February 21, 2018  Past Issues

Mock Trial regionals still need judges

High school mock trial regionals kick off Feb. 27 in Des Moines, and the ISBA is still in need of volunteer judges for many of the events, which continue through March 13.

Those interested in volunteering can sign up online at the registration page. For a complete schedule of the competition dates and locations, click here.

Last year, more than 2,000 students from across Iowa participated. Without the assistance of volunteer judges, these competitions would not be possible. Volunteer judges do not have to be attorneys to participate as a mock trial judge. Judges will be asked to assess student performances as they take on the roles of attorneys and witnesses.

Reminder: Annual CLE reports due March 10

The Iowa Supreme Court’s Office of Professional Regulation needs your annual CLE and Client Security Reports by March 10. If you are short some CLE hours you will need to file an extension so that courses you attend in 2018 can be included on your CLE transcript. There is a $25 fee to file for an extension.

Can’t remember the activity numbers for courses you attended? The ISBA and the CLE Commission office can help. If you attended ISBA-sponsored events last year, click here for a list of those events, the amount and type of credit (state, federal, ethics and juvenile) and the activity numbers. For other events, click on the CLE Commission office link here.

ISBA president testifies during budget hearing

ISBA President Steve Eckley attended a public hearing at the statehouse on Monday on the house’s budget deappropriation plan for FY2018. He discussed the “significant disruption” that proposed budget cuts will have on the state’s court system.

“Whether it be your constituents waiting to close a probate matter so that the proceeds of an estate can be distributed, criminal cases that need to be prosecuted or civil cases that have been set for trial for months or even years, they will all be negatively impacted,” Eckley told lawmakers.

The senate-passed version of the deappropriation plan includes $1.6 million in cuts to the Iowa Judicial Branch. House leadership has not indicated when it will take up the house deappropriation bill.

You can read additional reporting from the hearing from Radio Iowa.


Criminal Law Seminar highlighted by DNA usage presentation

John Sandy, Criminal Law Section chair
The Iowa State Bar Association Criminal Law Section plans and conducts a yearly criminal law CLE, scheduled this year for March 9 at the ISBA headquarters. Among other topics one might expect at the CLE (case law update, legislative updates, board of parole update) we are very excited to have Paul Bush from the Iowa State Crime Lab present on DNA.

Our DNA is everywhere. DNA first made its way into the courtroom in the 1980’s. The past decade has seen significant changes in the use of DNA in courtrooms throughout the country. The ability to now test smaller amounts of DNA makes interpretation of those results significantly more difficult and often more subjective. Initial approaches to the interpretation of complex mixtures relied on subjective judgment by examiners and often simplified calculations. This means examiners can drastically affect the answer and the estimated probative value, which can lead to confirmation bias or analytical error.

We are now seeing a shift from subjective judgment to probabilistic genotyping software of the future. DNA should be viewed in the framework of all the evidence as the presence of DNA alone does not establish guilt. As the technology continues to advance, judicial and legislative scrutiny must continue to ensure that DNA analysis serves the criminal justice system and protects the public.

Whether you are prosecuting a crime or defending the citizen accused, knowledge of DNA and its intersection with your practice is essential. If you have not signed up yet I would strongly encourage you to consider attending. Although we are lawyers, not scientists, a competent trial attorney should be able to effectively and accurately present scientific evidence to a judge and jury in way they can understand.

Registration for the criminal law seminar is available via the event webpage. The seminar can also be purchased as part of a bundle with the prior day's Juvenile Law Seminar.

Verify access to IRS electronic filing system before deadlines

The IRS advises tax preparers to be sure they can access the Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE) system before the Feb. 28 and March 31 filing deadlines. A valid username, password, PIN and secret phrase are required for a successful login.

Those who encounter difficulties logging in, should first check that they have correctly entered their information. If still locked out, call Information Returns Customer Service at 866-455-7438 for assistance with resetting the password, PIN, or secret phrase. Before calling, be sure to have the business name, employer identification number and user ID on hand. Do not revert to paper filing.

The IRS also emphasizes planning ahead as wait times might be longer than usual close to the filing deadlines. More information is available on the Filing Information Returns Electronically landing page on the website.


Feb. 16

No. 16-0203
State of Iowa v. Christopher Scott Jepsen
Appellant seeks further review from a court of appeals decision awarding him credit against a corrected prison sentence only for time spent on probation in an alternate jail facility or a community correctional residential treatment facility.

No. 17-0376
P.M. and C.M. v. T.B. and D.B.
Surrogate mother and her husband appeal rulings of district court enforcing gestational surrogacy contract, terminating their presumptive parental rights, and awarding legal and physical custody of the child to the biological father.

No. 16-1994
State of Iowa v. Carlos Ramon Mulatillo
A criminal defendant appeals the district court order disqualifying his privately retained counsel from further representation because counsel had previously represented a confidential informant listed to testify on behalf of the State at defendant’s trial.

Sioux City lawyer took interesting route to becoming a judge
A law career always was among Mark Cord's career plans, but attending law school sometimes got placed on the back burner.
Sioux City Journal

Some ask, would Iowa victims' rights bill help victims?
A push to add language to the Iowa Constitution that ensures the rights of crime victims is moving through the Legislature despite opposition from a crime victims group and prosecutors as well as problems in other states that have enacted similar laws.
San Francisco Chronicle

ABA offers buyouts to longtime staff in advance of its planned reorganization
Longtime staff of the ABA were offered buyouts this week in advance of what is expected to be a comprehensive staff restructuring.
ABA Journal

Former assistant attorney general runs for state auditor
A former prosecutor wants to be the "taxpayer's watchdog" as he runs for Iowa state auditor.
Iowa State Daily


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Associate Attorney - Davis Brown Law Firm, Des Moines, IA

Attorney - Gislason & Hunter LLP, Des Moines, IA

Associate Attorney - Leff Law Firm, LLP, Iowa City, IA

Associate Attorney - Hinshaw, Danielson & Marquess, P.C., Marshalltown, IA

Product Liability & Environmental Associate - Faegre Baker Daniels, Des Moines, IA

Lateral Attorneys - Fredrikson & Byron, P.A., Des Moines, IA

Attorney - Stanley, Lande & Hunter, Davenport, IA

Business and Estate Planning Attorney - Crary Huff Law Firm, Sioux City, IA

Litigation Attorney - Crary Huff Law Firm, Sioux City, IA

Paralegal - Wandro & Associates, P.C., Des Moines, IA

U.S. Magistrate Judge - Northern District of Iowa, Cedar Rapids, IA

Coverage Attorney - Great West Casualty Company, South Sioux City, NE


The following individuals applied for admission on motion to the Iowa Bar:

Lyneth Rhoten, Council Bluffs, IA

Shawn Dontigney, Homebuyers Incorporated, Papillion, NE

Matthew P. Saathoff, The Saathoff Law Group, PC, LLO, Omaha, NE

Anyone with questions or comments on the above applicants should contact: Tre Critelli at the Office of Professional Regulation, 1111 East Court Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50319; Phone: 515-725-8029.


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