Iowa Lawyer Weekly (07/1/2015)
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    July 1, 2015
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Iowa courts first in nation to complete statewide electronic filing implementation

The Iowa State Bar Association applauds the Iowa Courts for making full, state-wide implementation of electronic filing official as of today, July 1. Now, Iowans with cases in any of the state's 99 counties can file and view court documents online from any computer 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"This is a truly transformational event that is changing the way the courts operate and serve Iowans," Chief Justice Mark Cady said. "EDMS gives more and more court users, including our citizens, law enforcement officers, the Department of Human Services, and hospitals secure, prompt, and easy access to judges, court records, and the court system. Today, Iowa is the first court system in the nation to have a totally electronic, paperless process for all cases at the district court level, and the appellate court level will be complete later this year."

The project began five years ago when the first court document was successfully filed electronically in the Plymouth County Clerk of Court Office. The project was completed Tuesday, June 30, when documents were filed electronically in the Allamakee, Chickasaw, Howard and Winneshiek county courthouses using the Electronic Document Management System. In the five years since the first document was filed in Plymouth County, nearly two million cases were filed online or by using one of the public access computers located in courthouses around the state. The EDMS cases included more than 6.5 million documents filed by nearly 88,000 users.

2015 ISBA Economic Survey shows law practices in good shape

Iowa attorneys appear to be holding their own – or maybe even enjoying a slight improvement – in their financial well-being based on the results of the 2015 ISBA Economic Survey. The survey, which is conducted every four to five years, monitors the financial health of the legal profession in the state, provides an understanding of the demographics of the membership, and collects accurate information on the economic realities of the legal profession to share with future attorneys and others who need information about the legal profession.

Of the 803 attorneys practicing full-time who responded to the question about change in their base salary compared with last year, 43 percent said it had increased. Thirty seven percent said it was unchanged.

The median (midpoint) for salaries for all attorneys was $86,300. That amount varied according to gender, with males reporting a median salary of $97,500 and females a median salary of $75,000. It also varied by number of years licensed, primary practice area and judicial election district where the practice was located.

Survey respondents reported additional income of $27,100 in bonuses, profit sharing, stock options and other compensation.

Conducted online by Readex Research in Stillwater, Minn., the survey also asked active ISBA members practicing in Iowa about salaries for staff and new associates, overhead expenses, billable hours and other practice management subjects. New to the survey this year were questions about student loan debt including the amount at graduation, the monthly payment and the number of years remaining before the debt is paid off.

To see highlights from the 97-page survey and to compare the survey results with your law practice, click here. To review full survey results, 424 pages, click here.

Court to focus on implicit bias training, access to justice issues

Today is the first day of the 2014-15 Iowa Supreme Court administrative term. During the administrative term, the supreme court will focus on the operations of the judicial branch. At the June 18 ISBA Board of Governor’s Meeting, Chief Justice Mark Cady provided a brief overview of some of the administrative matters set to generate discussion within the court this summer.

Implicit bias training. At the State of the Judiciary Address Jan. 14, Cady highlighted efforts to find solutions to end racial disparities in the criminal justice system. He provided an update on ongoing efforts June 18.

"We have been training all staff and all judges at all levels on implicit bias and we will be continuing to move forward with that this summer,” said Cady. "We are putting ourselves in a better position to address the issue.”

Comprehensive approach on access to justice issues. Cady remarked on plans to take a broad approach in considering ways to ensure access to justice for all Iowans.

"It is difficult for us to announce ourselves as a justice system if [our system] really doesn’t do the job for everyone,” Cady went on to say. "Access to justice really does have meaning but I think it can be addressed in a variety of ways – not just money, not just time. Those are important, but it also means that our process has to be done in a way that improves access to justice.”

Continued public outreach critical. The supreme court will continue to visit employees, staff and members of the public throughout the state this summer.

"It is critical for us to show the public how we do our work and the value of our work,” said Cady. "That is the way we build the public support for our profession and achieve our goals.”

Additional matters before the court this summer include: potential adoption of non-substantive updates to the Iowa Rules of Evidence, review of business court model, evaluation of judicial education and, if necessary, the court may schedule oral arguments for attorney ethics cases. Also, the court will continue to consider and dispose of applications for further review.

The 2015-16 Iowa Supreme Court adjudicative term begins Sept. 1. For more information on the administrative term or the 2014-15 adjudicative term, click here. Additional coverage of Cady’s June 18 dialogue with the ISBA Board of Governors will be featured in an upcoming issue of the Iowa Lawyer Magazine, available in mailboxes and online next month.


ISBA 2015 Affirmative Legislative Program bills effective today

Today is the first day of the State of Iowa’s fiscal year. This is also the date most laws passed during the 2015 legislative session become effective. The ISBA passed multiple bills from the 2015 Affirmative Legislative Program during the last session. This would not have been possible without the hard work of the ISBA sections, members and legislative team.

