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Immigration Law

Two Iowa Supreme Court Victories

Prof. Stella Burch Elias writes: "These two great Iowa Supreme Court cases involved a lot of hard work by our clinical colleagues and their students at Iowa Law.

In Martinez (the decision holding that part of Iowa's forgery law was preempted on its face and part of Iowa's identity theft law was preempted as applied to undocumented immigrants in the employment context) the clinic played a pivotal role. At the trial level, Ms. Martinez's appointed defense attorney, a clinic alum, retained the clinic to provide crim-imm consultation and they were closely involved in all aspects of the case. Then, on appeal, the ACLU of Iowa retained the clinic to submit an amicus brief arguing the preemption issue. A then-3L, Jack Hathaway, who was a member of the student team that authored the amicus brief, later presented on the ACLU's behalf during oral argument. (It was only the second time the Iowa Supreme Court had ever authorized an amicus to participate in oral argument.)

In Morales Diaz case (which clarified and expanded on Padilla at the state law level), the clinic provided an expert letter discussing criminal convictions that lead to truly clear immigration consequences rather than to uncertain consequences, which was a key part of the litigation of the case at the trial level and of the record on appeal."