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Iowa Supreme Court Opinions PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Iowa Judicial Branch   
Tuesday, 10 January 2012 14:26
January 6, 2012

Notice: The opinions posted on this site are slip opinions only. Under the Rules of Appellate Procedure a party has a limited number of days to request a rehearing after the filing of an opinion. Also, all slip opinions are subject to modification or correction by the court. Therefore, opinions on this site are not to be considered the final decisions of the court. The official published opinions of the Iowa Supreme Court are those published in the North Western Reporter published by West Group.

Opinions released before April 2006 and available in the archives are posted in Word format. Opinions released after April 2006 are posted to the website in PDF (Portable Document Format).   Note: To open a PDF you must have the free Acrobat Reader installed. PDF format preserves the original appearance of a document without requiring you to possess the software that created that document. For more information about PDF read: Using the Adobe Reader.

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NOTE: Copies of these opinions may be obtained from the Clerk of the Supreme Court, Judicial Branch Building, 1111 East Court Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50319, for a fee of fifty cents per page.

No. 09–1170


No. 11–0435


No. 11–0799


New F&F docs reiterate that DOJ knew about guns being walked in Wide Receiver PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 10 January 2012 09:36

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Senator Chuck Grassley released the following statement after the Justice Department provided additional documents related to the gunwalking scandal that has plagued this administration.  The documents were provided only after being issued a subpoena from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.


“The documents dumped today by the Justice Department prove that this administration knew that guns were walked in Operation Wide Receiver, yet did nothing about it even as it was happening again in Fast and Furious.  I’ve said all along that walking guns is wrong, period.  I don’t care who did it.  We know that Lanny Breuer knew about guns being walked in Operation Wide Receiver, which is why he needs to do the right thing, hold himself accountable and resign.”


Here is a copy of Grassley’s statement given on the Senate floor outlining his call for Breuer’s resignation.


***Supporting documents can be found here.***


Prepared Floor Statement by Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa

Ranking Member, Senate Committee on the Judiciary

Holding People Accountable for Gunwalking

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


I have been investigating ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious for almost 11 months now.

It is past time for accountability at the senior levels of the Justice Department.

That accountability needs to start with the head of the Criminal Division, Lanny Breuer.

I believe it is time for him to go, and I’d like to explain why I have come to that conclusion.

The Justice Department denied in a letter to me on February 4, 2011 that ATF had ever walked guns.

Mr. Breuer had been consulted in the drafting of that erroneous letter.

On May 2, 2011, rather than acknowledging the increasingly obvious facts and apologizing for its February letter, the Justice Department reiterated its denial.  Thus, when the Justice Department revealed on October 31 of this year that Breuer had known as far back as April 2010 about gunwalking at ATF, I was astounded.

This was a shocking revelation.

The controversy about gunwalking in Fast and Furious had been escalating steadily for 10 months.

The Justice Department had publicly denied to Congress that ATF would ever walk guns.

Yet, the head of the Criminal Division, Mr. Breuer knew otherwise and said nothing.

He knew that the same Field Division was responsible for walking guns in a 2006-2007 case called Wide Receiver.  But the real shock was how Mr. Breuer had responded within his own Department when that earlier gunwalking was first brought to his attention in April 2010.

He didn’t tell the Attorney General.

He didn’t tell the Attorney General’s Chief of Staff.

He didn’t tell the Deputy Attorney General.

He didn’t tell the Inspector General.

Instead, he simply told his deputy to meet with ATF leadership and inform them of the gunwalking “so they know the bad stuff that could come out.”[1]

Later, his deputy outlined a strategy to “announce the case without highlighting the negative part of the story and risking embarrassing ATF.”[2]

For 18 months, the embarrassing truth about ATF gunwalking in Wide Receiver and Breuer’s knowledge of it was successfully hidden.

It only came out because of the Congressional investigation into gunwalking in Fast and Furious.

The public outrage over Fast and Furious comes from average Americans who cannot understand why their own government would intentionally allow criminals to illegally buy weapons for trafficking to Mexico.

Next week, it will be one year since Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered by bandits armed with guns as a direct result of this policy of letting guns walk.

The Terry family and all Americans who sympathize with their loss are rightfully outraged and astonished that our own government would do such a thing.

Yet when Mr. Breuer learned of a case where ATF walked guns in a very similar way, all he did was give ATF a “heads up.”

