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Supreme Court of Iowa

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Supreme Court of Iowa
Iowa Supreme Court.jpg
Iowa Judicial Branch Building
LocationDes Moines, Iowa
Composition methodMissouri Plan
Authorized byIowa Constitution
Appeals toSupreme Court of the United States
Number of positions7
WebsiteOfficial website
Chief Justice
CurrentlyMark Cady
SinceJanuary 11, 2011
Lead position endsDecember 31, 2024
Jurist term endsDecember 31, 2024

The Supreme Court of Iowa is the highest court in the U.S. state of Iowa. As constitutional head of the Iowa Judicial Branch, the Court is composed of a Chief Justice and six Associate Justices.

The Court holds its regular sessions in Des Moines in the Iowa Judicial Branch Building located at 1111 East Court Avenue on the state Capitol grounds just south of the Iowa State Capitol.

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  • ✪ Unsolved Mysteries with Robert Stack - Season 1 Episode 18 - Full Episode
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[SUSPENSEFUL MUSIC] ROBERT STACK: Tonight the story of auto racing legend and self-made millionaire Mickey Thompson. He and his wife were gunned down in what police believe was a contract killing. 50 years ago the mysterious George J. Stein opened 10 savings accounts across the Midwest and disappeared. His unknown heirs stand to inherit a fortune. Michael Wayde Mohon, a convicted armed robber, is a modern day Houdini, escaping from custody on three different occasions. Recently 12 residents near Pikes Peak Colorado claim to have seen evidence of a bizarre creature, half man, half ape. Could the legend of Bigfoot be more than a myth? Cheerleader Joyce McLain was brutally murdered eight years ago. Friends and neighbors in her Maine hometown are desperate to find the killer. Tonight five stories, each a unique and compelling mystery. Perhaps someone watching can help solve them, perhaps that someone is you. [SUSPENSEFUL MUSIC] Mickey Thompson was a legend in the world of auto racing. Cars were Mickey's life and they propelled him to success beyond his dreams. [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] Among his many innovations were the slingshot dragsters. And in 1960, his home built challenger was the first to break the 400 miles per hour mark. Mickey was also a pioneer in promoting off road racing. [UPBEAT MUSIC] DANNY THOMPSON: Yeah, I think a good description of my dad was he was flat out all the time. And, I mean, he was pedal to the floor, and that's the way he spent his life. He loved to go fast, and he loved racing. And I think the businesses were a way to help him continue to race. [ENGINE ROARS] ROBERT STACK: Mickey's obsession with speed drove him far, sometimes too far. In the mid-70s a speedboat accident paralyzed him from the waist down. [WATER SPLASHES] Doctors felt he would never walk again. Mickey proved them wrong. With death constantly at his shoulder, he looked to the support of his wife Trudy. COLLENE CAMPBELL: Mickey's and Trudy's daily routine was just about twice as frantic as anybody else. They did not work an eight hour day. They worked at least a 16 hour day. I know that it's only five hours before the race starts-- COLLENE CAMPBELL: They had a goal, and they were trying to achieve it. And they liked working, and they enjoyed it, and that was their whole life. It was a fun thing to work hard, and they really worked hard. [INDISTINCT CHATTER] ROBERT STACK: During the '80s, Mickey developed an extremely profitable stadium racing venture. His business style was similar to his hard driving racing tactics. Mickey told family members that he had received death threats. COLLENE CAMPBELL: Mickey talked to me, and said that he was tremendously concerned. He said he was afraid that an individual was going to hurt his baby, meaning his wife Trudy. And I responded, oh, Mick, you don't really think so, do you? He says, I'm telling you, he's absolutely, absolutely capable of it. [SOMBER MUSIC] ROBERT STACK: Mickey and Trudy lived and Bradbury, California, an affluent rural community located near Los Angeles. At 6:00 AM on March 16, 1988, the pastoral quiet of Bradbury was broken by the sound of gunfire. [GUN FIRES] [SIRENS WAIL] [OMINOUS MUSIC] [RADIO CHATTER] The shots came from Micky Thompson's home. At the bottom of the driveway sheriffs found Trudy lying dead. 57, 10-33, requesting backup. ROBERT STACK: A few yards away, near the garage, Mickey Thompson was also found dead. [SUSPENSEFUL MUSIC] The precision and cold blooded nature of this double homicide convinced investigators that this was no amateur killing. For this reason, Mickey Thompson's friends and family have put up $260,000 in reward money. They hope this huge sum will inspire someone to come forward with the identity of the killers. So far no one has provided any information. [RADIO CHATTER] During their crime scene investigation, sheriffs found few clues. When you rolled up here, was all the jewelry and the body the way you found it here? Yeah, everything was all the same-- ROBERT STACK: They did discover that Trudy Thompson was wearing over $70,000 worth of jewelry. She and her husband were carrying $4,000 in cash. Robbery seemed an unlikely motive. OK. MICHAEL W. GRIGGS: It doesn't make any sense to us that a person would have passed up such obvious pieces of jewelry. It wasn't like a ring or a bracelet that was hidden by gloves, or a long blouse, or something. It was quite obvious, and it just doesn't make sense to us why somebody wouldn't have taken it. This just wasn't a random crime, it was well-planned. ROBERT STACK: The only other unusual clue that was found at the crime scene was a stun gun. DETECTIVE: About two and a half-- MICHAEL W. GRIGGS: We found a plastic stun gun, and we cannot say that this ever belonged to the two victims. We've talked to all their friends, and they say they never owned one. And we just don't believe it was theirs. We don't really know why the suspects would bring it to the location. It would only be