Iowa Lawyer Weekly (10/08/2014)
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October 8, 2014
Past Issues

Access to justice funding proposals open for public comment

The Supreme Court of Iowa filed an order Oct. 1 requesting public comments on recent access to justice funding recommendations. In addition to the ISBA Access to Justice Committee’s proposed pro hac vice fee, the court included other proposals in its request for comment.

Iowa Legal Aid proposed an adoption of a mandatory $100 annual fee for attorneys which would be put in the IOLTA fund. The court is also interested in public comments regarding its proposal that is similar to the Iowa legal Aid suggestion, but would allow attorneys the opportunity to affirmatively elect not to pay the $100 annual fee.

ISBA President Joe Feller, an attorney from Sibley, encourages members to take a close look at the funding proposals in the Supreme Court order and provide comments to the court before the closing date, Jan. 5.

The Iowa Judicial Branch made all the supporting documents available on its website here.

Those interested in commenting can send an email to Emails should include comments in a Microsoft Word attachment, and "Access to Justice” should be listed as the subject matter. Comments may also be mailed into the Clerk of the Supreme Court, Judicial Branch Building, 1111 East Court Ave., Des Moines, Iowa, 50319.

2014 Judicial Performance Review results open to public

Results from The Iowa State Bar Association’s biennial survey of judges standing for retention in this year’s general election were tabulated and are now available to the public.

The ISBA has conducted the biennial performance review since 1962 when Iowa adopted its merit system for selecting judges. The review is designed to give voters information on which to base their decisions about keeping a judge in office. The ISBA encourages members to share the results with their friends, family, clients and communities.

Click here to view the full results of this year's performance evaluation. Additionally, Iowa voters can find information about the professional qualifications and background of every judge at the Iowa Judicial Branch website here.

American Judicature Society closes its doors after 101-year run

After 101 years of fighting for fair and impartial courts across the nation, one of the bastions of that fight has closed its doors. Friday, Sept. 26, the Board of Directors of the American Judicature Society (AJS) approved a plan to dissolve the society and wind up its affairs.

Founded in 1913 and headquartered for many years in Des Moines, AJS moved to Nashville, Tenn., a couple of years ago. According to AJS President Tom Leighton, the membership model upon which AJS was built has become more challenging in the last several years for many non-profit organizations around the country. At the same time, new non-profit entities with organizational and financial structures more suited to the times have joined AJS in its fight for fair and impartial courts. The American Judicature Society’s Board of Directors decided that rather than operate on a limited scale, and rather than duplicate the excellent work of other similar entities, AJS should find new homes for its core functions.

In the coming weeks, AJS will reach out to these entities in an effort to ensure the continued operation of its Center for Judicial Ethics and its journal, Judicature, which serves as a forum regarding all aspects of the administration of justice and its improvement.

Among the society’s notable accomplishments are the development of the "Missouri Plan” for judicial selection, the creation of state judicial conduct commissions and judicial nominating committees and publication of its award winning peer-reviewed journal, Judicature.

Read President Leighton’s complete comments here.

District Court Judgeship vacancy opens due to retirement

Due to the retirement of Honorable Carla T. Schemmel, Election District 5C, the 5C Judicial Nominating Commission is accepting applications to fill the judgeship vacancy.

The deadline for applications is Nov. 6. Interviews are expected to be held at the Polk County Courthouse Nov. 13.

Anyone wishing to be considered for the position must be an attorney admitted to the practice of law in Iowa, a resident of the Judicial District 5C and must be able to complete the initial and one regular term of office prior to reaching age 72. A regular term for a district judge is six years.

Judicial applications can be obtained from Sherrie Schuck, Office of the District Court Administrator, Room 409, Polk County Courthouse, in Des Moines. The applications must be submitted to the chairperson of the Judicial Nominating Commission, District 5C, with a copy submitted to each member of the commission.

For further details, interested individuals can view the Notice of Judicial Vacancy here.

Iowa Court of Appeals to Hear Two Days of Oral Arguments in Iowa City

The Iowa Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments Oct. 15-16 at the University of Iowa College of Law. The event is open to the public, although seating is limited.

The oral arguments will begin at 9:10 a.m. in the law school’s Levitt Auditorium, room 295, in the Boyd Law Building at Melrose Avenue and Byington Road in Iowa City. The nine-member court of appeals decides cases with randomly selected panels of three judges. Each of the three panels will hear three cases both days.

A complete schedule of the 18 arguments is on the Judicial Branch website here. To read the full press release, click here.

In Other News...

New juvenile court diversion program gets off ground in ICCSD
A new juvenile justice diversion program for students in the Iowa City Community School District is up and running, though it has only been put to use once in the month since it was introduced. Students in the school district facing a first-time disorderly conduct charge on ICCSD grounds can now opt to complete a multi-step program in lieu of the simple misdemeanor charge being filed.
Iowa City Press-Citizen

Candidates face off for Iowa attorney general job
Iowa Attorney General Duties of the state attorney general: Act as the state's chief law enforcement officer. Monitor consumer protection laws and prosecute high-profile criminal cases.

USA defends NSA spying but won't explain
Even if there were evidence that a domestic spying program was unconstitutional, interference by the courts could cause "exceptionally grave damage" to national security, the government told a federal judge. Urging U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White to deny the plaintiffs partial summary judgment and instead rule for the government, the Monday filing from the Department of Justice says that the National Security Administration's information-collecting techniques do not violate the Fourth Amendment.
Courthouse New Service

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.

Benefit of the Week

Staples Advantage

All ISBA members, regardless of the size of the individual law firm, are part of a nearly 8,000-person buying group giving you access to all the significant price breaks that Staples Advantage has created for the program. With Staples Advantage, you now have access to products you use every day at special contract prices.

Aside from office supplies, the Staples Advantage program offers:

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To get more information and to setup your law firm with access to the website, please contact account manager Renee Dunatchik. Renee can be reached via e-mail at, or by phone at 800-693-9900, Ext. 24729.