The governor has until July 6 to act upon bills passed in the last three days of the legislative session. These bills include the justice systems budget, the judicial branch budget, and the standing appropriations budget bill. The ISBA legislative team is hopeful the governor will sign theses bills and keep the language that appropriates funds for indigent defense contracts, the state public defender and judicial branch intact. The bills fund the state public defender and indigent defense at the levels from last year. The judicial branch would receive an additional $7.2 million compared to last year. Also, a judicial salary fund is created in the legislation.

ISBA 2015 Affirmative Legislative Program bills effective today include:

· HF 172, Revised Iowa Nonprofit Corporation Act (Iowa Code 504);

· HF 661, Probate & Trust Law Updates (Iowa Code 661);

· HF 569, Amendments to Garnishment Statute (Iowa Code 642);

· SF 223, Support of the Poor (Iowa Code 252); and

· SF 451, Bridge Order Amendment (Iowa Code 232)

For more information, look for an article by ISBA Legislative Counsel Jim Carney and Doug Struyk in an upcoming edition of The Iowa Lawyer.

Court appointments and reappointments

The Iowa Supreme Court made the following appointments and reappointments to the following boards and commissions of the court today, July 1.

Attorney Disciplinary Board
Jane Rosien Hardy, Winterset – Member
Andrew Chappell, Iowa City – Member
Dr. Debbie Nanda McCartney, Des Moines – Lay member
Sarah Cochran, Fairfield - Chair

Marti Nerenstone, Council Bluffs

Board of Law Examiners
Stacey Warren, Des Moines - Member
Lora McCollum, Clive

Board of Examiners of Shorthand Reporters

Tonya Gerke, State Center
Sarah Kleber, Sioux City – Non-reporter member

Commission on Continuing Legal Education
Judge Jeffrey Neary, Sioux City – Member
Joni Keith, Ottumwa – Member
Dr. Elaine Smith-Bright, Des Moines – Lay member
Werner Hellmer, Durango – Chair

Commission on the Unauthorized Practice of Law
Reyne See, Marshalltown – as Chair

Grievance Commission
Tiffany Kragnes, Fayette – Member
Shawn Smith, Ames – Member
John Heisterkamp, Council Bluffs – Member
Kristina Stanger, Urbandale – Member
Stacie Codr, Waukee – Member
Jenna Lain, Corydon – Member
Melissa Larson, Greenfield – Member
Julie Pottorff, Des Moines – Member
David McCauley, Johnston – Member
Wade Hauser III, Des Moines – Member
John Fatino, Des Moines – Member
Thomas H. Walton, Des Moines – Member
Mark Fisher, Cedar Rapids – Member
Melody Butz, Center Point – Member
Leah Patton, Walcott – Member
Kristine Stone, Bettendorf – Member
Amy Montgomery, Centerville – Member
Jennifer Schwickerath, New Hampton – Member
Melanie Summers Bauler, Wallingford – Member
Janet Willenbring, Dyersville – Lay member
Miriam Brown Tyson, Waterloo – Lay member
Marsha Park, Council Bluffs – Lay member
Sanjita Pradhan, Des Moines – Lay member
Wanda Noble, Johnston – Lay member
Trish Ellison, Cedar Rapids – Lay member
Mark S. Rolinger, Cedar Falls - Chair

James Garrett, Waukon
Shawn Harden, Independence
Kristen Ollenburg, Mason City
Scott Buchanan, Algona
Patricia Vogel, Orange City
Jeffrey Bump, Panora
Thomas P. Murphy, Adel
Janet Burkhead, Adel
Chad Boehlje, Pella
Jerry Foxhoven, Des Moines
Robert Holliday, Des Moines
Joseph Gamble, Des Moines
Carol Moser, Des Moines
Henny Ohr, Johnston
Felicia Bertin Rocha, Urbandale
Jennifer Zahradnik, Belle Plaine
Thomas Hobart, Iowa City
Joseph Schmall, Cedar Rapids
Katherine Lujan, Washington
Douglas VanDerVoort, Sioux City (lay member)
William Snyder, Waukee (lay member)
Kathy Maxwell, Iowa City (lay member)
Tracy Ely, Grinnell (lay member)
Jerry Droz, Fairfield (lay member)

Click here for appointments and here for reappointments to see the full orders including term lengths.

RSVP for inaugural Justice Fore All Golf (Western) outing, August 6 in Sioux Center

The Justice Fore All Golf (Western) event is a four-person best ball format golf outing with "shotgun” start including one beverage ticket for each participant, hole prizes and a day of fun away from the office. Sign up as a single, a pair, threesome or a complete foursome. All profits earned from the event will be donated to the ISBA Public Service Project.

Teams or individual participants must be signed up to play in the tournament no later than July 30. The golf outing includes appetizers and socializing after golf. Individuals who choose to not golf may join the event after 5:30 p.m.