speculation on why. ROBERT STACK: That morning the gunshots that killed Mickey and Trudy were heard by a witness. He believes he saw the killer's escape. Well, my wife and I were asleep in bed. It was about 6 o'clock in the morning. [GUNSHOT] When we heard the shots, we literally jumped straight out the bed, and I ran over to the window to see where the shots were coming from. My wife got on the phone and dialed 911, and told the police that there's shots coming from the Thompson residence. There was probably about 15 seconds of silence, and at that time we heard Mickey screaming, please don't hurt my wife. Please don't hurt my wife. The next thing we heard is another series of shots and silence again. After the second series of shots, I saw two black men on 10 speed bikes pedaling as fast as they could get out of here. [SUSPENSEFUL MUSIC] ROBERT STACK: Several neighborhood residents spotted the men riding down a nearby road, others recalled seeing them and in the weeks previous to the killings. These witnesses provided investigators with descriptions of the suspects, two black males dressed in jogging suits between 20 and 30 years of age, approximately six feet tall, weighing 185 to 200 pounds. [SUSPENSEFUL MUSIC] Based on her intimate knowledge of Mickey and Trudy's daily routine, Mickey's sister, Collene, has developed her own theory as to how they were ambushed and murdered. COLLENE CAMPBELL: You could almost set a clock by Mickey and Trudy's behavior. They would leave around 6 o'clock every morning. It would be easy for somebody to know what their daily routine was. And I'm sure the people that killed Mickey knew exactly what time they left, because they left without daylight every morning. [SUSPENSEFUL MUSIC] [ENGINE STARTS] My belief is that when Trudy got in the van and backed it out, the people that murdered them were waiting in the bush. And Mickey just didn't have a chance. He walked right into where they were. [SUSPENSEFUL MUSIC] [GUNSHOT] It's been stated that Mickey was yelling, just don't hurt my wife, don't hurt my wife. And I'm sure he told her to get out of there, to run after he was hit. And she didn't make it. [GUNSHOT] [SUSPENSEFUL MUSIC] ROBERT STACK: Investigators found it odd that the killers would ride to the crime scene on bicycles. The gunmen also failed to use silencers on their weapons. Detective Griggs believes one explanation might be that the killers planned to abduct Mickey and Trudy before killing them, intending to make their escape in the Thomson's van. Possibly they plan-- because of the stun gun and no silencers-- to maybe bring them back in the house, or take him somewhere away from the location where they could do it, and the lack of silencers wouldn't make any difference. [SOMBER MUSIC] ROBERT STACK: Almost a year has passed since a double homicide. Mickey's son and sister want to know not only who killed Mickey and Trudy, but who may have ordered it done. DANNY THOMPSON (VOICEOVER): I want to see this person or persons brought to justice OM the very, very worst way. And I'm going to do anything I can with whatever it takes. COLLENE CAMPBELL (VOICEOVER): There is something inside of you that says, yes, I do want those people punished. It was just a very cowardly thing to do. ROBERT STACK: After 13 years of investigation, police arrested Thompson's former business partner Michael Goodwin. DANIEL ROSENBERG: We do believe that Mr. Goodwin orchestrated the murders. We believe he planned the murders. And we believe that his motive was based on a personal vendetta along with financial gain. There is simply no evidence, nor has there ever been, that implicates Mike Goodwin of the murders. That the key innuendo or motive has always been the alleged civil dispute between Mike Goodwin and Mickey Thompson. Mike negotiated a settlement with Mickey Thompson. There are third party witnesses that confirm that. There was no motive to kill Mickey Thompson. ROBERT STACK: Sheriff's investigators claim that an eyewitness recently came forward and identified Michael Goodwin as a man seen sitting in a station wagon in the Thompson's neighborhood, spying on them with binoculars several days before the murders. JEFFREY BENICE: We've taken his exact description of where he says he saw the vehicle and Mr. Goodwin, and we've basically re-enacted it, and it's almost hilarious. He would not be able to see Mickey and Trudy Thompson's home from there. The charges against Mike Goodwin are entirely meritless. There's no evidence, and that's just not my viewpoint. No charges were filed for 13 years in this case, and there's a reason for that. District attorney didn't file charges, because there was no evidence against Michael Goodwin. [UPBEAT MUSIC] ROBERT STACK: When we return, the case of Michael Wayde Mohon, a man that prisons cannot hold. After three successful escapes, he is still on the run. He's a very definite threat to anybody, you know any citizen, anywhere. [SUSPENSEFUL MUSIC] ROBERT STACK: New Year's Eve, 1983, Fountain Valley, California. [TIRES SCREECH] [SIRENS WAIL] After being called to the scene of a reported burglary, police became involved in a high speed chase with the suspects. The chase ended in the parking lot of a condominium complex. [TIRES SCREECH] Officer Kevin Arnold took off after one of the two suspects. KEVIN ARNOLD: I'd been involved in other vehicle pursuits and other foot pursuits. And I've arrested burglary suspects before where everything is supposed to go a certain way. You know, we chase them, and tell them to get on the ground. He gets on the ground, and we handcuff him, and that's the end of the problem. This one, all of a sudden, he wasn't obeying my commands. We're struggling over the gun and I realize that he's trying to kill me. [GUNSHOT] ROBERT STACK: In order to avoid being shot, Arnold tried to empty his revolver into the air. I know there's one left. ROBERT STACK: Five out of six shots were fired. Arnold then reached for his second service revolver. He fired five shots at his adversary. The man survived. His name was Michael Wayde