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 v. Liggins  
Date: June 30, 2022
Docket Number: 19-0945

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction of first-degree murder arising from events in 1990 after his fourth trial, held almost thirty years after the crime, holding that Defendant was not entitled to relief on…

Garrison v. New Fashion Pork LLP  
Date: June 30, 2022
Docket Number: 21-0652

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court entering summary judgment in favor of Defendants and dismissing Plaintiff's action with prejudice, holding that Defendant was not entitled to relief on any of…

McNaughton v. Chartier  
Date: June 24, 2022
Docket Number: 19-1681

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the judgment of the district court ruling that Willard McNaughton's right and interest in the disputed property in this case had been…

Larew v. Hope Law Firm, P.L.C.  
Date: June 24, 2022
Docket Number: 20-1035

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment entered by the district court in this action involving former co-counsel on a contingent-fee case, holding that the district court erred in finding…

Site A Landowners v. South Central Regional Airport Agency  
Date: June 24, 2022
Docket Number: 20-1323

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of the cities of Pella and Oskaloosa regarding the validity of an agreement between the cities and Mahaska County to establish…

Amaya v. State Public Defender  
Date: June 24, 2022
Docket Number: 20-1346

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the ruling of the district court finding Iowa Code 815.1(4)(c) to be unconstitutional, holding that the State is not constitutionally required to provide ancillary services to an indigent…

Beverage v. Alcoa, Inc.  
Date: June 17, 2022
Docket Number: 19-1852

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of Defendants on Plaintiffs' premises liability claims against Alcoa Inc. and on their products liability claims against…

Hoffman v. Clark  
Date: June 17, 2022
Docket Number: 19-2086

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed in part and vacated in part the ruling of the court of appeals affirming the jury's verdict on libel-per-se damages and punitive damages, holding that remittitur was appropriate in this…

State v. Miller  
Date: June 17, 2022
Docket Number: 20-0359

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's convictions for drug- and firearm-related offenses, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion by granting defense counsel's motion to withdraw and did not err in…

Carreras v. Iowa Department of Transportation, Motor Vehicle Division  
Date: June 17, 2022
Docket Number: 20-0963

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed in part and vacated in part the decision of the court of appeals affirming the decision of the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) to rescind Petitioner's license under Iowa Code 322.3(12),…

Borst Brothers Construction, Inc. v. Finance of America Commercial, LLC  
Date: June 17, 2022
Docket Number: 20-0972

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals and the district court on the questions of lien validity and priority in this mechanics' lien case, holding that there was no error. Law requires that…

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, Inc. v. Reynolds ex rel. State  
Date: June 17, 2022
Docket Number: 21-0856

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court held that the Iowa Constitution is not the source of a fundamental right to an abortion necessitating a strict scrutiny standard of review for regulations affecting that right. In Planned Parenthood of…

Dorsey v. State of Iowa  
Date: June 10, 2022
Docket Number: 19-1917

Justia Opinion Summary: In 1994, Dorsey shot and killed a woman when he was 18 years and five days old. He was found guilty of murder in the first degree and was sentenced to a mandatory term of life in prison without the possibility of parole.…

Sandoval v. State of Iowa  
Date: June 10, 2022
Docket Number: 20-0396

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2005, Sandoval was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder. He was sentenced to serve concurrent terms of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for the murder…

American Home Assurance v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co.  
Date: June 10, 2022
Docket Number: 20-0769

Justia Opinion Summary: Pursuant to an arbitration award, American Home paid workers’ compensation benefits to an employee injured in 2008. American did not file a notice before the arbitration that, pursuant to Iowa Code 85.21, it was paying…

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.