Archive for  October 20th 2018

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DES MOINES, Iowa– Instead of enforcing the law, the Iowa Supreme Court says the Department of Transportation spent two years breaking the law.

The Iowa DOT could be forced to refund nearly 13,000 finds that were issued between 2014 and 2016.

In 2016, two separate drivers were ticketed by DOT officers for speeding in work zones in Warren County.

The drivers sued, they say it was not within the power of the DOT to issue speeding tickets.

Friday, the Iowa Supreme Court agreed, Justices unanimously ruled that the DOT had the power to issue citations for registration, size, weight load and operating authority violations.

The DOT released this statement saying:

“We are disappointed in the result of this decision. Public safety is best served when trained peace officers are able to respond to dangerous traffic events that occur in their presence, like speeding through a work zone with a revoked license ”.

– Andrea Henry Director, Strategic Communications & Policy

Brandon brown the attorney representing the plaintiffs said this ruling could pave the way for a class-action lawsuit he is working on that would require the DOT to reimburse drivers who paid those tickets.

“It’s important because every state agency has their own function and we have maintained that The Department of Public Safety because of a ruling made decades ago that public safety has the power to regulate traffic enforcement’s, its important so that every agency stays within their own boundaries,” attorney Brandon Brown said.

Brown says on average the tickets issued were about $150.00, some upwards of $1,000 because they were in construction zones.

Since this lawsuit, Iowa legislators passed a law in 2017 that prohibits the dot from handing out speeding tickets.

GUTHRIE CENTER, Iowa — Patrick Thompson has been sentenced to life in prison. Earlier this month, Thompson was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and one count of first-degree arson, for intentionally setting a fire that killed his step-sister and her cousin.

This morning, victim impact statements were read by family members of 12 year-old Melanie Paige Exline and her cousin, 16 year-old Shakiah Cockerham; the two girls that were killed in the May 15, 2017 Guthrie Center house fire. The victim impact statements focused on what Patrick Thompson’s actions took away.

“Your poison has spread through this family so quick, and it’s time to put a stop to it,” said Dalton Exline, Paige’s brother. “You have taken very important people from me, who cannot be replaced; my little sisters. I am their older brother and was supposed to protect them from people like you.”

17 year-old Cheyanne Exline wept as she told Thompson directly just how much pain he has caused in her and her family.

“My life changed forever on the day of May 15, 2017, all because of your actions,” said Cheyanne. “Shakiah Cockerham wasn`t just my cousin. She was my sister, my best friend, and cousin, all in one. You took away everything that meant the most to me…Melanie Paige Exline, my beautiful, kind-hearted, free-spirited sister, had been victimized by family members and it makes me sick. But, more than that, my sister, who had been bullied in school and sexually abused, was getting a new start in life and you took that away from her.”

When District Court Judge Brad McCall asked Thompson if he had anything to say, Thompson said “no.”

But Judge McCall had some things he wanted to say to Thompson.

“You were convicted because the Attorney General`s Office did an excellent job in presenting the evidence to those 12 jurors, who decided beyond any reasonable doubt that you did exactly what the state accused you of doing,” said McCall. “And, I share in that opinion wholeheartedly. I simply can’t imagine what is going on in your head that would allow you to plan and carry out the horrific acts that you did.”