Iowa Supreme Court Decisions

Seven justices serve on the Iowa Supreme Court, which is the first court to which an appeal is sent from a trial court in Iowa. The Supreme Court will decide whether to review the appeal or send the appeal to the Iowa Court of Appeals. The majority of the cases that are appealed to the Supreme Court involve criminal, family, or juvenile matters. The Court supervises lower courts in Iowa and administers the affairs of the judicial branch.

A candidate for the Supreme Court must be admitted to practice law in the state, and they also must be able to complete an eight-year term before they turn 72, which is the mandatory retirement age for judges in Iowa. The State Judicial Nominating Commission handles the initial stage of evaluating candidates, since Iowa uses a commission-selection, political appointment system of selecting justices. The Commission provides a list of candidates to the Governor, who will make the final appointment. However, once a justice has been appointed, they must go through a retention election in the first general election after they have served for one year. They will serve the full eight-year term only if they win the retention election. Otherwise, they must leave the Court at the end of the year in which the election is held. The Chief Justice is elected by the other justices of the Court, and they serve for the same term as they would if they were an ordinary justice.

In addition to being voted out in a retention election, there are two ways in which a justice may be removed from the Iowa Supreme Court. First, they may be removed if they are impeached by a majority vote of the Iowa House of Representatives and then convicted by a two-thirds vote of the Iowa Senate. A justice also may be removed if the Supreme Court determines that this is appropriate based on a recommendation by the Iowa Judicial Qualifications Commission.

Browse Opinions From the Iowa Supreme Court

Recent Decisions From the Iowa Supreme Court
State of Iowa v. White  
Date: June 28, 2024
Docket Number: 22-0522

Justia Opinion Summary: The case involves Derek White, who was charged with child neglect or abuse and child endangerment causing bodily injury. The charges stemmed from the discovery of extensive bruising on a two-year-old child, D.C., who…

Olsen v. State of Iowa  
Date: June 28, 2024
Docket Number: 22-0779

Justia Opinion Summary: Nathan Olsen, convicted of a sex offense in Wisconsin in 2009, moved to Iowa where he was required to register as a sex offender. After serving a prison sentence for an unrelated crime, Olsen moved to Illinois where he…

State of Iowa v. Bauler  
Date: June 28, 2024
Docket Number: 22-1232

Justia Opinion Summary: The case involves a defendant who appealed the denial of her motion to suppress evidence obtained from a traffic stop, a dog sniff of her vehicle, and a search of her purse. The defendant was driving slower than the…

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, Inc. v. Reynolds ex rel. State of Iowa  
Date: June 28, 2024
Docket Number: 23-1145

Justia Opinion Summary: The case involves a challenge to an Iowa law that prohibits abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. The plaintiffs, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, Inc., Emma Goldman Clinic, and Sarah Traxler, filed a…

State of Iowa v. Hightower  
Date: June 21, 2024
Docket Number: 22-1920

Justia Opinion Summary: Shannon Hightower pleaded guilty to dependent adult abuse and theft in the second degree. She later appealed, arguing that there were defects in her guilty plea, her sentencing, and the conditions set for her appeal…

Vagts v. Northern Natural Gas Company  
Date: June 21, 2024
Docket Number: 23-0537

Justia Opinion Summary: The Vagts family, who own and operate a dairy farm in West Union, Iowa, filed a nuisance suit against Northern Natural Gas Company (NNG). NNG operates a natural gas pipeline that runs under the Vagts' property and uses a…

Sundance Land Company, LLC v. Remmark  
Date: June 14, 2024
Docket Number: 22-0848

Justia Opinion Summary: The case involves a dispute over the boundary between two parcels of land in Wapello County, Iowa. The northern parcel was owned by the Handlings and the southern parcel by the Sims. Both parties treated a fence line as…

Myers v. City of Cedar Falls  
Date: June 14, 2024
Docket Number: 22-0917

Justia Opinion Summary: The plaintiff, Ron Myers, suffered a leg injury after slipping on a diving board at a city pool in Cedar Falls, Iowa. He sued the City of Cedar Falls, alleging that the diving board lacked a slip-resistant surface…

Bankers Trust Company v. City Of Des Moines  
Date: June 14, 2024
Docket Number: 22-2085

Justia Opinion Summary: Sally Splittgerber suffered a fall while walking on a city sidewalk, leading to a personal injury lawsuit against the owner of the adjacent property, the lessee of that property (Bankers Trust), and the City of Des…

State of Iowa v. Schwartz  
Date: June 7, 2024
Docket Number: 22-0390

Justia Opinion Summary: The case involves Kari Schwartz, a high school teacher, who was found guilty of sexual exploitation by a school employee. The charges stemmed from her relationship with a 17-year-old student, A.S., in her art class.…

Smith v. State of Iowa  
Date: June 7, 2024
Docket Number: 22-0813

Justia Opinion Summary: Timothy Smith was convicted of two counts of sexual abuse in the second degree for the sexual abuse of his former stepdaughter, H.R. Smith filed an application for postconviction relief, arguing that his trial counsel…

Clark v. State of Iowa  
Date: June 7, 2024
Docket Number: 23-0568

Justia Opinion Summary: The case revolves around a legal malpractice action against a state public defender, who represented a client convicted of sexual abuse. The client, Donald Lyle Clark, was convicted and sentenced to prison. The…

Rivera v. Clear Channel Outdoor, LLC  
Date: June 7, 2024
Docket Number: 23-0679

Justia Opinion Summary: The case involves a landowner, Medardo Rivera, who sought to clear an easement from his property. The easement was granted by a previous owner of the property to Clear Channel Outdoor, Inc., and later assigned to TLC…

Teig v. Chavez  
Date: June 7, 2024
Docket Number: 23-0833

Justia Opinion Summary: In this case, a private citizen, Robert Teig, appealed a summary judgment granted to city officials in his lawsuit alleging violations of the Iowa Open Records Act. Teig had requested job applications and other documents…

The opinions published on Justia State Caselaw are sourced from individual state court sites. These court opinions may not be the official published versions, and you should check your local court rules before citing to them. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site, or the information linked to on the state site.

Some case metadata and case summaries were written with the help of AI, which can produce inaccuracies. You should read the full case before relying on it for legal research purposes.

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