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Nineteen Iowans Apply for Iowa Supreme Court Vacancy

January 17, 2019

Nineteen Iowans have applied with the State Judicial Nominating Commission to fill the vacancy on the Iowa Supreme Court that occurred when Justice Daryl Hecht retired December 13, 2018.

The nominating commission will meet Wednesday, January 30, in the Iowa Supreme Court Courtroom on the fourth floor of the Judicial Branch Building to interview the applicants who were not previously interviewed for the vacancy created when Justice Bruce Zager retired last fall. An interview schedule will be posted on the Iowa Judicial Nominating Commissions website.  

The public is invited to observe the interviews in the courtroom. The interviews will be live streamed and the videos archived on the Iowa Judicial Branch YouTube channel.

Immediately following the interviews, the commission will begin deliberations to select a slate of three nominees from the group of applicants.  Once the commission selects its slate of nominees, the commission will forward those names to the governor. The governor will then have thirty (30) days in which to appoint the new justice.

Each applicant’s application and, if applicable, prior interview is posted on the Iowa Judicial Nominating Commissions website.

The commission welcomes written comments from the public about the qualifications of any of the applicants. Comments must be submitted to the secretary of the commission by the conclusion of all of the interviews. Comments may be emailed to [email protected]. Comments may also be mailed to the Iowa State Judicial Nominating Commission Secretary, 1111 E. Court Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50319.

The 17-member commission is composed of a chair, who is the senior justice of the supreme court other than the chief justice, eight lawyer commissioners elected by lawyers licensed to practice law in Iowa, and eight commissioners appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Iowa Senate. The names of the commissioners are on the Iowa Judicial Nominating Commissions website.

With the exception of the commission chair, membership on the commission is limited to one six-year term. Terms are staggered. The Iowa Constitution requires that commission members be chosen without regard to political affiliation. For more information about Iowa's process for selecting judges, visit the Iowa Judicial Nominating Commissions website.


The applicants for the court are:

Joel Barrows, District Court Judge, Seventh Judicial District, Bettendorf

Romonda Belcher, District Associate Judge, Fifth Judicial District, Des Moines

Mary Chicchelly, District Court Judge, Sixth Judicial District, Cedar Rapids

Jean Dickson, Attorney, Betty, Neuman & McMahon, PLC, Bettendorf

David Faith II, Assistant United States Attorney, US Attorney's Office, Southern District of Iowa, Indianola

Timothy Gartin, Attorney, Hastings, Gartin & Boettger, Ames

Myron Gookin, District Court Judge, Eighth Judicial District, Fairfield

CeCelia Ibson, Attorney, Ibson Law Firm, Des Moines

Christine Lebron-Dykeman, Attorney, McKee, Voorhees & Sease, PLC, Des Moines

Kellyann Lekar, District Court Judge, First Judicial District, Waterloo

Christopher McDonald, Court of Appeals Judge, Iowa Court of Appeals, Des Moines

Craig Nierman, Attorney, Phelan, Tucker, Mullen, Walker, Tucker & Gelman, LLP, Iowa City

Alan Ostergren, Muscatine County Attorney, Muscatine

David Porter, District Court Judge, Fifth Judicial District, Johnston

Dustria Relph, District Court Judge, Fifth Judicial District, Corydon

Elisabeth Reynoldson, Attorney, Reynoldson & Van Werden, L.L.P., Osceola

Patrick Tott, District Court Judge, Third Judicial District, Sioux City

Molly Weber, Assistant Attorney General, Iowa Attorney General’s Office, Adel

Lisa Williams, Assistant United States Attorney, US Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa, Iowa City


For More Information:

Contact: The State Judicial Nominating Commission through Steve Davis, Court Communication Director, (515) 348-4967 or [email protected] 


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