Justia Legal Ethics Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Iowa Supreme Court
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Appellant, an ALJ within the Iowa Department of Corrections (IDOC), presided over the hearing of an inmate charged with assaulting a corrections officer. Appellant found the inmate guilty of assault. The Office of Citizens' Aide/Ombudsman (Ombudsman) subsequently launched an investigation into Appellant's ruling and subpoenaed her for deposition testimony. Appellant argued that she could assert the mental-process privilege in refusing to answer questions about her decision. The Ombudsman filed an action to enforce the subpoena. The district court ruled the mental-process privilege would not apply to limit deposition testimony in the Ombudsman's investigation, as opposed to a judicial proceeding, and entered an order compelling Appellant's deposition. Appellant and IDOC appealed. The Supreme Court affirmed but on different grounds, holding (1) the mental-process privilege is available to IDOC ALJs in an Ombudsman investigation; but (2) the Ombudsman made a sufficient showing to overcome the privilege. View "Office of Citizens' Aide/Ombudsman v. Edwards" on Justia Law

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The Iowa Commission on Judicial Qualifications filed an application for imposition of discipline against Daniel Block, an associate juvenile court judge, for conduct that resulted in his arrest for the crime of operating while intoxicated, first offense. The Commission found Block violated the Iowa Code of Judicial Conduct and recommended he be publicly reprimanded. The Supreme Court granted the application, concluding (2) the conduct of the judge amounted to a substantial violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct; (2) the impact of the conduct as a whole was enough to adversely impact the public confidence in the judiciary; and (3) the appropriate discipline for the unethical conduct in this matter was a reprimand. View "In re Block" on Justia Law