Ongoing Coverage:

Crime, Justice and Public Safety

River to River
2:53 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Controversial Rolling Stone Article May Discourage Reports of Sexual Assault

Protesters at the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity after the initial release of Rolling Stone's UVA piece
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.

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River to River
5:19 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Practices Detailed in Torture Report "not evidence-based"

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.

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Crime, Justice and Public Safety
3:40 pm
Sat December 13, 2014

Homeowners, Not Banks and Developers Get Warranty Protections

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.

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Crime, Justice and Public Safety
4:45 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

Nobel Laureate Has Iowa Friends

Kailash Satyarthi, children's rights activist and 2014 Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
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.

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Crime, Justice and Public Safety
5:26 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Iowa Driver's License Goes Virtual

Iowa Department of Transportation director Paul Trombino explains the state's new digital driver's licesnes, which will be available next year.
Joyce Russell/IPR

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

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Crime, Justice and Public Safety
11:52 am
Sat December 6, 2014

Limits on Expert Witness Testimony

Joe Gratz

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

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Hash Oil Arrives
11:43 am
Thu December 4, 2014

Illegal Hash Oil Smoked in E-Cigarettes

Steve Lukan
Joyce Russell/IPR

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

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River to River
4:37 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

Elder Financial Abuse Cost Eldora Resident His Life Savings

Although believed to be underreported, it's estimated that seniors lose approximately $2.6 billion per year due to financial abuse
Daniel Foster

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

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River to River
10:43 am
Mon November 24, 2014

Iowa Prison Population Likely to Increase

Mitchellville, Iowa
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."

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Crime, Justice and Public Safety
4:28 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

High Court Strenghtens Right Of Attorney-Client Privilege

Joe Gratz

The Iowa Supreme Court agrees the legal rights of a man arrested for drunk driving were violated when the arresting officer failed to fully explain attorney-client privilege.

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Crime, Justice and Public Safety
4:04 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Iowa Supreme Court Defines Harassment

Twentyfour Students

The Iowa Supreme Court has clarified what constitutes harassment in the state. The court says a harasser must purposely seek out the victim to commit the offense.  

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Crime, Justice and Public Safety
8:47 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Fewer Meth Labs, But More Meth

A meth pipe.
michelle.irish

An annual report to the Iowa legislature and governor shows an increase in the amounts, potency, and use of methamphetamine in Iowa.

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Crime, Justice and Public Safety
4:29 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

Iowa Felon Sues Governor

Joe Gratz

An Iowa woman and the ACLU are suing Iowa officials, including Gov. Terry Branstad, for the right to vote. 

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Crime, Justice and Public Safety
2:06 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

Video Testimony Not Constitutional

Iowa Judicial Branch Building in Des Moines.
Credit John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

The Iowa Supreme Court ruled today remote, two-way video testimony is an inadequate substitute for live, in-person testimony. 

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Crime, Justice and Public Safety
10:15 am
Fri October 17, 2014

U.S. Supreme Court: "There's far more agreement than is commonly understood"

U.S. Supreme Court building
Jeff Kubina / flickr

Has the U.S. Supreme Court become a partisan institution? According to polls, many Americans think so.

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Crime, Justice and Public Safety
5:24 am
Thu September 11, 2014

The Constitutional Right to Confront

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

Tonight, the Iowa Supreme Court will consider the question, “Do witnesses in criminal trials need to testify in person? Or is remote, two-way video testimony just as affective?

The state of Iowa claims two-way remote video testimony is just as effective as in-person testimony. Additionally, video testimony is less expensive and less time consuming, and therefore there is large incentive to use remote video testimony more extensively.

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Crime, Justice and Public Safety
1:32 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Mandatory Bar Exam Survives

The Iowa Supreme Court  ruled that the Iowa bar exam will remain a requirement to practice law in the state.    The Iowa State Bar Association had sought to  waive the exam for graduates of Iowa law schools.

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Crime, Justice and Public Safety
3:28 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

UNI Seeks to Recover Funds in Investment Fraud

Photo by Fried Dough

The University of Northern Iowa is going to bankruptcy  court to try to get money back from the now defunct Cedar Falls-based investment fund  Peregrine Financial  group.   The firm’s CEO Russell Wasendorf, Sr. is serving a 50-year prison term for defrauding investors of more than 200 million dollars. 

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Crime, Justice and Public Safety
4:21 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

No Proselytizing at State Fair Gates

Grand concourse at the 2012 Iowa State Fair.
John Pemble Iowa Public Radio

Jason Powell will not be proselytizing near entrances to the Iowa State Fair this year. The U.S. District Court in Des Moines ruled in an injunction Tuesday, that fair officials can bar Powell from areas of heavy foot and vehicle traffic for public safety purposes.

The injunction's ruling does allow Powell to demonstrate on fair grounds in less populated areas, but his attorney Nate Kellum of the Memphis-based Center for Religious Expression says this is an empty victory.

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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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