Iowa’s judicial branch flunks transparency survey

Iowa’s Judicial Branch flunked a recent transparency and accountability study because of barriers to public access to information, a lack of legal requirements for judicial evaluations and concerns about potential conflicts of interest.

Those concerns include limited access to judicial officers’ asset disclosures, which can reveal potential conflicts of interest and which aren’t audited for accuracy, and a lack of restrictions on judges returning to the private sector after serving on the bench.

The failing grade came despite a recent milestone in the judicial branch, which completed a statewide rollout of its Electronic Document Management System earlier this year. The system makes public court records available online. But full access still is restricted to judges, lawyers, court administrators, aggregators and those involved in cases, not the general public. Continue…