Crime, Justice and Public Safety

Bakken Crude
10:49 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Bakken Crude Routes Revealed

Photo by Cha gia Jose

The United States Department of Transportation  has ordered the nation’s rail lines to let states know how much crude oil is coming through from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota.  The  Bakken crude is especially  flammable and a number of derailments have resulted in disastrous fires.   Iowa officials are  in dispute with the rail lines about whether to release  the information to the general  public.  

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Crime, Justice and Public Safety
3:06 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Medical Billing Class-Action Suit

Zachary Korb

A class-action lawsuit that could involve thousands of Iowans has been filed against HealthPort Technologies.

The Georgia-based company is a medical records and billings statement provider.  The suit alleges HealthPort overcharges costumers for duplications of their medical records and billing statements.

The lead attorney for the plaintiffs is James Bisconglia of the Des Moines law firm LaMarca & Landry. Bisconglia says that Iowa Code limits the amount a consumer can be charged for a records request.

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Crime, Justice and Public Safety
10:49 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Iowa Supreme Court Rules on Defamation

Iowa Judicial Branch Building in Des Moines, May 17, 2013.
John Pemble

While he didn't win the Sioux City senate seat, at least 2010 candidate Rick Mullin and the Iowa Democratic Party won’t have to pay $231,000 to State Senator Rick Bertrand.

Today the Iowa Supreme Court today found that an ad run by Mullin’s campaign did not meet the definition of defamation. 

Senator Bertrand sued Mullin and his party saying the campaign ad purposely misled voters into thinking Bertrand was the owner of the pharmaceutical company Takeda, when in reality he was an employee.

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Crime, Justice and Public Safety
6:00 am
Thu April 3, 2014

After the Wedding: Five Years After Varnum

Rob Gilmer and Rene Orduna stand in their restaurant Dixie Quicks from Omaha, Neb. to Council Bluffs, Iowa, so they could get married and expand their restaurant.
Clay Masters IPR

 It’s been 5 years since the Iowa Supreme Court decision of Varnum versus Brien that paved the way for same sex marriage in the state and Iowa’s public opinion is changing.

In 1996, Rob Gilmer and his husband Rene Orduna opened the restaurant Dixie Quick's in Omaha. They were running out of space in their Nebraska restaurant and after the Iowa Supreme Court decision they decided to move the restaurant to Council Bluffs.

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Juvenile Home Backlash
11:17 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Courts Oppose Closing Juvenile Home

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. 

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Slain Girl's Family Wants Law
2:34 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Shepard Family Lobbies for Kidnapping Bill

The Shepard family from Dayton Iowa and their friends and supporters came to the capitol  to lobby for tougher penalties for kidnappers.  15 year old  Kathlynn

  

   Shepard  died at the hands of a kidnapper last year, and lawmakers say a stronger law  might have prevented the tragedy. 

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Crime, Justice and Public Safety
5:54 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Des Moines Groups Target Racial Profiling

Credit IPR's Joyce Russell

Activist groups launched  a project they hope will illustrate how common  racial profiling is in and around Des Moines.     The ACLU, the NAACP, and a coalition of churches known as AMOS are inviting people of color to come forward with their stories to document allegations that  law enforcement targets  individuals solely because of their race.   

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Crime, Justice and Public Safety
7:55 am
Wed September 11, 2013

UNI Panel Explores Racial Questions in Trayvon Martin Case

George Zimmerman leaves court with his family after a jury found him not guilty in the murder of Trayvon Martin, in Sanford, Fla., on July 14.
Credit Joe Burbank / AP

 Dr. Michael Blackwell, the University of Northern Iowa's Director for Multicultural Education, joins IPR's Sarah McCammon to preview a panel discussion at UNI on the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case.

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Crime, Justice and Public Safety
6:57 am
Mon July 8, 2013

IPR Talk Shows Examine Iowa Correctional System

IPR's Clay Masters speaks with Talk of Iowa Host Charity Nebbe about her show and River to River's summer series examining the state's correctional system. 

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Crime, Justice and Public Safety
9:47 am
Tue June 25, 2013

Does sex offender treatment work?

About 150 sex offenders are enrolled in treatment at Mt. Pleasant Correctional Facility in eastern Iowa.
Credit Sarah McCammon / Iowa Public Radio

As we continue our series on corrections in Iowa…here's the second half of our report on sex offender treatment and monitoring.  

About 1 in 8 inmates in Iowa's prison system are sex offenders, and many go through treatment while in prison.  But does it work?

