Memo from 6th Judicial District re: Family Law Case Processing Changes

On February 29, 2008, the Sixth Judicial District issued a memo regarding three minor changes in family law case processing requirements.  The changes include the addition of a pretrial conference between parties within 120 days of the filing of the case; trial setting conferences in these cases being moved from 120 days to 130 days after filing; and the designation of a default mediator for every dissolution and modification case.  These changes will become effective April 1, 2008 and apply to all dissolution, modification and custody cases filed on or after April 1, 2008.   Here is the memo:  Memo to Attorneys

To implement these changes, the court has modified family law case orders.  The same order will be used for both modifications and dissolutions, rather than there being a separate order for modifications. Further, parties will no longer receive separate orders for the parental education and mediation classes.  The new Orders are here:

Family Law Case Requirements Order (With Minor Children) 

Family Law Case Requirements Order (Without Minor Children)

Order re Mediation of Temporary Matters and Setting Hearing

Joint Johnson & Linn County Bar Association Reception for Iowa Court of Appeals March 3

The Linn County Bar Association and Johnson County Bar Association, in conjunction with the University of Iowa Law School, are sponsoring a reception from 4:30-7:00 pm on Monday, March 3 at the Old Capitol in Iowa City following the Iowa Court of Appeals holding oral arguments at the Iowa Law School that day.  This event is open to all LCBA members, as well as their spouses or other adult guests. Complimentary drinks and hors d’oeuvres will be served. 

Please RSVP to Jeannie McCall by February 28 by calling 365-9101, ext 142 or email at

Any questions? Contact LCBA President Allison Heffern at 366-7641 or via email at

Thornhill in Iraq–XI

Hello all,

I know it has been a while since I sent an update – probably a month.  Sorry about that.  Fortunately for me, time seems to be moving fairly quickly.  I have less than 3 months to go but am trying not to start the countdown yet.  A couple of weeks ago I heard rumblings that I may get extended for a couple months – that has been cleared up and I am still on track to return home by the middle of May.  I also found out that the Navy Reserve is going to involuntarily recall some lawyers for this next rotation.  Finally, to further ratify my decision to volunteer when I did, my replacement will have to serve 220 days in Iraq – I am only here for 179 days!

Unfortunately I cannot tell you much about the cases/work that I am doing for security reasons.  Outside of that, you’ve already heard pretty much what an average day is like for me.  Feels a little like groundhogs day – sort of the same thing day after day.  To say that I am enjoying this experience would be an overstatement, but I am certainly proud to be doing it and I definitely don’t regret volunteering or hate being here.  Of course, I miss my family and friends a lot.  Dee, my mother-in-law, sent me some photos of the boys from Christmas.  They have each changed so much in the short time I’ve been gone.  It is great talking to them on the phone and, Internet permitting, we’ve even video-called via the webcam a few times.  However, it’s still not the same as being there and I so look forward to spending time with them when I get home.  I also miss driving, television (we have limited access & I did watch the Super Bowl live…starting at 2:00 a.m.), and walking on smooth surfaces!  I could also go for a Tomasos pizza and a beer.

Believe it or not, I also miss the snow.  The best (or worse) winter in Iowa for snow in a long time and I don’t get to enjoy any of it.  Paula has had more than enough with the scooping and the kids staying home from school.  I just talked to them a little while ago and was informed Cedar Rapids received another 4 inches.  I told the boys about it being 70 degrees and sunny here today – they said they wanted to come.  I assured them that they really didn’t!

Attached is another photo – this is from last Friday when we went to the range and did some shooting.  I know, it’s scary to see a lawyer with a gun!  We were practicing shooting around barricades.  That’s a really good idea if you think about it!

I may have some exciting work-related stuff to report in a couple weeks.  If you don’t hear from me though, don’t be surprised.  The pace of life and the pace of the court system here is much more casual than back home.  It gets really frustrating sometimes, but I try to remind myself that we are here to help rebuild THEIR justice system, not make it like ours.

Well, it looks like it’s about dinner time for me so I’m gonna go.  Thank you all for your cards and e-mails and keep them coming!



CLE approved for February 2008 LCBA Meeting

State CLE credit in the amount of .5 hours has been approved for the February 2008 LCBA meeting as follows:

Program Name:  Update on Iowa Probate & Trust Law
Date:  2/21/2008
City:  Cedar Rapids
Class Type:  Standard(live)
Total CLE Hours Approved:  .5 (includes ethics hours)
Ethics Hours Approved:  0
Activity Number:  48482

Next LCBA meeting February 21 at Art Museum

The February meeting of the Linn County Bar Association will be held on Thursday, February 21, 2008, beginning at Noon, at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art on Third Avenue SE across from Greene Square Park. The meeting room is located on the third floor. Parking is available behind the building on the Second Avenue side. Lunch is $7 and will be provided by Kristeena’s.

This month’s speaker will be LCBA member Susan Pence, Second Vice-President and Trust Officer at Iowa State Bank & Trust Co. in Iowa City. Ms. Pence will discuss recent updates to Iowa probate and trust law.  One-half hour state CLE credit has been approved for this event.

Iowa Law Review Symposium and CLE Credit February 29

The following announcement is from the Iowa Law Review: 

The Iowa Law Review is pleased to present its 2008 symposium, Procedural Justice: Perspectives on Summary Judgment, Peremptory Challenges, and the Exclusionary Rule. The symposium will be held on February 29, 2008, at the Boyd Law Building in Iowa City, Iowa.

During the event, practitioners and scholars will explore the use and constitutionality of three procedural exclusionary devices: (1) motions for summary judgment, (2) Batson challenges during jury selection, and (3) the exclusionary rule in criminal cases. Each panel will be moderated by a judge from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Over the lunch hour, the symposium will feature a panel of judges from the Eighth Circuit and Iowa federal district courts who will answer questions and discuss issues relating to procedural issues in the federal judiciary. The program has been approved for a maximum of 6 continuing legal education credits under the regulations of the Iowa Supreme Court.

For more information, a detailed schedule, and CLE registration, please visit our website: and click on the symposium link.

Dedication of New Linn County Law Library February 14

The Linn County Board of Supervisors has issued the following invitation:  

The Linn County Board of Supervisors cordially invites you to attend a brief dedication of the new Linn County Courtroom/Law Library on Thursday, February 14, 2008 at 11:30 a.m., Courtroom 3F, Third Floor, Linn County Courthouse, Third Avenue Bridge, Cedar Rapids, IA.  Brief remarks to be given by judicial and county officials, and project team members.

Sixth Judicial District’s 4th Annual Awards Ceremony to be held February 18

The Sixth Judicial District’s Fourth Annual Awards Ceremony honoring recipients of various awards for excellence and dedicated service will be held Monday, February 18 at 1:30 p.m. at the Linn County Courthouse, Courtroom 4-B. All attorneys in the Sixth Judicial District are invited. For more information and a list of recipients, click here.

Save the Date! LCBA Summer Outing July 10

Got the winter blues? It’s not too early to start thinking about golf and bike rides. Please mark your calendars for Thursday, July 10, 2008, for the annual Linn County Bar Association Summer Outing. There will be a bike ride, a golf tournament at Hunters Ridge Golf Club with a 1:00 shotgun start, followed by social hour and a catered dinner afterwards. Plans are underway for a CLE seminar in the morning. Questions or comments, call Dave Thinnes at 363-3185.