Iowa Supreme Court closing to the end of its 2015-16 term

By: Rox Laird on June 23rd, 2016

The Iowa Supreme Court is expected to issue four rulings Friday as it heads into the final week of its 2015-16 term.

Among the expected decisions is a Polk County case arising from the death of a woman who fell from a Des Moines apartment building balcony (Winger v. C.M. Holdings), and a case from Black Hawk County involving a challenged search on school grounds (State v. Senn).

With the release of those four rulings, the court will be down to three decisions yet to be handed down in the term that ends June 30.

Among the remaining cases is a decision in Kelly Jo Griffin v. Paul Pate, one of the most watched cases of the court’s current term. The question in that case was what the Iowa Constitution means by “infamous crimes” that deny voting rights to convicted criminals. (See “Griffin v. Pate: Does the meaning of ‘infamous crime’ come down to what Justice Appel thinks?” for background).

Also remaining is a decision in State v. Dale Dean Pettijohn. In that case, Pettijohn claimed his 2014 drunken boating conviction should be vacated because the state water patrol officer’s rationale for stopping his boat and Iowa’s implied consent for a breath test led to illegal searches barred by the Fourth Amendment.

Finally, a decision remains in a case from Iowa City (State v. Justin Alexander Marshall) involving Marshall’s first-degree murder conviction.

Those decisions likely will be released sometime next week.

At that point, the Court will go into its two-month administrative term, where the justices work on changes to the Judicial Branch’s administrative and procedural rules.

The Iowa Court will be back in session in September for the 2016-17 term and a docket of new cases.

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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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