2016-17 Iowa Supreme Court status report: 96 down; 21 to go

By: Rox Laird on June 1st, 2017

Tomorrow the Iowa Supreme Court is expected to hand down two decisions, which will bring to 96 the number of cases disposed of in the first nine months of the 2016-17 term.

After the release of tomorrow’s decisions, 21 submitted cases will remain to be decided.

That means the Court is on track to hand down a total of 117 decisions (including 17 lawyer discipline cases) when the term ends in four weeks. That is on par for the Court, which typically decides about 105 cases each term.

A sign that the justices may be struggling with a case is the length of time between oral argument and a decision. Four cases argued in September remain undecided.

Those four cases include a challenge to a drunken-boating prosecution that’s been before the court for two years and a constitutional question in the long-running legal battle between former Gov. Terry Branstad and the former Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner.

Following are some noteworthy cases in the pipeline (headlines following case titles contain links to our earlier posts about these cases):

State v. Pettijohn“Will Iowa Court chart a new course in boating case?”

Godfrey v. State of Iowa, et al.: “Can Iowa courts create damage claims for constitutional violations?”

State v. Martinez“Does federal immigration policy preempt Iowa’s criminal laws?”

Brakke v.Iowa Department of Natural Resources: “Did DNR go too far in protecting deer from chronic wasting disease?”

Schmidt v. State“Can you claim ‘actual innocence’ after pleading guilty to a crime?”

State v. Plain“Is it possible to guarantee racial balance on Iowa juries?”

State v. Shorter; State v. Russell“Homicide victim pummeled by 15 people; does it matter which one(s) delivered the deadly blows?”

State v. Roby; State v. Majors: “Court asked to go further on juvenile sentences” [Note: A third juvenile sentencing case discussed in this post, State v. Graham, was decided May 25.]

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On Brief is devoted to appellate litigation, with a focus on the Iowa Supreme Court, the Iowa Court of Appeals, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
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