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    October 28, 2015
Past Issues  

District 8B nominating commission accepting applications for retiring Judge Danielson’s position

The Judicial Nominating Commission for Iowa’s Eighth Judicial District, Subdistrict B is accepting applications for a district court judge to replace Judge Cynthia Danielson who is retiring effective Jan. 28.


Judge Danielson, Mount Pleasant, Iowa, was appointed to the bench in 1999 after working in private practice since 1976 during which time she also served four years as a Henry County judicial magistrate and 12 years as a judicial hospital referee for Henry County. She is a long-time member of the Iowa Judges Association and served as its president from 2012-2013.


Applicants for the district judge position must be admitted to the Iowa Bar, live in judicial district 8B, which is comprised of Des Moines, Henry, Lee and Louisa Counties, and be able to serve an initial and one regular term of office before reaching the age of 72.


Copies of the application can be obtained from the District Court Administrator’s office for the Eighth Judicial District, 211 East Fourth Street, Ottumwa, IA  52501, by emailing, or by calling 641-684-6502, ext 110.


All applications must be received by the court administrator’s office no later than 4:30 p.m., Nov. 13. The commission expects to conduct interviews Nov. 17.

Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals to hear cases at Drake

The United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit will hold a special session Thursday, Nov. 5, at Drake University’s Neal and Bea Smith Law Center, 24th Street and University Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa.


Judges Lavenski R.Smith, Steven M. Colloton and Jane Kelly will hear arguments in the cases of National Surety Corporation v. Dustex Corporation, National Surety Corporation v. Miron Construction Co., Clarke County Development Corporation v. Affinity Gaming, et al., and Kathy Kelleher v. Wal-Mart Stores.


The special session begins at 1 p.m., and is open to the public. More information is available here.

Pro Bono Month nearing end; need for assistance continues

October Pro Bono Month is coming to an end. Organizers want to commend you for the good work that has been done, and remind you there are still individuals hoping for attorneys to take their cases.


According to Brett Toresdahl, executive director of the ISBA’s Public Service Project, a reminder email is being sent this week with a list of cases in your area that still need assistance. Please take a moment to read the email, look at the list and consider how you may be able to help meet this year’s goal of: "Every client who is waiting for a volunteer will get an attorney by the end of October.”


While October is set aside as pro bono month, the need for pro bono is a year-round issue, Toresdahl says. He urges all attorneys to experience the satisfaction of assisting someone in need of legal help pro bono.


Record number of U of I students attend rural practice presentation

Approximately 40 students at the University of Iowa College of Law turned out for a discussion of rural practice opportunities during a gathering at the law school last Thursday, Oct. 22. The attendance represents the largest number of students who have expressed an interest in rural practice in the four years that the ISBA’s Rural Practice Committee has made presentations at the U of I.


Committee chair Phil Garland moderated the panel of presenters. He provided background information on the program and explained the concept of matching students with rural attorneys for the summer as a way of letting students try out a rural practice while also gaining practical knowledge in the practice of law.


Kay Oskvig, a 2014 U of I College of Law graduate and now attorney with Cambridge Investments in Fairfield, Iowa, told the students about the variety of experiences she gained as a clerk during the summer following her first year of law school. Carrie Rodriguez, a 2015 U of I graduate who joined Garland’s firm in Garner, Iowa, as an associate, stressed the importance of communicating with rural attorneys with whom they might like to work. "Reach out and establish relationships,” she said.


ISBA President Bruce Walker stressed the importance of new, young attorneys taking jobs in the state’s rural areas. A high percentage of rural attorneys currently in practice are older and many are considering retirement in the near future. If they aren’t replaced with new blood within the next few years, Iowa will undergo the crisis in legal representation that states such as Nebraska and South Dakota are already experiencing, he said.


Visits to Drake Law School and Creighton University School of Law are scheduled for the first part of next month. If attendance by interested students is comparable to that at Iowa, the Rural Practice Committee will be looking for a sizeable number of rural attorneys to hire a summer clerk or a full-time associate. If you would be willing to hire a clerk or associate, please contact committee chair Garland at (641-923-3792), or Steve Boeckman, committee staff liaison, at (515-490-2279).

