DES MOINES — The Iowa Supreme Court’s first two days of hearings at its home court in Des Moines will be closely watched by southeast Iowa.
The state’s high court plans to hear cases away from the judiciary building twice in September. The hearings at other locations is part of a continuing effort that began in 2011 to offer the public easier opportunities to watch the court in action.
Sept. 18 and 19 are the first days back at the judiciary building, and both dates will include cases involving area residents.
The first of the cases is the appeal of Michael Goodwin, Jr., who pleaded guilty in 2017 to second degree murder in the death of his father.
The plea agreement, according to court documents, included a prison sentence of up to 50 years, with a minimum of 20 years. Goodwin, who had lived in Bloomfield and was tried in Davis County, was a minor at the time.
He was sentenced in July, and asked the court to reconsider the sentence just three months later. That bid was rejected. In 2018 he claimed the sentence was illegal because it included a mandatory minimum. He asked the district court to appoint an attorney to pursue the claim. The court rejected both that request and the motion itself. Goodwin’s appeal focuses on whether the district court abused its discretion when making that decision.
The day after the court hears Goodwin’s appeal, it will take up Ottumwa’s appeal of lower court rulings ordering it to hand over RedSpeed traffic records to former Ottumwa police officer Mark Milligan. The Courier reported in July that the Iowa Supreme Court had set Sept. 19 to hear that case.
Next spring will bring additional area attention to the court. The off-site hearings for cases includes a stop in southeast Iowa. According to the Iowa Supreme Court’s website, it will hear arguments in Oskaloosa on March 31, 2020.