Click here for more information. For a printable registration form, click here. Individuals with questions may contact Kelsey Bauerly via email at


In Other News ...

Judges ousted after Iowa gay marriage ruling feel proud
Legalizing gay marriage in Iowa carried a heavy cost for three justices of the Iowa Supreme Court who were booted off the bench in a subsequent judicial retention election after heavy spending to defeat them by groups opposing gay marriage. But for same-sex couples the judges' unanimous decision in 2009 was life-changing, allowing thousands to marry after the state became the third in the U.S. to legalize gay marriage.
The Messenger, Fort Dodge

Four to be inducted into Iowa Women's Hall of Fame
Four Iowa women will be honored with induction into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame this summer for their impact on the status of women in Iowa. The 2015 honorees, who will join 160 other women in the Hall of Fame, are Linda K. Neuman of Le Claire, Joyce Chapman of Des Moines, Michelle D. Johnson of the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado and Marsha Ternus of Grimes.
The Des Moines Register

What you need to know before purchasing fireworks
Family, friends and fireworks, three things, that many say, make for a perfect Fourth of July weekend. However, if you're celebrating in Iowa, you won't be seeing a lot of action unless it's at a professional fireworks show. "A simple way to put it here in Iowa is.. if it goes up or if it goes bang, it's probably illegal," says Sioux City Fire Marshal Mark Aesoph.
KTIV Channel 4, Sioux City

Iowa court orders group repay elderly Iowans money for fictitious psychic readings
A Polk County, Iowa judge is ordering a Brooklyn man to refund money to 78 Iowans. Joseph Meisels, an his International Astrology Foundation, will have to repay $13,740 to primarily elderly Iowans whom a judge said the group preyed on. Meisels will also be forced to pay a $20,000 fine. The group was sending letters to Iowans asking for money in return for help from fictitious psychics.
WOWT Channel 6, Omaha

Supreme Court says use of lethal injection drug is legal
The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 opinion, says the sedative used in Oklahoma's lethal injection cocktail does not violate the U.S. Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
Iowa Public Radio

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 26, 2015

No. 13-1061

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, James D. Scott, Judge.

A criminal defendant challenges the admission of evidence collected by his parole officer in parolee defendant’s home under the Iowa Constitution. AFFIRMED.

No. 13-1438
ROSELENE SANON and NEMI SANON, Individually and as Administrators of the ESTATE OF NEHMSON D. SANON, and PAULETTE CEZIL POGUE, Individually and as Administrator of the ESTATE OF GAEL CEZIL HRISPIN vs. CITY OF PELLA

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Robert B. Hanson, Judge.

Plaintiffs appeal and the city cross-appeals from a district court’s grant of partial summary judgment on claims arising out of the drowning deaths of two boys at the city’s swimming pool. AFFIRMED IN PART, REVERSED IN PART, AND CASE REMANDED WITH INSTRUCTIONS.

No. 13-1525

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Sioux County, Duane E. Hoffmeyer, Judge.

Plaintiff appeals interlocutory ruling compelling disclosure of trade secrets to competitor. REVERSED AND REMANDED WITH INSTRUCTIONS.

No. 13-1960

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Cerro Gordo County, Colleen Weiland, Judge.

A juvenile offender appeals his sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. DISTRICT COURT SENTENCE VACATED AND CASE REMANDED WITH INSTRUCTIONS.

No. 14-0175

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Story County, James C. Ellefson, Judge.

The State appeals the sentence imposed on a juvenile convicted of first-degree murder, contending the district court lacks authority to impose it. DISTRICT COURT SENTENCE VACATED AND CASE REMANDED WITH INSTRUCTIONS.

June 30, 2015

No. 13-0588

On review from the Iowa Court of Appeals. Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Webster County, Thomas J. Bice, Judge.

Defendant appeals her conviction for murder in the second degree for the death of her newborn son. DECISION OF COURT OF APPEALS VACATED; DISTRICT COURT JUDGMENT AFFIRMED IN PART AND REVERSED IN PART AND CASE REMANDED.

No. 13-0830

On review from the Iowa Court of Appeals. Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Webster County, Thomas J. Bice, Judge.

Defendant appeals and State cross-appeals district court restitution order requiring defendant pay restitution to the Crime Victim Compensation Program. DISTRICT COURT JUDGMENT REVERSED.

No. 13-1915

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Henry W. Latham II (motion to suppress), and John D. Telleen, Judges.

A criminal defendant appeals his convictions for possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, failure to affix a drug tax stamp, and knowingly transporting a revolver in a vehicle. He contends the district court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence discovered after officers opened a locked safe they found inside the defendant’s vehicle during a warrantless search incident to arrest. REVERSED AND REMANDED.

No. 14-0194

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dallas County, Randy V. Hefner, Judge.

A terminated employee appeals from a district court judgment entered on a jury verdict in favor of her employer on her claim for wrongful discharge in violation of public policy. AFFIRMED.



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