REYNOLDS CITES ‘TAINTED’ PROCESS, ORDERS SEARCH FOR NEW JUDGE TO RESTART

Reynolds cites ‘tainted’ process, orders search for new judge to restart

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Governor Kim Reynolds has taken the “extraordinary” step of rejecting the candidates a commission had nominated to be a district court judge in northern Iowa.

Reynolds sent a letter to the commission making nominations for the district court vacancy created when Judge Gina Badding of Carroll was appointed to the Iowa Court of Appeals. Reynolds said in the letter that she heard from several commission members that the judge who led the interview process had coached one candidate and made unprofessional and disturbing comments about others.

Reynolds said her staff discovered Judge Kurt Stoebe of Humboldt also misled commission members by saying one applicant had withdrawn after being interviewed. That person adamantly denied that when contacted by the governor’s office. The commission is to reconvene November 18 and redo the entire process.

According the letter from Reynolds, the only other time nominees for an opening in district court have been rejected happened during Governor Robert Ray’s tenure. In 2011, Governor Terry Branstad rejected a slate of candidates for Iowa Supreme Court openings. The nominating commission reconvened and submitted a second set of names to Branstad.

In Iowa’s process of filling openings in the judicial system, governors make appointments from the list of names submitted by judicial nominating commissions.

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