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Crime, Justice and Public Safety
12:00 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Treating Sex Offenders

The sex offender treatment program at the Mt. Pleasant Correctional Facility has room for about 150 inmates.
Sarah McCammon Iowa Public Radio

It’s been just over a month since two girls from Dayton, Iowa were abducted near their bus stop - allegedly by a convicted sex offender who’d served nearly two decades in prison.  Authorities say Michael Klunder abducted the girls and committed suicide later that day.

The fact that Klunder was free at all has prompted questions about how sex offenders are evaluated, treated and monitored. 

This story begins a summer series examining Iowa's correctional system.

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Crime, Justice and Public Safety
8:59 am
Thu May 23, 2013

Dayton community holds vigil for missing teen

Members of the Dayton community in north-central Iowa gathered Wednesday evening for a vigil in honor of 15-year-old Kathlynn Shepard, who is still missing.
Credit Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio

Investigators continue to search the area surrounding Dayton, Iowa for Kathlynn Shepard, a teenager abducted earlier this week as she walked home from the bus stop.  A twelve-year-old who was taken with her escaped shortly after the kidnapping and is, except for scratches on her arms and legs, unharmed. 

The events have rocked Dayton, a small town of fewer than 1,000 residents. A local church held a vigil last night for 15-year-old Kathlynn Shepard, who has been missing since Monday afternoon.

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Crime, Justice and Public Safety
8:04 am
Wed May 22, 2013

Search continues for missing Iowa teen Kathlynn Shepard

Kathlynn Shepard, 15, has been missing since Monday.

State troopers narrowed their search Wednesday morning for 15-year-old Kathlynn Shepard. She was abducted Monday while walking home from the bus stop in Dayton, Iowa with a younger girl who escaped soon afterwards. Their suspected abductor was found dead later that day. Despite the efforts search party of more than 300 members of law enforcement and volunteers from the area, Shepard has not been found.

Special Agent Bill Keitzman with the Iowa DCI says Wednesday’s search focuses on a smaller area.

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Crime, Justice and Public Safety
6:26 am
Tue May 14, 2013

Payout Reduced in Henry's Turkey Discrimination Case

Credit freefoto.com

A landmark $240 million verdict against a Texas company who employed mentally disabled workers at an Iowa turkey processing plant will be reduced to about $1.6 million because of a law capping their damages. The 32 men faced decades of verbal and physical abuse at work and at home.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Henry's Turkey Service have agreed in legal briefs that each plaintiff can recover $50,000 - compared to the $7.5 million a jury awarded them on May 1st.

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Crime, Justice and Public Safety
7:24 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Sentencing Juveniles for First Degree Murder

  Juveniles in Iowa who've committed first degree murder could be eligible for parole after serving 45 years in prison. That’s according to a bill discussed at the statehouse Thursday. As Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports, it’s in reaction with a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision.

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Crime, Justice and Public Safety
6:12 am
Thu January 17, 2013

Iowa's Chief Justice Calls for More Funding, Staffing for Courts

Credit 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.

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Crime, Justice and Public Safety
7:22 am
Tue January 15, 2013

Iowa Begins Offering Federally Compliant "REAL ID"

Many Iowans eventually will be asked for REAL ID-compliant identification at airport security.
Credit Wayan Vota / Flickr

Beginning Tuesday, January 15,  Iowa will issue driver’s licenses and state IDs that comply with a new federal program called REAL ID.  The program is being phased in as part of legislation passed by Congress in 2005.  It's aimed at streamlining security at federal facilities and for air travel.

Mark Lowe of the Iowa Department of Transportation visited our Des Moines studio to explain what changes are coming.

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Immigrants in College
6:04 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

Undocumented Immigrants at University

Credit flickr

Two young Mexican immigrants living in a small northeast Iowa town are defying the odds by  pursuing degrees  from the University of Northern Iowa. Because they are undocumented they are working their way through college without the help of student loans or other benefits of citizenship.      A new Obama administration order granting them temporary work permits is helping to ease the  way.

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Immigrant Licenses
6:46 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Immigrant Licenses Denied

Immigrant Testimony at the Statehouse

The Director of the Iowa Department of Transportation was in the hot seat at the statehouse.   Critics turned out to rally against the DOT’s recent policy decision denying  driver’s licenses  for young undocumented immigrants in Iowa.   That’s even though the Obama administration recently approved work permits for immigrants who were brought into the U.S. as children years ago.  

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Crime, Justice and Public Safety
4:52 pm
Thu December 27, 2012

No Iowa driver's licenses for unauthorized immigrants granted deferred action

  • Sandhya Dirks reports the Iowa DOT won't give driver's licenses to unauthorized immigrants granted deferred action by the federal government

The Iowa Department of Transportation says it will not issue driver's licenses or state identification cards to undocumented immigrants who have been granted deferred action by the Obama administration because they came to the United States as kids.

