Looking ahead, looking back, and On Brief news

by Ryan Koopmans | August 3, 2016

By Ryan Koopmans

The 2016-2017 Iowa Supreme Court term begins in just a little over a month, so over the next few weeks we’re going to preview some of the cases that will be argued in September.  The first of the series–Can Dyersville rezone heaven?is posted below.  September is always the Court’s busiest month as far as arguments go, and this September is shaping up to be an interesting one.

But the fact that we’re previewing 2016-2017 doesn’t mean that we’re done with 2015-2016.  Next week, we’ll be posting our annual statistical review of the last term, where we answer such questions as: How many decisions did the Iowa Supreme Court issue last year? Who wrote the most opinions?  The most dissents? Who agreed with whom?  So check back.

Finally, some On Brief news.  As those who attended our panel discussion last month heard, there seems to be record-level interest in the Iowa Supreme Court, and that’s translating in to ever-increasing demand for access to the briefs that parties file.  As one panelist noted, U.S.  Supreme Court briefs are readily available (from private sources like SCOTUSblog and the ABA), and it would be nice if Iowa Supreme Court briefs were available too.

We agree, and so we’re making it happen. Starting soon (before the September term begins), we’ll be creating a case page that will contain links to the briefs for cases that are actively pending before the Iowa Supreme Court (meaning that the Court has agreed to take the case).  In addition to providing access to the briefs, the case page will allow readers to see what issues the Court will be addressing in the months to come.  We think it will be a useful tool for lawyers, judges, the press, and the general public.  And we also hope that it will be somewhat interactive: If the Iowa Supreme Court alerts you that it’s keeping your case (as opposed to transferring it to the Court of Appeals), we’d like to hear about it.  The same goes for further review orders–please tell us.   You can send email to me (rkoopmans@nyemaster.com) and we’ll update the case page.

So check back often in August.  There’s a lot happening.



Iowa Constitution mandates face-to-face confrontation by witness, Iowa Supreme Court rules

A defendant’s right under the Iowa Constitution to confront witnesses at trial is not satisfied by one-way video testimony where the witness testifying on camera is not able to see the defendant, the Iowa Supreme Court held in a 4-3 ruling handed down June 28. In reaching that conclusion, the Court declined to follow a U.S. Supreme Court precedent and overruled one of its own prior rulings.

April 2024 Opinion Roundup

The Iowa Supreme Court entered opinions in nine cases during April 2024.  Opinions from April not covered elsewhere on the blog are summarized below.



On Brief: Iowa’s Appellate Blog is devoted to appellate litigation with a focus on the Iowa Supreme Court, the Iowa Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.


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