The Ottumwa Courier

September 7, 2012

Celebrate the Constitution

Court Calls

Judge Joel D. Yates

OTTUMWA — The Constitution — through its stature in protecting the people’s rights and in its enduring genius as the map for American government — merits praise. Indeed, we rise to celebrate our Constitution this month.

On Sept. 18, the 8th Judicial District and the 8-A Bar Association will be sponsoring the first-ever “People’s Rights Academy.” This program is designed for non-lawyers so that the general public can gain a greater understanding of how the Iowa judicial system works. The event is free and will be held at Indian Hills Community College’s Advanced Technology Center in Ottumwa from 5:30-8:30 p.m.

The Academy is being held during Constitution Week. Accordingly, the keynote speaker, Iowa Court of Appeals Judge Michael Mullins from Washington, will speak about the U.S. Constitution, the Iowa Constitution and constitutional interactions with one’s daily life.

Also on the program will be District Court Judge Lucy Gamon of Ottumwa, who will examine life as a judge and the types of disputes presented in Iowa’s courts. Attorney Kathryn Salazar from Washington will address family and juvenile law. Mahaska County Attorney Rose Anne Mefford will talk about criminal-law cases. Attorney Michael Moreland from Ottumwa will speak about jury service and the manner in which civil disagreements are resolved.  

After each speaker and at the conclusion of the program, those in attendance will be afforded an opportunity to ask questions of the speakers.

Anyone interested in learning more about the role of the Constitution in American life and Iowa’s judiciary is welcome to attend. Pre-registration may be made through Cathy Reck at 8th District Court Administration at 641-684-6502, ext. 0, or by email at You may also sign in the evening of Sept. 18 beginning at 5 p.m. Please join us.

Judge Yates, one of the 8-A District Court judges, has coordinated arrangements for the People’s Rights Academy program. He may be reached at