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Iowa Supreme Court holds special session at Drake Law School

March 17, 2008
photo of Supreme Court Judges
Iowa Supreme Court Justices heard oral arguments in the courtroom at Drake Law School.

First-year Drake law students recently heard oral arguments before the Iowa Supreme Court in the courtroom of the Neal and Bea Smith Law Center as part of the Law School's 71stAnnual Supreme Court Celebration.

The court heard arguments in two cases. The first case, which received widespread media coverage in Iowa, involved the use of cameras to detect speeding automobiles as a means of enforcing traffic laws. The second case concerned issues of attorney-client privilege and protected work product.

Following the arguments, the justices participated in a question-and-answer session with the students. This special event was designed to help law students become more familiar with appellate court procedure and arguments.

Proceedings were streamed live from the Law School website, allowing anyone interested to experience an Iowa Supreme Court argument.

CITY OF DAVENPORT, Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. THOMAS J. SEYMOUR, Defendant-Appellant
The court granted Thomas J. Seymour's application for discretionary review from a district court decision finding him guilty of violating the City of Davenport's Automated Traffic Enforcement Ordinance.

Seymour argues the ordinance, which imposes liability on an owner instead of an operator of a speeding automobile, conflicts with the provisions of Iowa Code chapter 321, which places the burden upon the State to prove that the operator, not simply the owner, exceeded the speed limit.

JAMES KEEFE AND KATHY DEE KEEFE, Plaintiffs-Appellees vs. RENALD BERNARD and MCFARLAND CLINIC, P.C., Defendants-Appellants
The supreme court granted interlocutory appeal of a district court ruling ordering the defendants to produce to the plaintiffs a four-page memorandum prepared by the defendants' attorney summarizing a conference held with a Dr. David Sneller, an employee of McFarland Clinic, one of the named defendants. The defendants claim the memo is protected by the attorney-client privilege and is protected work product.

The hearing at Drake was part of the Law School’s 71st Annual Supreme Court Celebration, which also included a breakfast before the hearing for students and justices of the Iowa Supreme Court. The justices had lunch with Drake Law School faculty that day.

As part of the Supreme Court Celebration, Iowa Supreme Court Justice Mark Cady, LA'75, LW'78, visited a class on March 7, to talk with first-year students about professionalism and ethics in the practice of law.