Justice

Iowa eliminates statute of limitations on childhood sexual abuse

BY: - May 12, 2021

Children who experienced sexual abuse will have no time limit to take legal action against their abusers under a new Iowa law. “Today Iowa stands in support of survivors of sexual violence as we become the 14th state to eliminate the statute of limitations for these heinous crimes,” Gov. Kim Reynolds said Wednesday in a […]

Iowa’s cities win key court battle with rural districts over water rights

BY: - May 12, 2021

Iowa’s cities have scored a pivotal victory in a long-running legal battle between urban and rural interests over the delivery of water to undeveloped areas of the state. The matter is still the subject of federal litigation, but last summer a federal judge asked the Iowa Supreme Court to address specific questions of state law […]

Law enforcement officials urge action against rising numbers of ‘ghost guns’

BY: - May 11, 2021

WASHINGTON — An exponential increase in so-called “ghost guns” has put extra burdens on law enforcement, officials said during a U.S. Senate hearing Tuesday. President Joe Biden has promised a crackdown the firearms, which are easily assembled from kits and not subject to federal gun laws. Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison testified that his department […]

Iowa Supreme Court upholds new law, but one justice questions the Legislature’s powers

BY: - May 11, 2021

The Iowa Supreme Court has upheld a new state law limiting the ability of criminal defendants to appeal their convictions. One of the justices, taking issue with the majority’s reasoning, argued that it could mean the Iowa Legislature can now “invade the supervisory powers of this court” and use its “power to destroy the role […]

Court says Iowa driver’s cell-phone use was casual, rather than a habit

BY: - May 11, 2021

When does a driver’s cell-phone use amount to a habit of driving while distracted? That was the question considered by the Iowa Supreme Court recently in weighing whether a driver’s 20 documented uses of a cell phone while in a car was admissible in court. The case stems from an accident that occurred on June […]

COMMENTARY

How qualified immunity protects police officers accused of wrongdoing

BY: - May 8, 2021

When police officers kill people without apparent justification, those officers may face both criminal charges — as in the case of Derek Chauvin, convicted of murdering George Floyd in Minneapolis in 2020 — and civil lawsuits. Floyd’s family filed a federal civil rights suit against Chauvin and three other officers, alleging they used “unjustified, excessive, […]

Court battle still rages over eastern Iowa city’s decision to block access to recreational trail

BY: - May 7, 2021

A coalition of eastern Iowa bicyclists and runners are planning to appeal a court ruling favoring one city’s decision to block a connection to the historic Mississippi River Trail. The planned appeal would challenge a recent district court ruling that represents an unusual legal setback for bicyclists and others who are attempting to connect or […]

County prosecutor accused of insulting judges and making sexually charged remarks

BY: - May 6, 2021

Editor’s note: This story contains language that may be offensive to some readers. A Wapello County criminal prosecutor is accused of making sexually charged comments to employees and making denigrating comments about the judges he faced in court. The allegations against Wapello County Attorney Reuben Neff were made by Tanvi Yenna, who worked in Neff’s […]

Iowa Supreme Court backs state auditor’s effort to see records tied to billion-dollar U of I deal

BY: - April 30, 2021

The Iowa Supreme Court has backed Auditor of State Rob Sand’s authority to subpoena records from the University of Iowa about a billion-dollar utilities privatization agreement. “The taxpayers of Iowa, who bear the ultimate financial risk for this transaction, are entitled to know if the agency got the best deal available and if anyone had […]

Judge allows lawsuit against Iowa Voter Registration Commission to proceed

BY: - April 29, 2021

An Iowa judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit that is tied to concerns over the state’s actions on voter registration in the months before the 2020 election. In July 2019, Linn County Auditor Joel Miller, a Democrat, filed a public-records request with Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, a Republican. Miller noted that in […]

Democrats say prisons need a $34 million increase

BY: - April 23, 2021

Democratic lawmakers called Friday for a $34 million budget increase and 300 new staff positions at the Iowa Department of Corrections. Lawmakers announced the proposal after a tour of Anamosa State Penitentiary, which they described as understaffed and overcrowded. The trip came one month after two inmates attacked staff at the prison, killing a correctional […]

Justices reject sex offender’s argument that his anatomy isn’t an ‘object’

BY: - April 23, 2021

The Iowa Supreme Court has rejected a Polk County man’s argument that he didn’t sexually assault a woman because parts of his anatomy can’t be considered “objects” under Iowa law. In 2019, a Polk County jury convicted Zachary Zacarias of “assault using any object to penetrate the genitalia” of another person. On appeal, Zacarias argued […]