2/21/17: Iowa Supreme Court Member

  • Iowa Supreme Court member
    • Born and raised in Waterloo, Iowa
    • Degree from Iowa, Colorado, and Chicago
    • Worked for a year for the Chicago hospital
    • Worked for the Gold corporation
    • Always wanted to go to law school
    • Gave up career in industrial and personal relations to get law degree
    • Worked for a law firm in Cedar falls for six years
    • Worked in another firm for two years
    • Discount Judge for 11 years
    • Appointed to the Supreme Court in 2011
    • Eight year term, ends in 2020
    • Lives in the area with wife and three children
  • Historic Civil Rights Cases
    • 1st case – Enray Ralph
      • A slave who could buy his freedom in Iowa
      • Worked for the lead mines in Dubuque
      • Feel behind on payments
      • Owner came to get him
      • Supreme Court said he couldn’t be taken back
      • Ralph is a free man in Iowa’s eyes
    • 2nd case – Dread Scott
      • Brought to Iowa
      • Sued for his freedom
      • Slaves were property, so he had to go along with the laws in Missouri
      • The law was unconstitutional
      • Abraham Lincoln took from the case, we cannot be divided
    • 3rd case – Clark vs Board of Directors
      • Girl wanted to go to a different school
      • Was not able to because of her color
      • The Iowa constitution said that all are allowed to go to common schools
    • 4th case – Plessy vs Ferguson
      • Louisiana had separate rail cars for colored people
    • 5th case – Cager vs Packing company
      • African American teacher who wanted to take a boat across the water
      • Was given a colored ticket
      • Refused ticket
      • Was forced from the boat
      • She resisted, so they committed unnecessary violence to remove her from the boat
  • Decision Making process of cases
    • Every appealed case, is to the Supreme Court
    • Decide what cases they will case
    • Cases of public interest, constitutional questions
    • Screen panel, 15-20 cases
    • 9 member court of appeals, handles 1,000s of cases
      • Divorces, juenvile, domestic relations, etc.
    • Has to grab the attention of the court
    • 7 members of the Iowa Supreme Court
    • Assigned case, most involved in case
      • Read about everything on case
    • Each case is randomly assigned to author
    • Vote on decision
  • Have to leave ego at the door
  • Have “thick skin”
  • Defending your thesis
  • They are always pushing
  • Mark Becker
    • murder case
    • high-profile
    • large amount of elements at play
    • Hecht dissented
  • Juvenile cases
    • strong opinions on both sides
    • large amount of effort
    • most difficult
  • July and August – Administrative term
    • schedule vacations
    • more time
    • break from deciding cases
  • Iowa Supreme Court is responsible for the budget
    • Run the court system
    • Final authority
    • Don’t have to answer to anybody
    • Not bound by the U.S. Supreme Court opinion
  • Don’t have to agree with colleagues
  • Post-conviction relief case
    • Individual plead guilty
    • Transmitted HIV
    • New research affected case
    • Changed opinions
  • Juveniles cannot be sentenced to life with parol
  • In Des Moines about 10 days a month
  • Proud of Courts on the Road
    • Do an oral arguement
    • Go to different high schools
    • Smaller schools
    • Attended 140-150 Colleges
    • Getting the people to understand the court system
  • Michelle Kehoe case sticks out
  • Media coverage of court cases
    • Chair of committee
    • Expanded media coverage
    • Full access to court proceedings
    • Getting people into modern technology
    • Address it head on
    • Supreme Court arguments are live-streamed
    • Transparent as possible
  • Attorneys
    • Punishment
    • Stealing money from client
    • License revoked
    • Use trust account
    • Common sense things you shouldn’t do
    • Just follow the rules
    • Technical violations
  • Sleeping with clients
  • Specialty courts to deal with all situations
  • $178,000,000 budget last year
  • 100 vacant spots that will not be filled
  • Possible lay off of 200 people
  • 95% of budget is people
  • Dental Assistant case of being too pretty
    • Gender sensitive
    • Remembered for an out of context statement
    • Assistant sued for discrimination
    • Didn’t have the right claim
    • The way they argued the case




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