In Iowa almost 5,000 young immigrants—mostly of Mexican descent—have been granted temporary deferred action by the Obama administration. This means they can stay in the country, but after this ruling from the DOT, they can’t drive or receive a state ID in Iowa.

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School Shooting React
8:03 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

Iowans React to School Shooting

Statehouse News Conference

The Branstad administration as well as school districts all over the state are reacting to Friday’s school shootings in Connecticut.   One official  is  encouraging schools to review their security procedures.       But the governor and key lawmakers aren’t jumping to any conclusions about needed legislation to prevent such a tragedy here.       

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Crime, Justice and Public Safety
5:50 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

Parents of Murdered Children Push Death Penalty

Heather and Drew Collins, the parents of slain Evansdale girl Elizabeth Collins, met with Governor Branstad Monday to talk about getting the death penalty reinstated in Iowa.
Credit Clay Masters / IPR

In the wake of the discovery the bodies of two northeastern Iowa girls earlier this month, the talk of reinstating the death penalty is back at the state capitol. But proponents of capital punishment know they face a tough fight.

Iowa parents who have lost children due to kidnapping and murder met with Governor Branstad Monday morning to talk about reinstating the death penalty. Afterwards at a press conference, the parents told their stories.

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Crime, Justice and Public Safety
7:12 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Birth Certificate Debate Heads to Iowa Supreme Court

Melissa and Heather Gartner with their daughter.
Credit / Courtesy of Des Moines Register

The Iowa Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday in a lawsuit over whether a same-sex Des Moines married couple should BOTH stay on their daughter’s birth certificate. The Polk county district court already ruled in favor of the couple.

Representing the Iowa Department of Health was Deputy Attorney General Julie Pottorff. She argued opposite-sex couples and same-sex couples remain different in one immutable way. Only opposite sex couples can conceive a child.

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Crime, Justice and Public Safety
7:26 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

Police Confident Bodies are Missing Cousins

Credit Facebook

12/6/12  4:30 PM UPDATE: 

The Black Hawk County Sheriff's Department says they're confident that two bodies discovered Wednesday by hunters in a Bremer County wildlife area are those of Elizabeth Collins and her cousin Lyric Cook-Morrissey. 

"We have no one else that’s missing in this area, we have two bodies that were found, smaller in stature, so we have nothing to think other than that at this time," Sheriff’s Captain Rick Abben said. 

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Parole Board
4:31 pm
Tue November 13, 2012

Parole Board Votes

Behind Bars

A new rule at the Iowa Board of Parole scheduled to go into effect next month is giving  some victims advocates heartburn.    A panel of state lawmakers declined to delay a new guideline to 

grant parole to high-risk inmates with a simple majority vote.

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Wiggins Battle
2:48 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

Wiggins on the Ballot

Advocates for and against an Iowa Supreme Court Justice are wrapping up their bus tours across the state.   Critics of the court’s same-sex marriage ruling  urged voters to reject Justice David Wiggins.   The other side is advocating a yes vote for all the judges on the ballot.   But one justice who was thrown off the court two years ago worries that might not work.

Dueling Buses
6:54 am
Mon September 24, 2012

Dueling Bus Tours Launched


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.     
Crime, Justice and Public Safety
6:44 am
Thu August 2, 2012

Des Moines Police Mounted Patrol preps for Iowa State Fair

The Mounted Patrol has been training in preparation for the Iowa State Fair.
Des Moines Police Department

When the Iowa State Fair opens, one week from today, not all the animals will be on display or in competition; some will be working. It's one of the last mounted patrols in Iowa.

Crime, Justice and Public Safety
5:55 am
Thu July 12, 2012

Iowa Officials Cracking Down on Con Man Posing as ... Them

Iowa’s Democratic Attorney General and Republican Secretary of State have joined forces to stop an unusual kind of identity fraud.   A California con man tried  to collect fees from Iowa corporations by pretending to be the Secretary of State.        

Crime, Justice and Public Safety
8:22 am
Thu May 3, 2012

Gun Violence Spreads in Cedar Rapids

Gun violence in Cedar Rapids is at an all-time high.
Police say they’re not sure what’s behind the massive spike.
And the violence is spreading to parts of town once considered safe.

Wellington Heights is not one of those parts of town. You could say it has a bad rep in Cedar Rapids,
thanks to some of the highest crime rates in the city. But lately, things are getting worse.

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