Iowa Lawyer Weekly (10/29/2014)
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October 29, 2014
Past Issues

Editor’s note: Due to extenuating circumstances, the Nov. 5 Iowa Lawyer Weekly e-newsletter is canceled. The next Iowa Lawyer Weekly will be posted Nov. 12. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

New Iowa ethics opinion addresses wrongful lawyer accusations

A new ethics opinion was recently posted to the ISBA’s Committee on Ethics and Practice Guidelines page. The opinion covers wrongfully accusing a lawyer of unethical conduct, fraud, dishonesty or deceit to gain a tactical advantage.

Those interested in reviewing the opinion can click here or visit the Ethics Advice/Opinions page by going to, navigating to "Practice Tools” on the top navigation, then "Ethics Advice/Opinions."

Civil jury trial schedule now available via email

The Litigation Committee of the Young Lawyers Division is now offering a weekly email service for ISBA members that identifies all civil jury trials for each coming week, and provides a report of the verdicts from the past week. The purpose of this initiative is to help attorneys improve skills through jury trial observation and provide more seasoned litigators with an almost real-time report of civil verdicts in venues where they practice.

The email identifies civil jury trial dates, locations, case names and numbers, claims and attorneys involved. The emails also include the results of the previous week’s case results. Lawyers who can attend these civil jury trials can learn from other litigators, view different trial strategies and gain insights to aid in future trials of their own.

Anyone interested in adding his or her email address to the civil jury trial mailing list, visit the ISBA website and select Young Lawyers Division under the "Member Groups" tab. Once on this page, select the Litigation Committee, lastly select the "Join Group" icon. By joining the group, attorneys will receive these weekly emails as well as other Litigation Committee information.

For any questions, contact Tom Hillers at

Judge Cohen to be recognized for child advocacy

The Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Council is holding its 17th Annual Benefit Auction Nov. 7 at Hotel Fort Des Moines in downtown Des Moines. During the event, Judge Constance Cohen, of the Fifth Judicial District, will be presented with the 2014 Michele A. Moore Award of Distinction.

The award, formerly named the Compassion for Families Award, was instituted to recognize outstanding advocates for children in Polk County. The award was later renamed in honor of the lifetime work of Michele A. Moore, who was posthumously awarded in 2003.

Cocktail hour begins at 6:30 p.m. and the program begins at 7:30 p.m. Those interested in attending the event must register online here, or by emailing Shannon Tuhn at

Hrastich announced as new IRS tax rep for attorneys

Kyle Hrastich was recently named the Senior Stakeholder Liaison with the Internal Revenue Service in Iowa. In the position, Hrastich will help attorneys navigate IRS policy, practice and procedures as well as assist in finding the tax information needed by attorneys.

Those needing IRS questions answered can contact Hrastich at or 515-564-6781.

YLD urges members to provide comments on Basic Skills Course

Amos Hill, president of the Young Lawyers Division, recently urged members of the YLD to provide comments to the Iowa Supreme Court regarding potential changes to the Basic Skills Course requirement as well as other requests for public comment. The deadline for public comments on the Basic Skills Course is Nov. 10.

In a Sept. 11 court order, Chief Justice Mark Cady requested comments on proposed recommendations on whether the Basic Skills requirement should be retained for persons admitted to practice law in Iowa, and, if so, whether the course or the requirements of the course should be revised.

Those interested in providing public comments or learning more can view the order here or visit the Iowa Judicial Branch website at, navigating to "About the Courts,” then clicking on "Supreme Court.” From the left navigation, click "Orders.” Public comments may be emailed to or mailed to the clerk of the Supreme Court. Those providing comments should review the order for formatting specifications.

Public comment requested on shorthand reporters

Chief Justice Cady signed an order Oct. 24 requesting public comment regarding proposed rules for certification of qualified military service applicants and veterans as shorthand reporters. The deadline for submitting comments is Nov. 25.

Those interested in providing public comments or learning more can view the order here or visit the Iowa Judicial Branch website at, navigating to "About the Courts,” then clicking on "Supreme Court.” From the left navigation, click "Orders.” Public comments may be emailed to or mailed to the clerk of the Supreme Court. Those providing comments should review the order for formatting specifications.

Become a fan of the ISBA Center for Law & Civic Education's new Facebook page and keep up with the Middle School Mock Trial Regional and State Competitions.

In Other News...

Reader's Watchdog: Is jury duty an unfair process?
The first thing Lynn and Mike Struck want to make clear is that they are not looking for special treatment. The Urbandale couple just wants to know why some people — like Lynn — get called again and again for jury duty, while others — like Mike — never do. Both say they understand the importance of serving. But they question whether the process in Iowa is fair since, anecdotally, others tell them the process is so hit-and-miss.
The Des Moines Register

Iowa Supreme Court ruling means testifying via video will remain rare
The constitutional right to confront one’s accuser in court in person was upheld Friday when the Iowa Supreme Court denied a prosecution request in a Dubuque County case to allow witnesses to appear via video teleconference.

The justices said virtual electronic presence in the courtroom may someday become an adequate constitutional substitute for physical presence, "but we are not there yet.”

Young attorney garners Superman comparison in court
Amos Hill recalls his first big case as a lawyer, in 2011, when he defended a design firm caught up in a lawsuit. It went to a civil jury trial at the Polk County Courthouse, involving five parties, high damage claims and multiple attorneys. Hill, now 30, was the youngest one in the room. He calls it his Superman trial.
The Des Moines Register

Paperless Scott County Court Has Potential To Make Sensitive Records Safer
The courts are supposed to protect us from criminals, but court records can contain a wealth of your personal information, ripe for the taking. That's changing in Iowa, and Scott County is the latest to start upgrading to a new system. Stories TV-6 covers send us to the courthouse a lot to get records and information. Some of the stuff we find is surprising.

Are courts for sale? Study sees influence of judicial campaign ads in criminal appeals
Two columnists are blaming Citizens United for the influx of outside money into judicial races and are raising questions about the impact. Their question: Are courts for sale? Columns in the New York Times and Mother Jones assert that outside money is pouring into judicial elections since the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010 struck down a ban on corporate campaign spending on independent ads before an election. While spending overall on judicial races dipped in the next election cycle after the ruling, reported outside spending on judicial races rose to a record-high $24.9 million, Mother Jones says.
ABA Journal

Quarantined nurse allowed to go home after hiring civil-rights lawyer for legal challenge
A nurse quarantined at a New Jersey hospital because she treated Ebola patients will be allowed to go home after hiring a civil-rights lawyer to challenge her confinement. Kaci Hickox, 33, was detained at Newark Liberty International Airport after returning from Sierra Leone on Friday under a mandatory quarantine established by the state, report the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) and Reuters.
ABA Journal

LegalZoom products will be sold at a discount through Sam's Club
Sam’s Club members will be able to get "exclusive savings” on LegalZoom products under a partnership announced last week between the discount retailer and the legal-document company.
ABA 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.


No. 13–1329

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dubuque County, Monica L. Ackley, Judge.
The defendant in a criminal case brings an interlocutory appeal from the district court’s pretrial order allowing several of the State’s witnesses to testify by two-way videoconference. REVERSED AND REMANDED.



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