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Crime, Justice and Public Safety

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

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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Crime, Justice and Public Safety
6:00 am
Wed April 11, 2012

Strip searches in Iowa: what's the law?

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.

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