Mohon. When they checked their records, police discovered that Mohon had five pages of previous convictions. He was known as a master of disguises and often used them to escape capture. OFFICER: OK, just turn only your head to the right. ROBERT STACK: After his arrest in Orange County on New Year's Eve 1983, Mohon remained in police custody for a year while he awaited trial. He underwent physical therapy at a local hospital outside of jail for the six bullet wounds sustained during his struggle with Officer Arnold. RICHARD OLSON: One day when he was going to therapy there was a nurse that was talking to someone else, and she made a mistake by saying out loud that he was going to be coming again on a certain day. And of course, Mohon is the type of person that would file that away for future use. ROBERT STACK: On January 17, 1985, the date the nurse had mentioned, Mohon arrived at the hospital. RICHARD OLSON: As they got to the back door of the therapy building, Michael started to walk in. And as he walked in he stumbled and fell forward. MICHAEL WAYDE MOHON: Don't move or I'll shoot. Now handcuff yourself. RICHARD OLSON: When he came up he had a gun, and of course he got the drop on Deputy Finney. MICHAEL WAYDE MOHON: Let's go, man. Get them on. Up against the wall. RICHARD OLSON: Once he had the deputy handcuff himself, he took a second set of cuffs, moved him down the hall, and used that set of cuffs to cuff him to a fire pipe. Feel this? Yeah, I feel it. RICHARD OLSON: As Mohon was leaving the building he told the deputy to stay there, and not to make any noise, and that it was his lucky day. And at that point he backed out of the door, ran to a waiting pickup truck where his wife, Sharon, was waiting in the parking lot. Jumped in the truck, and they drove away, and made good the escape. I gotta get into my clothes. Clothes are in that bag on the floor. RICHARD OLSON: During the course of the follow up investigation, it was our conclusion that it was Sharon Mohon that had been driving the truck. We also felt that she was the one that planted the gun. And when we took her into custody a couple of days later, we arrested her for aiding and abetting. And she eventually pled guilty. ROBERT STACK: Sharon Shaw Mohon was sentenced to three years in jail for her involvement in the escape. She has since been paroled and authorities believe she has rejoined her husband. One week after his daring escape, Mohon surfaced in Mesa, Arizona, and again became involved in a high speed chase with police. [SIRENS WAIL] At speeds that sometimes exceeded 100 miles per hour. Mohon led police on a two hour chase. [SIRENS WAIL] A number of units were in pursuit and still Mohon kept ahead of them. [SIRENS WAIL] A helicopter joined in the hunt. Police believe that Mohon deliberately prolonged the dangerous chase hoping the helicopter would run out of fuel. He didn't count on a second chopper taking over from the first. The chase covered so many miles that eight different police departments were involved. [SIRENS WAIL] [RADIO CHATTER] Finally a barricade was set up. And the chase came to an end. [TIRES SCREECH] [RADIO CHATTER] OFFICER: Hands where I can see them! Slide over to your right. Keep coming, keep coming. Keep your hands right where I can see them. POLICE OFFICER: Good, that's good. Down. ROBERT STACK: Once again, Mohon was under arrest. As he was taken into custody, police were surprised how friendly he seemed, unusual behavior for a man who was facing a serious charge. During his interrogation Mohon maintained a false identity. --voluntarily to answer my questions. ROBERT STACK: But made little effort to hide the fact that he was lying. First of all, I don't really even know you. What's your name? Claude Banks Tillman. Claude-- Banks a family name? That's a money name. It's a good name. DONALD P. RYAN: As we began the interview here, it got to the point where we kind of realized between the two of us that he wasn't who he really said he was. And he had kind of a smirky attitude with him that-- "my name is Claude Tillman--" until you find out differently. We just got a bulletin from the Intelligence Unit. ROBERT STACK: The following morning as Detective Ryan was leafing through some newly arrived wanted posters, he came across one identifying Michael Mohon. He realized that this was the face of the man they knew was Claude Tillman. Excuse me, Bob. BOB: Sure. Did you put these in here today? BOB: Yeah. DONALD P. RYAN: This is the guy. This is Tillman. The guy I talked about. BOB: No. DONALD P. RYAN: Yeah. I'll call Orange County. ROBERT STACK: At that moment, unbeknownst to the authorities, their quarry was shackled to seven other convicts, two of the women, on his way to the Tempe courthouse. HARVEY D. WOODS: After Mohon's preliminary hearing, I drove the inmates over to the Tempe Justice Court. I had one inmate that had to go in there for a preliminary hearing. I parked in front of the court, secured the van, took the prisoner inside. I was inside approximately 10 minutes. ROBERT STACK: During those 10 minutes, Mohon and an accomplice kicked out a window in the front of the van, and escaped by running towards the crowded campus of Arizona State University. [UPBEAT MUSIC] HARVEY D. WOODS: Well, apparently our investigators in talking to the people in the van that had stayed, the two young ladies related that Mohon and his accomplice had planned on jumping me, taking my gun, and killing me. Thereby giving him a gun and ammunition to effect their escape. But the young ladies had been given a release that day. They were due to be released that evening. And they pleaded with Mohon to attempt to kick out the Lexan glass as opposed to kill me. And fortunately, he tried that, and it did work for him. Yeah, let's. Come on. Let's go. [TIRES SCREECH] ROBERT STACK: Mohon and his accomplice Jeffrey Leslie stole a truck from an auto mechanic and drove away to freedom. [CHEERS] [UPBEAT MUSIC] Update, Mobile, Alabama-- within minutes after this story first aired, the local FBI office received a call from a viewer