Courts

Crime, Justice and Public Safety

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 / sharyn morrow

The Iowa Supreme Court says the front steps of a single-family home are not public space and therefore a woman in northeast Iowa cannot be charged with public intoxication.

In June 2013, Waterloo police answered a domestic disturbance 911 call. Patience Paye was in her home when officers arrived, but stepped onto her front porch to speak with police.

Though it was Paye who called 911, officers determined that she was an aggressor. A breath sample showed Paye’s blood-alcohol level to be 0.267.

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.

Wikipedia / Ser Amantio di Nicolao

The Iowa Supreme Court says it can’t grant post-conviction relief to an immigrant trying to avoid deportation.

In 2011, Victor Hernandez-Galarza pleaded guilty to using a false social security number to title vehicles. Because of his "willingness to surrender" Hernandez-Galarza was offered a deferred judgment for lesser charges.

Hernandez-Galarza successfully completed probation and his record was expunged. 

A jury in northern Iowa has found a former state representative "not guilty" of sexually assaulting his late wife. Prosecutors alleged that Henry Rayhons of Garner had sex with his wife Donna, who wasn’t capable of consent due to her advanced Alzheimer’s disease. 

The jury took nearly two days to deliberate. This verdict ends a trial that has attracted international attention and raised complicated questions about the nature of consent for cognitively impaired adults.

J. Stephen Conn

An unusual question is being asked this week in an Iowa courtroom in Garner. When is a previously consenting spouse who is suffering from dementia no longer able to say yes to sex?

After a four year battle with Alzheimer's, Donna Rayhons died in a nursing home last August. She was just a few days away from her 79th birthday. A week later her husband, Henry Rayhons, was arrested. He was charged with sexual abuse. State prosecutors accuse him of having sex with his wife while she was incapacitated by dementia.

Sarah Boden/Iowa Public Radio

Does the Iowa Constitution protect the right to a so-called telemed abortion? That’s a question currently before the Iowa Supreme Court.

On this edition of River to River, Ben Kieffer talks with Todd Pettys, Associate Dean for Faculty and H. Blair and Joan V. White Chair in Civil Litigation at the University of Iowa College of Law, and Ryan Koopmans, attorney at Nyemaster Goode law firm in Des Moines.

Penn State / flickr

NPR legal affairs correspondent, Nina Totenberg, has covered the U.S. Supreme Court for many years, translating court cases and generating interest in the judicial system with audiences all over the country.

Flickr / bfi Business Furniture Inc.

The Iowa Supreme Court says anyone claiming damages for wage discrimination that occurred before 2009 is out of luck.

Three female employees of Muscatine-based Allsteel are suing the office furniture manufacturer, alleging male employees were paid more for similar work.  While the lawsuit is pending, the high court's ruling greatly limits the amount of damages the plaintiffs may eventually claim.

Flickr / Doug Kerr

A bill raising Iowa’s interstate speed limit from 70 to 75 miles per hour didn’t get voted on in the Senate Transportation Committee Tuesday. Since the deadline for bills to reach the senate or house floor for a vote approaches, it is highly unlikely the legislation will advance.

Sen. Wally Horn, a Democrat from Cedar Rapids, supports the bill. He says bumping the speed limit up could cut down on traffic.

Flickr / Lord Jim

A bill that aims to curtail distracted driving passed out of the Iowa Senate Transportation Committee Tuesday.

The legislation would make the use of a smartphone or similar device a "primary offense," which would allow police officers to pull someone over  just for emailing or texting while driving. The police currently can not do that.

The Transportation Committee’s ranking member, Republican Sen. Tim Kapucian of Keystone, says the greater number of drivers using smartphones and similar devices makes roads increasingly dangerous.

Joyce Russell/IPR

A wide-ranging firearms bill cleared a bipartisan panel in the Republican-controlled Iowa House.

Flickr / Hibr

A bill in the Iowa Senate aims to expand the legal protections of domestic violence victims.

Under Iowa criminal law victims of domestic violence in dating relationships only have access to heightened protections if they are living with their abuser. A bill that gives victims access to certain protections, even if they aren't cohabitating, passed unanimously in the Senate Judiciary Committee today and will soon come before the entire chamber for a vote.

Sen. Janet Petersen, a Des Moines Democrat, says violence in dating relations can be just as deadly as marital violence.

A subcommittee in the Iowa Senate chose not to pass the current version of a juvenile sentencing bill, but instead are looking for suggestions on how to improve the legislation. 

The bill allows for judges to sentence juveniles guilty of first-degree murder to life without parole, life with the possibility of parole, and life with the possibility of parole only after 35 years.  

Flickr / Dr. Warner

The Iowa Supreme Court says it’s legal for cities to issue tickets to vehicle owners using traffic cameras. Attorney Michael Jacobsma, who represented himself, says the city of Sioux City denied him due process when he was mailed a citation, after his vehicle was spotted by a traffic camera going 67 miles per hour in a 55-mile-per-hour speed zone. 

Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction

The Iowa Supreme Court says the good deed of one defendant did not unfairly sway the jury's opinion of his codefendant. 

Iowa Public Radio

Iowa’s top prison official was in the hot seat at the Capitol.   

John Pemble

Chief Justice Mark Cady of the Iowa Supreme Court says Iowa’s criminal justice system is marked by racial disparities. In his State of the Judiciary address today, Cady told legislators he wants that to change.

According to the 2010 Census, in Iowa 9.4 percent of adult African American men are incarcerated. That's the third highest percentage of incarcerated African American men in the nation.

Iowa Prison Industries

The Iowa Supreme Court says inmates can increase payments for court-ordered restitution, even if the amount they pay to the Iowa Department of Corrections is reduced. 

The Iowa Department of Transportation is reporting 321 traffic related deaths in 2014, or four more than last year.

Wikipedia/Dmg ie

A former Des Moines police officer, who was convicted in 2012 of using excessive force, has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court in hopes of not returning to prison.

Bob Mical

The controversy over the retracted Rolling Stone story about an alleged gang rape of a student identified only as "Jackie" at a fraternity house on the University of Virginia campus has sparked many debates. On this segment of River to River - the lessons learned in journalism, ethics, and the way new media impacts how these stories are told and discussed.

Truthout.org / flickr

The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee report on torture contains some very grisly findings, detailing CIA interrogation techniques, like mock execution and sleep deprivation.

DerekA

Iowa Supreme Court ruled Friday, only individual homeowners are protected under the Warranty of Workmanlike Construction, which holds builder venders accountable for shoddy workmanship.

Comissão de Educação, Cultura e Esporte

One of the two laureates receiving the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize for his work in children’s rights was nominated by U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Iowa motorists will soon be able to show identification by pulling out a cellphone.

The Iowa Supreme Court says expert witnesses cannot testify to a victim's credibility.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Iowa’s top drug enforcement official says a new marijuana derivative is showing up in Iowa.

Daniel Foster

While it often goes unreported, elder financial abuse costs older Americans 2 to 3 billion dollars per year.

Emily Woodbury

A recent report from the Iowa Department of Human Rights indicates the number of inmates in Iowa will increase by four thousand in 10 years. The report looks at the number of people going into prison, how long they are staying, and how many people are released each year.

The Director of Research at the Iowa Department of Corrections, Lettie Prell, says prison officials have seen high numbers like this before.

“We view this forecast as being not set in stone, but as an indication of where we might be going if we don’t examine our current policies and practices."

Pages