There seems to be a vast gulf between what outrages the American people and what outrages Lanny Breuer.  Mr. Breuer showed a complete lack of judgment by failing to object to the gunwalking that he knew about in April 2010.

If Mr. Breuer had reacted to gunwalking in Wide Receiver the way most Americans reacted to gunwalking in Fast and Furious, he would have taken steps to stop it and hold accountable everyone involved.

Fast and Furious might have been stopped in its tracks.

When Mr. Breuer came before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism the day after those revelations, I gave him a chance to explain himself.

I listened to what he had to say.

He told us that he “thought that … dealing with the leadership of ATF was sufficient and reasonable.”

Clearly, it was not sufficient.

Mr. Breuer even admitted as much, saying: “I regret that I did not alert others within the leadership of the Department of Justice to the tactics used in Operation Wide Receiver when they first came to my attention.”

He regrets not bringing gunwalking in Wide Receiver to the attention of the Attorney General, but what about bringing it to the attention of Congress?

He didn’t even step forward to express his regret until emails that detailed his knowledge were about to be produced under Congressional subpoena.

It is astounding that it took the public controversy over Fast and Furious to help the chief of the Criminal Division realize that walking guns is unacceptable.

He’d had nine months after the February 4 letter to step forward, correct the record, and come clean with the American public.

He’d had 18 months after learning of gunwalking in Wide Reciever to put a stop to it and hold people accountable.

He failed to do so.

So during his testimony, I asked him point blank if he reviewed that February 4 letter before it was sent to me.

His misleading answers to these questions form the basis for my second reason for calling on Mr. Breuer to resign.

He responded that he couldn’t say for sure but suggested that he did not review the letter.  He said: “[A]t that time, I was in Mexico dealing with the very real issues that we are all so committed to.”

Now, last Friday the Justice Department withdrew their February 4th letter to me because of its “inaccuracies.”

The department also turned over documents under subpoena about who participated in the drafting and review of the letter.

So imagine my surprise when I discover from documents provided Friday night that that Mr.  Breuer was far more informed during the drafting of that letter than he admitted before the Judiciary Committee.

In fact, Mr. Breuer got frequent updates on the status of the letter while he was in Mexico.

He was sent versions of the letter four times.

Two versions were emailed to Mr. Breuer on February 4, after he’d returned from Mexico, including the version of the letter that was ultimately sent to me that day.

At that time, he forwarded the letter to his personal email account.

Mr. Breuer’s deputy also sent him two drafts of the letter while he was in Mexico, and he also forwarded one of those to his personal email account.

We do not know whether he did that in order to access it on a larger screen than a government-issued Blackberry or whether he engaged in any further discussion about the letter in his non-government email account.

However, we do know that in response to the draft received in Mexico, he wrote to one of the main drafters of the letter, “As usual, great work.”

The Justice Department excluded Breuer’s compliment about the content of the draft from the set of emails it released to the press on Friday.

That evening, Mr. Breuer submitted answers to written questions.  He wrote:

“I have no recollection of having [seen the letter] and, given that I was on official travel that week and given the scope of my duties as Assistant Attorney General, I think it is exceedingly unlikely that I did so.”

So as late as Friday night, Mr. Breuer was still trying to minimize his role in reviewing the letter despite all the evidence to the contrary.

Why would Mr. Breuer say “great work” about a letter he claims not to have read?

It just isn’t credible that someone like Mr. Breuer would forget about his involvement in a matter like this.

Mr. Breuer’s failure to be candid and forthcoming before this body irreparably harms his credibility.

His complete lack of judgment and failure to deal with gunwalking when he first learned of it in April 2010, was bad enough, but this is the final straw.

Mr. Breuer has lost my confidence in his ability to effectively serve the Justice Department.

If you can’t be straight with Congress, you don’t need to be running the Criminal Division.

It’s time to stop spinning and start taking responsibility.

I have long said that the highest-ranking official who knew about gunwalking in Operation Fast and Furious needs to be held accountable.

That standard applies no less to officials who knew about gunwalking in Operation Wide Receiver.

Gunwalking is unacceptable no matter when it occurred.

Documents make clear that Assistant Attorney General Breuer was the highest-ranking official in the Justice Department who knew about gunwalking in Operation Wide Receiver.