who reported that she recognized Michael and Sharon Mohon. RAY PHELPS: The tipster that called in indicated that she had seen Mohon and his wife in Mobile. And that they were using an assumed name of Steve and Mary Bostwick. (VOICE ALTERED) At first I didn't think it was him, and then I noticed her immediately. There was no doubt. Then when they shot back on his photographs, I knew with beyond a doubt. ROBERT STACK: The caller told authorities that Mohon and his wife were living in a trailer located behind a house just outside of Mobile. The FBI staked out the trailer. RAY PHELPS: And on April the 19th, two individuals, a man and a woman, who fit the description of Michael Mohon and Sharon Mohon, departed that area. And then proceeded to the community of Prichard, Alabama. And they went to a auto parts store. And after Mr. Mohon came out of the auto parts store, he was arrested along with his wife, Sharon Mohon. ROBERT STACK: On July 7th Michael Wayde Mohon was returned to Orange County, California and is currently in custody awaiting trial. Sharon Mohon was returned to a Northern California correctional facility for violating her parole. [UPBEAT MUSIC] Coming up next, in the mountains of Colorado, 12 reliable witnesses claimed to have seen evidence of a mysterious creature the Indians called Sasquatch, but which the world knows as Bigfoot. [SUSPENSEFUL MUSIC] Pikes Peak, Colorado, 100,000 acres of dense wilderness surround this majestic mountain. For centuries this forest has been a sanctuary for bobcat, black bear, and mountain lion. And recently there have been reports of a different kind of animal roaming the woods. Basically looked like a big man or a big shape coming toward us, and we turned around and started running. It had long hair hanging off its arms and its legs. It had a small torso, but long legs and a long arm. Whatever these creatures are, I believe they're more human than ape. I believe that possibly there may be a group of anywhere between 7 and possibly 10. A small band of these creatures living here in the Pikes Peak region. For hundreds of years strange ape-like creatures have been seen across the Western United States. The Indians call them Sasquatch. Today they are known by the name Bigfoot. Until recently many share the prevailing belief that these sightings were either hoaxes or the misidentification of common animals. But today in Colorado new physical evidence seems to substantiate the numerous eyewitness reports, suggesting that perhaps, just perhaps, there really is a Bigfoot. On the morning of March 27, 1987, local resident Dan Masia's son discovered a set of mysterious tracks in the newly fallen snow. Hey, Dad, look at this. What do you got? There's some weird tracks. Tracks? ROBERT STACK: Though Dan has spent much of his life in the outdoors, he didn't recognize the tracks. DAN MASIAS: On examination of the footprints, I determined that it was something very strange, and related to the past footprints we had seen around our home. The next night I got a hunch, my son and I stayed up late. Downstairs we watched television. And every 15 or 20 minutes I kept going to my window. At quarter of 12, I went to my window a few seconds later I could see two large creatures running down the road, one of them was a small one, which was about 5 foot 6, 5 foot 7. And the other creature was about 6 foot, maybe 6 foot 2. And other than the hair, which appeared to be covering their body, they looked just like human beings. Put your hand down there, so we can take a photograph. ROBERT STACK: The next day Dan took pictures of the tracks. These are the actual photographs. The large set is almost a foot long, and the smaller set is 8 inches in length. But these toes, the way they're-- ROBERT STACK: Animal physiologist Vaughan Langman believes that this plaster replica fits the foot that made the Colorado tracks. --or anything that might be North American. There's no way for us to identify a foot like this. The print itself does not fall into any of the normal grizzly bear North American species classifications. The foot the way it is now been presented is a primate foot. If there is an unknown bipedal hominid-like creature living in the Pikes Peak region, it would be the discovery of the century. ROBERT STACK: Dan Masia's nocturnal sighting was featured in a number of local papers. He was contacted by 12 other witnesses who'd had a similar encounter. [SUSPENSEFUL MUSIC] One summer afternoon in 1978, Jeramy Swisher and five companions came face to face with an extraordinary creature while hiking near the Pikes Peak area. JERAMY SWISHER: We came around the base of this big rock and we saw this-- it looked like an individual. It had turned around, and it was coming toward us. He started to chase us. It looked like a fairly good size man. It was around 6 foot tall. That's the shape of it. The arms might have been a little bit longer than normal. The run was more or less like that of an athlete, a man of some sort. It was right across the road from us, and that scared us enough to take off for the rest of the way home. [SUSPENSEFUL MUSIC] ROBERT STACK: For years eyewitnesses have claimed to have seen a creature like Bigfoot, particularly in the Pacific Northwest. The recent sightings in Colorado have all occurred in the newly populated area close to the boundaries of the Pike National Forest. Some of these witnesses prefer to remain anonymous. WITNESS: I'm positive that I saw some type of creature that was the strangest thing I've ever seen in my life. It wasn't a bear. It wasn't like anything I've ever seen before. [FOOTSTEPS] I had a fear in me. I got out of the truck, and it passed me, and I just I got behind, but a clear enough distance, because I was about to go tackle it. [LAUGHS] But it seemed to have the figure of a human being except it had hair everywhere on its body. I didn't see the face at all, but it had hair covering its body. [BANGING] ROBERT STACK: In early August 1988, a cabin was broken into by large animal. When the owner rushed to the back porch, the intruder