Criminal Justice + Policing

Biden in State of the Union address draws boos and shouts from a combative GOP

BY: and - February 7, 2023

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden began his State of the Union address Tuesday — his first to a divided Congress — with an appeal to bipartisan priorities, but later criticized parts of the GOP agenda and got a sense of Republicans’ appetite for conflict during one combative stretch. Biden opened the 72-minute speech with an […]

Newton police sued over traffic stop that generated 1.6 million YouTube views

BY: - February 3, 2023

An Iowa college student whose YouTube video of a police traffic stop generated 1.6 million views is now suing the city of Newton for false arrest. In a lawsuit filed this week in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa, Tayvin Galanakis, 19, of Newton alleges the city and its police department are […]

Rural Iowa dog breeder charged with seven counts of animal neglect

BY: - February 1, 2023

The owner of a rural Iowa dog-breeding business was arrested Tuesday and charged with seven counts of animal neglect. Henry Sommers, the owner of Happy Puppy on 141st Avenue in the town of Cincinnati, was arrested Tuesday by the Appanoose County Sheriff’s Office. Sommers, whose business has a long history of regulatory violations, was recently […]

Of more than 7,500 threats against members of Congress in 2022, just 22 prosecuted

BY: - January 31, 2023

WASHINGTON —  Members of Congress receive thousands of threats a year, though just a fraction of the people who call, mail or email will ever be prosecuted — a situation that’s of great concern to the police who guard members. Just 22 of the 7,501 threats lobbed at members during 2022 led to prosecution, the […]

Lawmaker: Proposals could ‘politicize’ Iowa attorney general’s office

BY: - January 26, 2023

A GOP proposal to expand the Iowa attorney general’s authority in handling election-misconduct claims could “politicize the office,” according to one Democratic senator. The proposal, along with one that would give the attorney general the right to prosecute criminal cases without a referral from a county attorney, is contained in a draft bill that has […]

Iowa care facility now the subject of a criminal investigation

BY: - January 25, 2023

State officials say they are conducting a criminal investigation into the treatment of residents at a southern Iowa nursing home. State inspectors say a female resident of Sigourney’s Windsor Place Senior Living Campus was left in a vegetative state in November after the facility’s administrator ignored the staff’s concerns about the woman’s worsening condition and […]

Wave of mass shootings prompts Biden to call yet again for assault weapons ban

BY: - January 24, 2023

WASHINGTON — Following a mass shooting on the eve of Lunar New Year in which 11 people in a predominantly Asian neighborhood in California were killed, President Joe Biden again urged Congress to pass legislation banning assault weapons. Communities across America “have been struck by tragedy after tragedy, including mass shootings from Colorado Springs to […]

Judge upholds state’s decision to decertify officer who had sex with teen

BY: - January 24, 2023

An Iowa police officer who resigned because of a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl has lost his bid to regain his certification as a law enforcement officer. Jacob Smith, 32, who worked as a police officer for the cities of Sumner and Carroll, filed a court petition last year seeking judicial review of the […]

jail, prison, detention, incarceration

Civil rights group objects to using federal COVID aid for jails

BY: - January 20, 2023

The American Civil Liberties Union is asking the Treasury Department to take a harder line on states and local governments using federal American Rescue Plan Act money to build and expand correctional facilities. One of the projects it cited is in Scott County, where local officials had previously considered using the federal money for a […]

Deputies arrest woman wanted on multiple animal-neglect charges

BY: - January 17, 2023

Authorities have apprehended a central Iowa woman who disappeared last fall after being charged with 14 counts of animal neglect. Court records indicate Michelle Renee Evans, 57, was arrested Monday at an Adair County residence. In addition to the animal-neglect charges, Evans is facing charges of failure to appear in court and violating the terms […]

Republicans to renew death penalty debate at Statehouse

BY: - January 14, 2023

Iowa lawmakers could begin as early as next week to begin work on Republicans’ latest effort to reinstate the death penalty in Iowa. State Sen. Brad Zaun has reintroduced a bill into the Senate Judiciary Committee that could bring back the death penalty in Iowa “for murder in the first degree” when it “involve[es] kidnapping […]

State must address shortage of court-appointed attorneys, chief justice says

BY: - January 11, 2023

A dwindling number of court reporters and attorneys who agree to represent indigent criminal defendants and others is unnecessarily delaying court cases and hindering the lives of some children, Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Susan Christensen said Wednesday. “The statewide contract attorney shortage is threatening to bring criminal proceedings to a screeching halt,” Christensen said […]