Saturday, December 12, 2009

Iowa Supreme Court: making laws (again)

The Iowa Supreme Court apparently seems to think it can create laws in the state.
The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled that prosecutors don't have to give witness addresses to a central Iowa man charged with sex abuse.

The court Friday overturned a lower court decision that prosecutors must give the witness addresses to Chad Godfrey, a Nevada man charged with second-degree sex abuse, domestic abuse assault and false imprisonment. He's being held in the Story County jail.

Although Iowa law requires disclosure of witness addresses, the supreme court created an exception this year that lets prosecutors shield home addresses from defendants if they can prove substantial risk. Defendants can appeal decisions to a judge, who will decide if there is substantial risk.

The court asked a district court judge to reconsider Godfrey's request using the new rule. Iowa court OKs not disclosing witness addresses
First off, I agree with the decision, just not the method. "Although Iowa law requires disclosure of witness addresses, the supreme court created an exception this year..." Iowa law is created in the legislature not in the courts. If the law needs to be changed, then the legislature needs to change it.

Apparently, our state is run by a black-robed oligarchy.


straightarrow said...

Agreed. When a justice cannot read and comprehend and apply the law, he needs to be sent home to work at Burger King or some other enterprise in keeping with his talents. Lifetime job security should be foregone if he wants to write legislation and he should run for office. Otherwise do the damn job you were hired for. I agree that such an exception can make sense, but such a ruling cannot unless it vacates the law on constitutional grounds.

Oh, and isn't it Storey County with an "e"?

Anonymous said...

That's amazing to me.

Why is it the law in Iowa to provide witness addresses to the defense in the first freaking place?

Are they intentionally making it easier for defendants to practice witness intimidation?


strandediniowa said...

SA, Nope, it's spelled Story, county seat is Nevada.

Curt, you gotta be able to face one's accusers. But in a court or deposition, not on their front steps. Thanks for stopping by.

I agree that accused should not have personal info of witnesses, but the court isn't the place to create laws.

Anonymous said...

Sorry if I was unclear.

I completely agree with the point of your post, the law is the law, justices don't make it, they are only supposed to apply it.

I just couldn't believe that's the law. Like you said, you're supposed to have the right to face your accuser...not arrive at their doorstep in the middle of the night with a bunch of friends.

I wonder if Virginia has a similar law? I'll have to look into that.

strandediniowa said...

Actually Curt, we are thinking alike. It surprised me that this law was on the books. Then as a witness to an armed robbery a few years ago, it ticked me off.

Some putz could have showed up at my doorstep. I would've made a poor witness (30 ft away and the guy was wearing a mask), but I doubt it that guy would have cared.

I pulled into a parking lot of a 7-11 in Iowa City. I saw them and then I cowardly ran to call the cops.(I was unarmed at the time)

The detective wasn't too happy with me because I couldn't identify them. His partner (a family friend) choked when I replied that I left my superman cape at home.

A law that hands over personal info on witnesses would hamper the police by making witnesses less willing to come forward.

I'm betting some liberal lawyer got that in.

I like your blog, Curt and I visit often.

straightarrow said...

I absolutely agree with you on the inappropriateness of that law. And also on the inappropriateness of a judge making it up as he goes.

This particular judge did a service to the witnesses, but if he can make it up as he goes, he can also hurt anyone he pleases for any reason he pleases.