had vanished. But the cabin door had sustained considerable damage. [SUSPENSEFUL MUSIC] The next morning two boys found that whatever had broken in had left tufts of hair snagged in the screen door. We sent this hair to a diagnostic laboratory at the University of California at San Francisco. This laboratory is one of the world's leading centers for analysis of this type. I've tested these hairs for all the major groups of mammals that have large specimens like you know deer, bear, and so forth, and it only reacts with the primates. And of the primates, it only reacts with hominoids. And there are only five hominoids, human, chimpanzee, gorilla, orangutan, and gibbon. And I have eliminated all of those except human and chimpanzee. So it's some large animal closely related to human and chimpanzee or one of those. And it is hard to see how that could have escaped detection over thousands of years. ROBERT STACK: Biological artist Carol Miracle was able to create a composite from four eyewitnesses. It showed a huge hairy humanoid creature that closely resembled other descriptions of Bigfoot. Is it possible that this legendary creature might exist? For centuries, people have reported encounters with Bigfoot. It could be that these reports are hoaxes or the products of overeager imaginations. But there is a remote chance that a handful of these creatures do exist, hidden away in the vast unexplored wilderness of Colorado in the Pacific Northwest. Until hard physical evidence appears, skeptics will continue to doubt the validity of these sightings. But skeptics have occasionally been wrong. [SUSPENSEFUL MUSIC] On November 12, 1936, in a bank located in Ripon, Wisconsin, a man named George J. Stein opened up a savings account for $120. Stein left no social security numbers on file and no home address. Between 1936 and 1952, George J. Stein opened dozens of bank accounts, primarily in savings and loans throughout the Midwest. But Stein never returned to reclaim his fortune. Today it totals in excess of $130,000. Why would a man deposit thousands of dollars and never come back? There are many similar unclaimed bank accounts around the country, but few are as large and as mysterious as those opened by one, George J. Stein. Two investigators have developed theories as to who Stein was, one believes he was a traveling salesman, the other notorious bank robber. If someone can unravel this mystery and prove that they are related to George J. Stein, they would inherit over $130,000. Stein's deposits were scattered across the Midwest. There were three accounts in the states of Minnesota and Indiana, and at least one in each of the states of Iowa and Illinois, and five in Wisconsin. There is also a possibility of a Stein account in Texas. Investigator Tom Becker became interested in one small deposit made in Indianapolis. [PHONE RINGS] TOM BECKER: But finally in desperation I thought, well, let's check this little diddly $185 account, maybe we'll come up with something. Also, this was the only one that I could find where he gave an address other than General Delivery, or YMCA, or on the account it might say address unknown. He gave an address of 505 Washington Street, Indianapolis. ROBERT STACK: This address out to be Inland Jobber's, a company that made men's hats, gloves, and other accessories. [JAZZ MUSIC] Earlier Tom had found a physical description of the elusive Stein. And he able to match it with descriptions of a traveling salesman named Ralph Barnett. Hi, Ralph. Hi, Jeff-- ROBERT STACK: Barnett's sales territories overlap the towns from which many of Stein's deposits were mailed. STORE OWNER: We are running short. How much you want for them? $40. Good. [REGISTER RINGS] TOM BECKER: So as he acquired more money than he needed for living expenses, my theory is he would mail it to one of these savings and loans. In checking the records, I can't find any case where he dealt with two savings and loans at the same time. And I think this had to do with the $5,000 insured limit. He didn't want too much in any one savings and loan. My own theory on this is that Barnett, or whoever George J. Stein was, like I say, he eventually met an unfortunate end, maybe a heart attack, maybe he was murdered, who knows. And as he disappeared very suddenly, he never made a withdrawal on any of these accounts. So obviously, when he stopped it was a sudden end, because nobody deposits money without the intention of ever withdrawing it. ROBERT STACK: Genealogist Frances Scoll has a different theory. When she combed through all of Stein's deposit records, she discovered a return address written on one of his deposit envelopes. The name was Ed Fay. And one day while checking through some newspapers from 1903, she discovered just who Ed Fay may have been. FRANCES SCOLL (VOICEOVER): A man named Ed Fay had robbed a post office with his gang. And it was a post office up in Superior, Wisconsin. ROBERT STACK: In October of 1903 in Superior, Ed Fay masterminded a daring post office robbery, absconding with over $15,000 in stamps and cash. [WESTERN MUSIC] We're in. [SAFE CRACKS OPEN] Ed Fay was clever, but not clever enough. Shortly after the post office robbery, he was arrested. FRANCES SCOLL: He had a reputation for being very, very slick, and well-educated, and could get away with almost anything, and he boasted that there was no jail that could hold him. We're out. ROBERT STACK: No jail did hold him. With an accomplice, Fay engineered his escape. He then vanished. Till this day, nobody knows where he went. FRANCES SCOLL: Well, that was in 1904, and he was 28 or 29. In the 1939s and '40s, he would have been about in his 60s, early 60s. My theory is that he may have decided he needed the money. He couldn't spend it as it was, and he may have been known as Eddie Fay in that area where he mailed it from. And the only way to do was to change his identity, so that no one would ask where Ed Fay got all that money. And then become somebody else and also have his bank accounts all in somebody else's names. ROBERT STACK: Was George