In the month of August, the Clarke County Attorney’s Office prosecuted 1 jury trial. This trial was argued by Adam Ramsey. During the first 8 months this office has conducted about 8 Jury trials and several trials before a judge, these are called “bench trials.”
The Office is excited about a new opportunity to help support state and county resources by collecting delinquent court debt. While a significant portion of defendants are deemed unable to pay and have some or all of their fines and fees waived, others agree to or are judicially ordered to pay. When those that have been judicially ordered to pay refuse to make payments on their jail fees, fines, public defender fees, or court costs, increases to taxes are one of the few ways left to support the public systems that these fines and fees support. In 2016, after complaints were raised to the Des Moines Register and Iowa legislators about the dramatic amounts of the delinquent debt and the cost being paid to collect it, the legislature changed the law to encourage more collections by county attorneys. This year, for first time ever in the history of this office, we have filed the necessary paperwork to allow this office to attempt to collect this debt rather than paying a contractor called Linebarger 25 percent (the maximum allowed by law) to do it. While we are not authorized to collect delinquent court debt that occurred before July of this year, we will collect court debt that goes delinquent after that point in time. The County Attorney and Assistant County Attorney attended a very important day-long training in Des Moines on collection methods by the Iowa Attorney General’s Office. We have a new set of tools to help people set up payment plans for their delinquent court debt rather than face driver’s license suspensions, wage garnishments, income tax refund seizures, and up to 30 days of jail time for contempt of court.
In terms of August’s workload, the Office defended a few depositions. 8 Felony cases came in and 5 were disposed. Felony cases are the most serious of criminal cases. The State’s case tracking system reflects total of 77 pending felony cases for Clarke County (down one from 78).
Indictable misdemeanors are misdemeanor crimes that are punishable by more than a year but no more than two years of incarceration. Misdemeanor crimes are categorized as Aggravated, Serious, and Simple. Aggravated Misdemeanors are the most serious misdemeanors and can be punished by up to two years in prison. Serious Misdemeanor crimes are punishable by up to one year in the County Jail. Simple Misdemeanor crimes are punishable by up to 30 days in the county jail. As you can imagine, fines increase with the severity of the crime.
In August, 16 indictable Misdemeanors came in and 22 were disposed. The State’s case tracking system reflects that the pending number decreased from 198 cases to 195.
In August, 402 Simple Misdemeanors came in and 348 were disposed. The State’s case tracking system reflects that the number of pending Simple Misdemeanors is now rests at 612.
In August, the Clarke County Attorney’s Office Juvenile Case Load included 8 new Child in Need of Assistance (CINA) cases with 5 disposed. The State’s case tracking system reflects 79 CINA cases and 94 total pending Juvenile cases.
In August, 0 Juvenile Delinquency case came in and 0 were disposed. The State’s case tracking system rests at 15 total pending Juvenile Delinquency cases.