He did nothing to correct the problems, alert others to the issue, take responsibility, or even admit what he knew until he was forced to by the evidence.

Therefore, I believe the Attorney General needs to ask for Mr. Breuer’s resignation and remove him from office if he refuses.

If Mr. Breuer wants to do the honorable thing, he should resign of his own accord.

Now I’m not someone who flippantly calls for resignations.

I’ve done oversight for many years, and in all that time, I don’t ever remember coming across a government official who so blatantly placed sparing agencies embarrassment over protecting the lives of citizens

He has failed in his job of ensuring that the government operates properly, including that people are held accountable.

Because of that, Mr. Breuer needs to go immediately.

Anything less will show the American people that the Justice Department isn’t serious about being honest with Congress in our attempt to get to the bottom of this.

Just last night, the Justice Department sent a letter refusing to provide several Justice Department staff for transcribed interviews.

The letter explicitly goes back on the assurances I received when I consented to proceed with the confirmation of three senior Justice Department officials.

One of my conditions for agreeing to proceed with those nominations was that officials who agreed to voluntary interviews in this investigation would have either a personal lawyer present or a Department lawyer present, but not both.

I personally met with the Attorney General and he had that condition listed on a piece of paper in front of him.

It looked as if he had read it and was familiar with it, yet he never objected to that condition.

Dozens of witness interviews have been conducted under that understanding with no problem.

The only difference now is that instead of ATF witnesses, we are now seeking to interview Justice Department witnesses.

Well, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

There’s no reason to change the rules in the middle of the game.

I was relying on the Attorney General and the other officials at the Department to honor their agreement.

Apparently, that’s not going to happen.

Fortunately, Chairman Issa has the ability to require the witnesses to appear via subpoena if they refuse to appear voluntarily under the conditions that the Department previously agreed to.

I am confident that he will do that if it becomes necessary.  And, I will take whatever steps I have to take here in the Senate to encourage the Department to reconsider and stick to its original agreement.



AARP Iowa Launches 2012 Consumer Utility Rate Protection Campaign PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ann Black, AARP   
Tuesday, 10 January 2012 09:31

DES MOINES, Jan. 5 — As the Iowa General Assembly prepares to convene Monday, AARP is launching a utility rate protection campaign to ensure that Iowa ratepayers’ voices are heard as legislators start the 2012 legislative session.


Starting today, January 5, AARP is beginning a series of outreach activities including action alerts to AARP members, online advertising, and newspaper and radio ads, all designed to raise awareness of the potential negative impact on consumers of House File 561, a bill that would allow utilities to raise customers’ rates up front for a possible nuclear power plant before it is built.


AARP Iowa State Director Kent Sovern explains that AARP is not opposed to nuclear power, but opposes the language of HF 561 that saddles consumers with up-front costs of a possible new facility.


“At a time when record numbers of Iowa residential customers are struggling to afford their utility bills, it would be unconscionable to force Iowa ratepayers, instead of utility companies and their shareholders, to front the high costs and cancellation risks of a possible plant years before it is built, when the actual costs to build are not known, and when it may or not be completed,” said Sovern.


An AARP survey conducted last year finds that 72 percent of Iowans age 50+ oppose allowing advance ratemaking in Iowa.  The survey of 400 Iowa likely voters age 50+ conducted by Selzer & Co., May 23-25, 2011, also asked participants to evaluate three consumer protections that AARP has advocated as amendments to the proposed bill.


More than three-quarters, 79 percent, supported improving the proposal by allowing refunds to customers if the project were canceled.  Seventy-five percent said requiring a cost comparison of electricity options for increasing energy service in Iowa before moving forward with a nuclear plant would improve the proposal, and 74 percent said including a limit on how much the utility could charge consumers would make the proposal better.  The General Assembly failed to adopt any of these reasonable improvements supported by Iowans, and the Senate amendment filed the last day of session in 2011 failed to address any of these concerns.


“Throughout this debate last year, AARP said our opposition is not to any particular power plant but to the language of HF 561.  The legislation must include provisions that maintain Iowa’s consumer protections,” said Sovern.  “We were grateful that last year the Senate listened to the thousands of Iowans who voiced opposition to this bill, and we hope by renewing this campaign to start the session, Iowans will again speak up and the Senate will again listen and be a champion for ratepayers.”