J. Stein the notorious gentleman robber Ed Fay? Or was he a mild mannered haberdashery salesman named Ralph Barnett? Regardless of his identity, any legitimate heirs could collect over $130,000, but they would first have to prove they were related to Stein and provide a signature matching Stein's handwriting that was written during the period of time when Stein made his many deposits. So far, there have been five applicants, but no successful claims. [SUSPENSEFUL MUSIC] Eight years ago, the mill town of East Millinocket, Maine was safe and secure. The last place you'd expect a brutal murder to occur. Children played outside with no fear. It was a peaceful small town and a close knit community of 2,600 souls. The sense of security was shattered on August the 8th, 1980. On that day, Joyce McLain, a spirited and promising 16-year-old, was brutally murdered in the woods behind the high school soccer field. Her murder has not been solved, and the town will never be the same again. NANCY DESCHAINE: It's just something, in a little town like this, that you don't forget. It's there all the time. I mean here we are eight years later and people in the community-- there's not a day that goes by that her name isn't mentioned. Mainly because she was such a bright, beautiful young girl. So talented. She made such a mark on this town. The population of East Millinocket is only 2600. Yet over 6,000 signatures were collected on this petition that was sent to us, urgently requesting that we tell Joyce's story. The townspeople feel that "Unsolved Mysteries" is their last chance to find Joyce's killer. They know that nothing can bring her back, but they refuse to accept the intrusion of senseless violence into their town and into their lives. Joyce McClain was the kind of teenager that would make any family or any hometown proud. She was born in East Millinocket in 1963, and 19 months later, her little sister Wendy came along. [SOMBER MUSIC] Joyce displayed extraordinary musical talent at an early age and later on played in the school orchestra and composed music of her own. Joyce was an honors student, a cheerleader, and an officer of the student body. She was popular and well-loved. PAM MCLAIN: Joyce's mind was filled with thoughts of what kind of a future she was going to have. She was heading into a new step in life. She was getting her driver's license. She was going to turn 17 years old. She had a big party planned at the beach with a big band. And lots of friends and family was going to be there. I believe that it was a growing up time. [OMINOUS MUSIC] ROBERT STACK: On Friday, August the 8th, 1980, Joyce went jogging at 7:30 in the evening. That Friday was the last time Joyce was seen alive. BARRY SHUMAN: Joyce had a route that took her out around the town and behind Schenck High School. And the last time she was seen is turning the corner going down to the soft ball field and the soccer field where she usually did a number of laps. We have witnesses that say this happened roughly between quarter of 8 and 8 o'clock in the evening. ROBERT STACK: Two days later Peter likely one of the volunteers searching for Joyce found her body in the woods behind the high school. PETER LARLEE: I saw Joyce, and she wasn't moving, and her body looked like it had been beaten. Joyce! PETER LARLEE: I knew that she wasn't alive. Joyce! PETER LARLEE: I started screaming her name. And after that I turned and ran home to call the police. I know it to be a-- a big part in my life that-- that's really hurt me. I never expected what happened at all. [INDISTINCT CHATTER] ROBERT STACK: No one knows exactly what events led up to the death of Joyce McLain. The last time she was seen, Joyce was jogging towards a soccer field. BARRY SHUMAN: That particular Friday night there were groups of kids out there partying. There was also a softball tournament in town, which brought another 300 to 500 people behind that field where she would have been jogging, and they were playing softball right up until dusk that evening. [INDISTINCT CHATTER] ROBERT STACK: The field was a popular hangout, and one theory is that local boys were drinking there. It is possible that when they saw Joyce approaching they began harassing her. People close to the case feel that Joyce might have been led into the woods against her will, and that some of the boys in the group that tormented Joyce, tied her up intending to attack her sexually. Instead, they murdered her. A second theory is that Joyce's attackers might have been day laborers at the local paper mill. The mill had just taken on 300 workers who were not local residents. Eight years after that Joyce was murdered, her case remains unsolved. Her death was a devastating blow to her family and to the town of East Millinocket. [CHILDREN PLAYING] WENDY MCLAIN: Before she was murdered, all of us kids would all go out walking around like 6 o'clock. We were all out on the street. And after she was murdered, it all changed. The parents were real, you know, where are you going? What time are you going to be home? And people never even locked the doors around here. People started locking up their houses. And I mean, everybody was just in a panic. It was like-- it's something you least expect around here. Can you imagine living in a town where people are aware that these killers have never been found. They may very well be still walking our streets. The town is-- it's been like a pressure cooker just ready to explode. [SOMBER MUSIC] ROBERT STACK: On the 8 year anniversary of Joyce's death, the town held a candlelight memorial ceremony. They want to keep Joyce's memory alive, and they want to keep alive the hope that her murderer will one day be found. PAM MCLAIN: I believe that Joyce's murder is solvable. And I believe out there someone has just the tiniest bit of information. They may not even know it. They could come forward, and it could be solved. [SOMBER MUSIC] For every mystery, there is someone somewhere who knows the truth. Perhaps that someone was watching. Perhaps it's you. [SUSPENSEFUL MUSIC] [TONES PLAY]



