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Constitution Day 2023

Welcome by Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Susan Christensen

A welcome and brief explanation of this 2023 Constitution Day resource page

This year's Constitution Day case is State of Iowa v. Jerry Lynn Burns

Jerry Burns appeals his conviction for murder in the first degree. Police collected a straw discarded by Burns at a restaurant, then matched the his DNA on the straw to a 40-year-old cold case in which an 18-year-old girl was murdered in a mall parking lot. Burns argues the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress where the warrantless extraction of his DNA profile violated his rights under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution and article I, section 8 of the Iowa Constitution. 

Case summary, legal issues, and discussion topics for students

Detailed Case Summary
Decision Discussion Topics
Written by Iowa State Bar Association Center for Law & Civic Education Director John Wheeler

Attorney Briefs for the case 

Appellant Brief 
Appellee Brief 
Appellant Reply Brief 
Amicus Curiae Brief 

Attorneys in the case oral arguments before the Iowa Supreme Court video

State of Iowa v. Jerry Lynn Burns

         What is an oral argument? An explanation of the appellate process and oral arguments before the Iowa Supreme Court

The Iowa Supreme Court opinion in the case 

In the Supreme Court of Iowa, Case No. 20–1150
Submitted September 30, 2022—Filed March 31, 2023

Petition to the United States Supreme Court

The defendant, Jerry Burns, petitioned the United States Supreme Court to review the Iowa Supreme Court decision in this case. To begin this process, Burns petitioned the United States Supreme Court for review by asking it to grant a writ of certiorari. The Iowa Supreme Court's decision is subject to further review by the United States Supreme Court because the case involves a federal issue, the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The petition is currently under review. 
Link to petition for a writ of certiorari  

The Iowa Constitution and Our Courts Podcasts

Iowa Supreme Court Justices discuss the United States Constitution, the Iowa Constitution, how appellate court cases are chosen and decided, and the 60th anniversary of the case Gideon v. Wainwright, in which the Supreme Court of the United State's held that the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments guarantee a right of legal counsel to anyone accused of a crime during In the Balance podcast interviews. Links to listen to these episodes are below.

The Iowa vs. Federal Constitutions with Iowa Supreme Court Justice Dana Oxley
Iowa Constitution Day with Iowa Supreme Court Justice Brent Appel
How the Iowa Supreme Court Selects its Caseload with Iowa Supreme Court Justice Edward Mansfield
The significance of the 60th anniversary of the case Gideon v. Wainwright with Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Susan Christensen
Get to know How Iowa's Trial and Appellate Courts Work

Additional Resources

The United States Constitution
The Iowa Constitution
A scan of the original Iowa Constitution

Constitution Day recognizes the ratification of the Constitution of the United States on September 17, 1787. In 1911, the State of Iowa was the first state to celebrate Constitution Day. In 2004, legislation established the Federal observance of Constitution Day. The Constitution of Iowa was adopted in convention March 3, 1857

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