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Announcements - Page 7

Iowa Court of Appeals Elects Bower as Chief Judge

Des Moines, October 10, 2019—The Iowa Court of Appeals has elected Judge Thomas N. Bower, Cedar Falls, as chief judge. Judge Bower has served on the court of appeals since 2012. He is the tenth chief judge since the state legislature established the Iowa Court of Appeals in 1976. He replaces Chief Judge Gayle Nelson Vogel, recently retired.

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Remarks of Chief Justice Mark Cady, Iowa Supreme Court, to the Senate Government Oversight Committee, October 4, 2019

Thank you for asking us to appear before this Senate Oversight Committee this morning. We will provide you with all the information we can to assist you in your work and will cooperate with you fully. 

I want to begin with an apology, to you and to everyone for diminishing public trust and confidence in the court system. As the leader of the judicial branch, I take full responsibility, just as I take responsibility to repair the damage and rebuild trust. In our efforts to fulfill our duty to protect confidential information of Iowans from cyberattack, mistakes were made. We are doing everything possible to correct those mistakes, be accountable for the mistakes, and to make sure they never, ever occur again. 

In the end, I hope we will not be judged as much by the mistakes made, but by the character we display in accepting responsibility and correcting them. We want to work with you and others to protect Iowan’s personal information, be better than before and for our relationship with our county partners to be stronger than ever.

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Iowa Supreme Court hires law firm for independent investigation

The Iowa Supreme Court has hired the law firm of Faegre Baker Daniels to conduct an independent investigation into the September 11, 2019, arrest in the Dallas County Courthouse of two individuals and the September 9, 2019, alleged break-in at the Polk County Courthouse. Both events appear to have happened during security testing exercises to help the Iowa Judicial Branch ensure the court’s highly sensitive data was secured against attack.

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New state and district judicial nominating commissions uniform rules of procedure available for public comment.

The proposed State and District Judicial Nominating Commissions Uniform Rules of Procedure is posted on the Iowa Judicial Branch website and on the Iowa Judicial Nominating Commission website for a period of thirty days before formally adopted by the State Judicial Nominating Commission (SJNC).  The public may provide comments to the proposed State and District Judicial Nominating Commissions Uniform Rules of Procedure via email to the SJNC at

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State Court Administration Statement

Malicious cyber criminals use all techniques at their disposal—fair or foul—to access valuable data from private and public organizations. Global cybersecurity firms (such as Coalfire) involved in technical testing are professionally contracted to simulate real-world attacks using the same techniques any attacker may use to test the company’s defenses so that they can remedy their vulnerabilities before a real-world attack occurs.

Recently, two penetration testers employed by Coalfire were arrested in the Dallas County Courthouse during a security testing exercise to help the Iowa Judicial Branch ensure the court’s highly sensitive data was secured against attack. Coalfire was working to provide quality client service and a stronger security posture.  Coalfire and State Court Administration believed they were in agreement regarding the physical security assessments for the locations included in the scope of work.  Yet, recent events have shown that Coalfire and State Court Administration had different interpretations of the scope of the agreement.  Together, Coalfire and State Court Administration continue to navigate through this process. To that end, the Iowa Judicial Branch and Coalfire will each be conducting independent reviews and releasing the contractual documents executed between both parties.

State Court Administration has worked with Coalfire in the past to conduct security testing of its data and welcomed the opportunity to work with them again. Both organizations value the importance of protecting the safety and security of employees as well as the integrity of data.

State Court Administration apologizes to the sheriffs and boards of supervisors of Dallas County and Polk County for the confusion and impact these incidents have caused. 

Links below are to the contract documents with allowable redactions

Requirements and Assumptions

Service Order—Redacted

Rules of Engagement—Redacted

Social Engineering Authorization—Redacted

Master Agreement—Redacted

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Judicial Nominating Commission begins process to select nominees for Iowa Court of Appeals

Des Moines, September 17, 2019— The State Judicial Nominating Commission, which is responsible for selecting nominees for appointment to the Iowa Court of Appeals, announced today it will begin accepting applications for the vacancy that will occur when Judge Amanda Potterfield retires December 25, 2019. The Commission received notice of the vacancy from Governor Reynolds on September 3, 2019.  The Commission has sixty days to send a slate of nominees to the Governor, who makes appointments to the court.   

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Special Iowa Supreme Court Constitution Day Program for Iowa High Schools

The Constitution of the United States was ratified on September 17, 1787. In 1911, the State of Iowa was the first state to celebrate Constitution Day. To celebrate the week of Constitution Day, the Iowa Judicial Branch will join the Iowa Department of Education and The Iowa State Bar Association to present a Constitution Day program for Iowa high school students on Wednesday, September 18, in the Supreme Court Courtroom in the Judicial Branch Building in Des Moines.

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Iowa Supreme Court to Hear Oral Arguments at Des Moines North High School

On Constitution Day, Tuesday, September 17, the Iowa Supreme Court will hear oral arguments at the Des Moines North High School auditorium, 501 Holcomb Avenue. The oral arguments are open to the public and will begin at 7 p.m. A public reception with the supreme court justices will follow the oral arguments in the auditorium lobby.

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