In 1846, Iowa became the 29th state to join the United States. Following the constitution of the Federal government, the powers of the government in Iowa were divided into the legislative branch, the executive branch, and the judicial branch. In the judicial branch, the Iowa General Assembly divided the state into four judicial districts, and Supreme Court justices were to serve six year terms, while district judges were elected for five year terms. The Constitution of Iowa of 1857 increased the judicial districts from four to 11, and allowed the General Assembly to reorganize districts after 1860 and every four years thereafter.[1]


The Supreme Court of Iowa is an appellate court. An appellate court reviews decisions of trial courts in which appeals have been allowed. An appellate court does not preside over trials. Appellate court hearings do not involve witnesses, juries, new evidence, or court reporters. Instead, an appellate court reviews the written record of the trial court to determine whether any significant legal errors occurred. The Rules of Appellate Procedure list the requirements for filing an appeal.

The seven-member Supreme Court of Iowa has many important responsibilities.[2]

  • The Court is the "court of last resort" or the highest court in the Iowa state court system. Its opinions are binding on all other Iowa state courts.
  • The Iowa Supreme Court has the sole power to admit persons to practice as attorneys in the courts of Iowa, to prescribe rules to supervise attorney conduct, and to discipline attorneys.
  • The Court is responsible for promulgating rules of procedure and practice used throughout the state courts.
  • The Supreme Court has supervisory and administrative control over the judicial branch and over all judicial officers and court employees.


