The new chief justice of the Iowa Supreme Court today (Wednesday) formally delivered a progress report to legislators on the condition of the judiciary. Chief Justice Marcia Ternus, the first woman to hold the top job on the state’s high court, used the occasion to suggest each foster child in Iowa should be assigned one judge, as foster children often appear before a number of judges as their case makes its way through the system.
These innocent and vulnerable children must be our priority," Ternus said. Ternus also asked legislators to raise the pay of the attorneys who handle cases involving kids in the foster care system.
"The state pays attorneys who represent drunk drivers more than we pay attorneys who represent our most vulnerable children," Ternus said. "What does that say about our priorities?"
Ternus said the entire juvenile court system needs more staff and more resources. "It is up to you to marshal the resources and tools we need to ensure the well-being of these kids," Ternus told legislators. "I ask you to take these responsibilities to heart when you set your priorities." T
The chief justice also asked lawmakers to address privacy concerns with a new paperless court system and suggested it was time to pay more to the Iowans who sit on juries.