2016-17 Iowa Supreme Court status report: 69 down; 49 to go

by Rox Laird | March 23, 2017

Tomorrow the Iowa Supreme Court is expected to hand down one decision, which will bring to 69 the number of cases disposed of in the first seven months of the 2016-17 term.

After the release of tomorrow’s decision, 43 submitted cases will remain to be decided, and six more cases are set to be argued or submitted to the court without oral argument by the middle of April.

That means the Court is on track to hand down a total of 118 decisions (including 16 lawyer discipline cases) when the term ends in three months and one week. That is on par for the Cady 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. Fourteen cases argued in September and October 2016, the first two months of this term, remain undecided.

Those 14 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 the governor 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?”

Estate of Mercedes Gottschalk v. Pomeroy Care Center v. State of Iowa: “Must the State protect public from released sex offenders?”

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; State v. Graham: “Court asked to go further on juvenile sentences”


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