Justices are appointed by the governor from a list of nominees submitted by the State Judicial Nominating Commission. A justice serves an initial term of office that is one year after appointment and until January 1 following the next judicial retention election after expiration of such year.[3] The regular term of office of justices retained at election is eight years. A justice must retire upon reaching the age of 72. The justices elect the chief justice.

Name Appointed/Elected Term expires Appointing Governor Governor's Party Affiliation
Chief Justice Mark Cady 1998 December 31, 2024 Terry Branstad Republican
David Wiggins 2003 December 31, 2020 Tom Vilsack Democratic
Christopher McDonald February 20, 2019 December 31, 2020 Kim Reynolds Republican
Brent R. Appel 2006 December 31, 2024 Tom Vilsack Democratic
Edward Mansfield February 2011 December 31, 2020 Terry Branstad Republican
Thomas D. Waterman February 2011 December 31, 2020 Terry Branstad Republican
Susan Christensen September 4, 2018 December 31, 2020 Kim Reynolds Republican

Mark Cady is the current Chief Justice on the Court.

The Court had three vacancies following the defeat of three justices in the November 2, 2010, retention election.[3] Those vacancies were filled in February 2011 by the appointments of Edward Mansfield, Thomas D. Waterman, and Bruce Zager. In March 2011, the Court voted for Justice Cady to continue as Chief Justice.[4]

Notable decisions

Clark v. The Board of Directors

In 1868, the Iowa Supreme Court decided Clark v. Board of School Directors,[5] ruling that racially segregated "separate but equal" schools had no place in Iowa, 86 years before the U.S. Supreme Court reached the same decision.[6]

Arabella A. Mansfield

In 1869, Iowa became the first state in the union to admit women to the practice of law, with the Court ruling that women may not be denied the right to practice law in Iowa and admitting Arabella A. Mansfield to the practice of law.[7]

Coger v. The North Western Union Packet Co.

The Court heard Coger v. The North Western Union Packet Co.[8] in 1873, ruling against racial discrimination in public accommodations 91 years before the U.S. Supreme Court reached the same decision.[7]

Varnum v. Brien

On April 3, 2009, in Varnum v. Brien,[9] the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously struck down a statutory same-sex marriage ban as unconstitutional, joining the highest judicial bodies of Massachusetts, Connecticut, California, and Hawaii as the fifth court to rule for the right of same-sex marriage under the state constitution.[10] At the next judicial retention election in 2010, voters removed all three justices facing a retention vote.[11] It was the first time any Iowa Supreme Court justice had been removed by voters.[11] Chief Justice Marsha Ternus, Justice Michael Streit, and Justice David L. Baker each received support from 45% or less of voters.[11]

Planned Parenthood v. Reynolds

The Court heard arguments in a lawsuit brought against the state of Iowa and the Iowa Board of Medicine by Planned Parenthood and Dr. Jill Meadows regarding a 72-hour waiting period to receive an abortion enacted by the state legislature and signed into law by Governor Terry Branstad in 2017. The Court decided in a 5-2 majority opinion, authored by Chief Justice Mark Cady, that the waiting period violates the due process and equal protection clauses of the Iowa Constitution because its restrictions "are not narrowly tailored to serve a compelling interest of the state." Justice Cady argued that the state can inform women about abortion, including providing information about adoption, but that a 72-hour waiting period does not serve this interest sufficiently narrowly and imposes an undue burden on Iowan women.[12]

See also


  1. ^ Iowa Supreme Court: History Archived 2010-05-28 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ National Center for State Courts. Iowa Judicial Branch. Archived 2009-06-17 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b Schulte, Grant (January 14, 2011). "High court's four justices get back to hearing cases". The Des Moines Register. Retrieved January 15, 2011.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Krogstad, Jens (March 31, 2011). "Cady will continue as chief justice". The Des Moines Register. Retrieved April 8, 2011.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ 24 Iowa 266 (1868)
  6. ^ Longden, Tom. "Alexander G. Clark". Data Central. Des Moines Register. Retrieved February 3, 2015.
  7. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-05-05. Retrieved 2010-07-26.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Iowa Courts History Civil Rights
  8. ^ 37 Iowa 145 (1873)
  9. ^ WL 874044 (Iowa 2009)
  10. ^ Eckhoff, Jeff; Schulte, Grant (April 3, 2009). "Unanimous ruling: Iowa marriage no longer limited to one man, one woman". The Des Moines Register. Archived from the original on June 29, 2012. Retrieved January 14, 2011.
  11. ^ a b c Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. (3 November 2010). "Ouster of Iowa Judges Sends Signal to Bench". The New York Times. p. A1. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  12. ^ Leys, Tony; Gruber-Miller, Stephen (29 June 2018). "Iowa Supreme Court rejects law requiring a 72 hour abortion waiting period". Des Moines Register. Retrieved 29 June 2018.

External links

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