Moines
  • Evelyn  Ocheltree, Attorney, Legal Aid, Mason City
  • Honorable Eliza Ovrom, Fifth Judicial District, Des Moines (Co-Chair)
  • Marlis J. Robberts, Attorney, Burlington (Co-Chair) 
  • Dennis R. Ringgenberg, Attorney, Sioux City 
  • DeShawne Bird-Sell, Attorney, Glenwood
  • Alison Werner Smith, Attorney, Iowa City
  • John Wood, Attorney, Waterloo

Per the order filed last week, the committee is responsible for analyzing information about the number of deviations from the Iowa guidelines; study current data concerning child-raising costs and other economic measures; compare Iowa's guidelines with child-rearing measures and the guidelines of other states; review and consider the findings and recommendations of the Iowa Child Support Advisory Committee; and consider other information deemed necessary or useful for thorough review of the current Iowa child support guidelines.

Law Day in Cedar Rapids focuses on students

High school students from three Cedar Rapids, Iowa, schools were the focal point of the city’s 2016 Law Day festivities, May 1. The event organizers hosted several activities designed to encourage students to be positive change agents in their community.


United States Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa, Kevin W. Techau, stated that the program aimed to challenge students to think about fundamental ideals upon which this country was founded and reminded them that they have the power to put their energy and skills to work for the common good.


The event keynote speaker was Betty C. Andrews, president of the Iowa-Nebraska NAACP. She touched on the subject of racial equity and challenged the students to dream big and dream bold.


Mayor Ron Corbett gave the opening address, declaring the Law Day celebration an opportunity to promote a better understanding of the roots of our freedoms and to serve as a reminder that even the youngest members of our society can effect positive social change.

Caption (left to right): Kevin Techau, Betty C. Andrews and Dr. Carlos Grant

Supreme Court Opinions
May 27

No. 14–0207

DAVID L. TAFT JR., Plaintiff, vs. IOWA DISTRICT COURT FOR LINN COUNTY A person committed under the Sexually Violent Predator Act alleges statutory criteria for suitability for placement in a transitional release program violate the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Iowa and the United States Constitutions. AFFIRMED.

No. 14–0455

STATE OF IOWA vs. ISAIAH RICHARD SWEET A juvenile offender convicted of first-degree murder appeals from the district court’s order sentencing him to life in prison without the possibility of parole. DISTRICT COURT SENTENCE REVERSED AND CASE REMANDED WITH INSTRUCTIONS


No. 15–0806

OYENS FEED & SUPPLY, INC. vs. PRIMEBANK A federal district court certified two questions of law in a priority dispute between competing creditors of a bankrupt hog operation. CERTIFIED QUESTIONS ANSWERED.


The Iowa Supreme Court recently issued orders granting or denying applications for further review in 55 cases.


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