News from the law schools

The Drake University Agricultural Law Center, in cooperation with the Iowa State University Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, will host a two-day conference to explore soil and water conservation policy on Nov. 19-20 at Drake’s Olmstead Center. More than 40 speakers from a wide range of individuals and organizations are scheduled to address issues such as: Are Iowa’s soil and water resources adequately protected under state law? Are the soil conservation programs and institutions created over the last 70 years up to the challenge of protecting Iowa’s soil?


Details about the conference, including registration information, can be found at this link. Click on "Program.”


The Citizen Lawyer Program at the University of Iowa will host a Pro Bono Recognition Ceremony and Reception tomorrow, Oct. 29, at 12:40 p.m. in Levitt Auditorium as part of the ABA's National Pro Bono Celebration.


The ceremony will feature remarks by Matt Hulstein, a 2012 Iowa Law alumnus who serves as a staff attorney with Chicago Volunteer Legal Services. In addition, members will be recognized and the winner of the 1L Service Challenge will be announced. Refreshments will be served.


In Other News ...

Branstad: State will investigate wrongful convictions
The Iowa Public Defender's Office is establishing a special state unit to review and identify potential cases involving wrongful convictions and to pursue legal remedies, Gov. Terry Branstad said Monday. "We know that in a system run by humans, mistakes can be made,” Branstad told reporters at an Iowa Capitol news conference. Iowans have great confidence in their criminal justice system, but even in a well-regarded system, issues can arise, he added.
The Des Moines Register

Iowa West grant helps Latinos seeking legal advice

Low-income Latino families in need of help with immigration law no longer have to cross the Missouri River for legal help. In January, the Omaha-based branch of Justice for Our Neighbors, which offers legal consultations provided by professional attorneys who specialize in immigration law, opened a satellite office at Centro Latino in downtown Council Bluffs.
The Daily Nonpareil, Council Bluffs

Volunteer attorney spotlights
The dedication of our local volunteer attorneys has played a key role in helping Iowa Legal Aid serve clients across the state, including in the North Central Iowa service area which stretches from Emmet to Floyd counties. Many outstanding volunteer attorneys work with our staff in the North Central Iowa Regional Office in Mason City to bring hope, dignity and justice to low-income Iowans who have nowhere else to turn. Among them are Phil Garland, Judge Don Bormann and Rolf Aronsen and we are so fortunate to have the talent, expertise and experience that they bring to Iowa Legal Aid and its clients.

Notorious RBG: The Supreme Court Justice turned cultural icon
Supreme Court justices are generally robed and mysterious figures. Their faces are not emblazoned on T-shirts, painted on fingernails, tattooed on arms and shoulders, and their characters are not parodied on TV programs ranging from Saturday Night Live to Scandal. At least not until Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg became a cultural icon at about the same time she turned 80. Much of that iconic status is attributed to a Tumblr called "Notorious R.B.G.," which now has been transformed into a graphic nonfiction book due out Tuesday.
National 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.

October 23

No. 13-1573


On review from the Iowa Court of Appeals. Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Glenn E. Pille, Judge.

A criminal defendant appeals the sentences imposed after he pled guilty to multiple offenses, contending the convictions should merge because voluntary manslaughter requires that the defendant have specific intent to kill. DECISION OF COURT OF APPEALS AND JUDGMENT OF DISTRICT COURT VACATED; CASE REMANDED.


No. 14-1280


Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Mills County, James M. Richardson, Judge.

Defendant appeals from order denying motion to dismiss kidnapping charge as time-barred. DISTRICT COURT ORDER REVERSED AND CASE REMANDED WITH INSTRUCTIONS.


No. 14-2161


Certiorari to the Iowa District Court for Dubuque County, Monica L. Ackley, Judge.

The district court held both the Assistant County Attorney and the entire Dubuque County Attorney’s Office were disqualified from prosecuting a case. The State filed a petition for a writ of certiorari. WRIT SUSTAINED AND CASE REMANDED.



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