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Greer educates Rotarians on Court of Appeals

President Jim Goodman presented a check to the Marshalltown Coliseum fund during the Nov. 12 meeting of Rotary. Mayor Joel Greer stood in for campaign chair and Rotarian Vic Hellberg.

Larry McKibben introduced Sharon Greer who was appointed to the Iowa Court of Appeals bench by Gov. Kim Reynolds this past Spring. Before her appointment, Greer practiced law with Cartwright, Druker & Ryden in town that has since merged with the Bradshaw Law firm.

The purpose of the Appeals Court is to review appeals from trial court decisions which are referred to the court by the Iowa Supreme Court. She noted that the court is considered high-volume with more than 1,200 cases assigned each year for the last five years. This equates for 2.5 cases per week for each judge to keep up with the caseload.

Criminal and juvenile cases make up over half the docket and 75 percent of cases deal with social issues. Unfortunately, the common denominator in most of these involve the abuse of methamphetamine. To help keep pace with this caseload, each of the nine judges is assigned a law clerk, staff attorney and shared administrative services.

Greer showed a short video produced by the summer intern staff to introduce the role and structure of the Court of Appeals. Roughly 80 percent of the lower court decisions are affirmed. The Judge highlighted a couple of cases to illustrate the broad, and sometimes interesting, range of case subject matter. She noted, with alarm, the increase in family and juvenile cases and the resulting trickle-down impact.

In light of the renovations to the Marshall County courthouse, Greer pointed out that it is critical that Marshall County position itself should the state migrate to regional trial centers. Before taking questions, she noted the court welcomes tours and visitors to hear arguments.