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Iowa Court of Appeals to hear May oral arguments remotely in response to COVID-19

May 18, 2020

For the first time in its history, the Iowa Court of Appeals will hold oral arguments using videoconferencing May 21 and 22 in response to the public health emergency caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic. The oral arguments will be livestreamed on the Iowa Court of Appeals YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5YFPOlrqxU1hxqUJaZKHWw.

In the May 8 Iowa Supreme Court administrative order, In the Matter of Ongoing Provisions for Coronavirus/COVID-19 Impact on Court Services, the supreme court allowed the appellate courts to conduct oral arguments using videoconference or telephone conference at their discretion until further order of the supreme court. Appellate court oral arguments do not involve witnesses, juries, or court reporters. Court of appeals judges and attorneys will interact in three cases using remote video conferencing software. The Iowa Court of Appeals Courtroom will not be used for these sessions.

“Using videoconferencing for our oral arguments strikes the balance between protecting public health and providing the public fair, accessible, and transparent appellate court proceedings," Iowa Court of Appeals Chief Judge Thomas Bower said. "We are concerned about the safety of everyone involved in the proceedings and appreciate their willingness to use remote technology for social distancing to mitigate the impact of COVID-19.”

On Thursday, May 21, at 10:00 a.m., the three-judge panel of Chief Judge Thomas Bower, Judge Richard Doyle, and Judge Julie Schumacher will hear State v. Good from Pottawattamie County. Attorneys Shellie L. Knipfer, for the appellant, and Darrel Mullins, for the appellee, will argue the case. At 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 21, the panel of Presiding Judge Mary Tabor, Judge David May, and Judge Sharon Soorholtz-Greer will hear State v. Jones from Johnson County. Attorneys Theresa R. Wilson, for the appellant, and Benjamin M. Parrott, for the appellee, will argue the case. On Friday, May 22, at 10:00 a.m. The panel of Presiding Judge Anuradha Vaitheswaran, Judge Michael Mullins, and Judge Paul Ahlers will hear State v. Strickler from Warren County. Attorneys Robert Rehkemper, for the appellant, and Martha Trout for the appellee will argue the case.

This is the first time in Iowa Judicial Branch history that appellate court oral arguments will be heard with all of the judges and attorneys appearing remotely.

Today Chief Judge Bower will sign Expanded News Media Coverage orders allowing members of the news media to record the proceedings in all three cases.

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