Iowans can make their voices heard and contact their lawmakers by calling a statewide toll-free connection to the State Senate at 1-800-480-4075, or via e-mail online at



News from the Iowa Judicial Branch PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Iowa Judicial Branch   
Tuesday, 10 January 2012 09:28

Des Moines, January 5, 2012— On Wednesday, January 11, 2012, at 10 a.m. in the House Chambers, Chief Justice Mark Cady of the Iowa Supreme Court will address a joint convention of the General Assembly on the State of the Judiciary.

Live audio of the speech will be streamed on the Judicial Branch website at beginning at 10 a.m. The speech will be shown on a delayed broadcast at 7:00 p.m. on IPTV Channel 11.1.  A synopsis of the speech will be released Tuesday, January 10, 2011.

Members of the media may obtain advance copies of the speech at 8:30 a.m. in the supreme court courtroom at the Capitol. The message will be posted on the Iowa Judicial Branch website at 10:45 a.m.

# # #

Create a New You - with a New Job - for the New Year PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Wednesday, 04 January 2012 15:54
Corporate Exec-Turned-Novelist Says It’s Never Too Late

With 7 million Americans receiving unemployment benefits, and many counting the years – instead of months – since their layoff, author Darlene Quinn says now is a good time to reinvent yourself.

She cites James Sherk, a senior policy analyst for the Heritage Foundation, who says the jobs people held two or three years ago often simply aren’t there anymore.

"People are trying to find jobs similar to what they had previously, when those jobs completely don't exist,” he told Reuters recently. “So they will spend a good portion of their period unemployed looking for jobs that they are unlikely to find."

Quinn is a master of personal reinvention. She started her career as a teacher, then became a contractor, developing self-improvement and modeling programs for hospitals and a store. That segued into a position as a top executive at Bullocks Wilshire department store and “retirement” as a freelance journalist.

And now, the 74-year-old is an award-winning novelist. She published her third book, Webs of Fate (, this fall, continuing her series about deceit and intrigue in the high-end retail industry.

She says she was always a story-teller; she just never thought about putting her stories on paper.

“Being a victim of the short-lived educational phenomenon called sight-reading, which did not include phonics, I had always been intimidated by the written word,” she said.

“Somehow none of my teachers appreciated my creativity when it came to spelling.  Therefore, my creative writing efforts were sprinkled with so many red marks, they appeared to have broken out with the measles.”

Maybe, she added, she just needed a great story to tell and a passion to tell it that was stronger than her fear.

Quinn became a schoolteacher after earning a bachelor’s at San Jose State University. Much later in life, while working as a department store executive during a time of tremendous upheaval in the retail fashion industry, she found her story. But before she tried to tell it, she first sharpened her wit and her pen by writing articles for trade journals, magazines and newspapers.

That led to her being drafted by actor Buddy Ebsen to help him with his first novel, a love story called Kelly’s Quest. Ebsen was working on a second, a mystery based on his popular TV persona detective Barnaby Jones, when he died in 2003. His widow asked Quinn to finish the book, Sizzling Cold Case, which was published in 2006.

By now, Quinn was ready for her own tale.

“I felt compelled to tell the story of our vanishing department stores,” she said. “Instead of writing a dour tell-all about the business, I decided to chronicle my experiences in one of my fictional worlds and I filled that landscape with the realistic and dynamic characters that inhabited my daily life.

“The age of computers with spell-checking software helped me get over my fear of a red-inked manuscript.”

By 2008, Quinn had finished her story of intrigue in the retail fashion business. Webs of Power won a 2009 National Indie Excellence Award the following year.  Twisted Webs followed in 2010.

“One thing I’ve learned in my life is that things change,” Quinn said. “People change and, sometimes, their dreams have to change with them.

“To be releasing my third novel at age 74 is the fulfillment of a dream I never knew I had. Until now.”

About Darlene Quinn

Darlene Quinn is an author and journalist from Long Beach, Calif., whose novels about deceit, intrigue and glamour in the retail fashion industry were inspired by her years with Bullocks Wilshire Specialty department stores. Her newest, Webs of Fate, won the 2011 Reader's Favorites Award before it hit the bookshelves.
It provides the back story for the characters in the first two novels in the series: Webs of Power, winner of a 2009 National Indie Excellence Award, and Twisted Webs, winner of 2011 International Book Award for General Fiction and the 011 National Indie Excellence Awards for General Fiction.

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