courts

Flickr / Ellen Macdonald

Iowa is the first state nationwide to move all of its document filings for the district court system online. The process will likely be completed later this year for Iowa’s appellate courts.  

Up until now, many Iowans had go to their country courthouse during business hours to deal with legal matters. People can now file and view legal documents using the internet, and see the court docket online. 

John Pemble/IPR

Governor Branstad is hearing from county attorneys around the state, as he debates whether to sign a last-minute item in a catch-all spending bill.  

The provision would privatize the collection of court fines and fees to bring in an estimated $12 million more next year.    

The Judicial Branch has pushed to improve the collection of delinquent fines.  The bill would bypass the state’s Central Collection Unit and assign the work to a private debt collector.   

Joyce Russell/IPR

Governor Branstad says last week’s momentous U.S. Supreme Court ruling will not have a big impact in Iowa, since same-sex marriage has been well-established in the state since 2009.  

The governor today commented on the fact that county officials in other states may try to deny licenses to same-sex couples in protest.   

Branstad says he’s not aware of any way that could happen here.

Photo by John Pemble

It appears that Governor Branstad is not ruling out an appeal of Friday’s Iowa Supreme Court ruling clearing the way for continued use of so-called telemed abortions.  

The court ruled that the Iowa Board of Medicine placed an unconstitutional burden on women when it banned the administration of abortion-inducing drugs without a doctor in the room. 

Under the procedure, a doctor uses two-way telecommunication to oversee a patient taking an abortion-inducing drug. Governor Branstad disagrees with the ruling.

Flickr / Jeff Kubina

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case next term involving a $5.8 million class-action lawsuit arising from a pork processing plant in northwest Iowa. Tyson Foods Inc. say that employees at its Storm Lake facility don't have enough in common to join in a single class-action lawsuit.

Photo Courtesy of the Institue for Justice

Carole Hinders of Arnold’s Park, IA, wasn’t charged with a crime, but that didn’t stop the I.R.S. from seizing the entire balance of her checking account, more than $30,000.

Wikimedia Commons

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki has resigned his post in the wake of a series of scandals at Veterans Affairs hospitals across the country. During this News Buzz edition of River to River, Ben Kieffer talks with Des Moines Register Health Care Reporter Tony Leys about how the announcement could affect Iowa's VA hospitals. He also tells us about a possibly mismanaged case at the Iowa City VA

State lawmakers looking into the closing of the Iowa Juvenile Home at Toledo got a fresh perspective from juvenile court officers who work with the  delinquent girls who used to be assigned to the home.     The officers argue that Iowa needs a facility specifically for  girls who’ve been in serious trouble with the law.  Governor Branstad is at odds with the judicial branch. 

Billie Hara

This segment of River to River features a volunteer-run court in Iowa - the Johnson County Family Treatment Court - that works with parents who suffer from substance abuse. Host Ben Keiffer sits down with a recent graduate of the court, a mother who formerly struggled with a meth addiction while trying to raise her son.

elycefeliz / Flickr

With George Zimmerman recently acquitted of murder in the death Trayvon Martin host Ben Kieffer looks at the role juries play in the U.S. justice system.  What are the origins of the jury and how have juries evolved over the centuries.  Also, what does the recent flourish of media attention aimed at the jurors for the Zimmerman trial reveal and distort about jury duty?

SalFalko / Flickr

Iowa Chief Justice Mark Cady delivered his State of the Judiciary speech to a joint session of the Iowa Legislature Wednesday. He's calling for increased staffing in the court system, which has taken a hit in budget cuts in recent years.

Cady wants court offices around the state to stay open all week. Right now they close in the afternoons twice a week. He also tells lawmakers the state doesn’t have enough juvenile officers to reach all of Iowa’s children in need.

Two statewide bus tours begin in Des Moines with stops planned in more than a dozen communities.    They’ll be promoting opposing views on whether Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins should stay on the court.     

Keith Allison

It seems like everybody’s talking about strip searches these days. But as Iowa Public Radio’s Kate Wells reports, strip searches for minor crimes are pretty limited in this state – or at least, they’re supposed to be.