# Crime



Help cover Pieper Lewis' restitution

An Iowa teenager who was abused and sex trafficked will be forced to pay $150,000 in restitution to the estate of her alleged rapist, under a decision issued on September 13.

Polk County District Court Judge David Porter did not order Pieper Lewis to serve time in an adult prison when he sentenced her for voluntary manslaughter and willful injury in the June 2020 death of Zachary Brooks. Instead, he accepted the prosecutors’ recommendation for five years of probation while Lewis lives at the Fresh Start Women’s Center in Des Moines. The judge also agreed to the defense attorneys’ request for deferred judgment, which means Lewis may be able to have the crimes expunged from her record if she abides by the terms of her probation.

But Iowa law requires restitution payments of at least $150,000 to the victim’s estate in “all criminal cases in which the offender is convicted of a felony in which the act or acts committed by the offender caused the death of another person.” Lewis’ attorneys had argued the law should not apply to their client, who was 15 years old and homeless when she was exploited by multiple men, and repeatedly raped by Brooks. But Porter rejected the defense arguments.

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Iowa Republicans go quiet on Trump search

Iowa’s Republican members of Congress were quick to cast doubt on the FBI’s search of former President Donald Trump’s Florida residence. Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, and Representatives Ashley Hinson and Randy Feenstra demanded more information from the Justice Department about the reasons for the “unprecedented” action. Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks suggested that investigating Trump was a waste of taxpayer money.

But those GOP officials had nothing to say publicly after an inventory released on August 12 showed the former president had been keeping classified, secret, and top secret documents at the Mar-a-Lago resort.

Multiple news outlets published the search and seizure warrant for Trump’s residence, as well as the receipt listing property FBI agents took on August 8. Four items were described as “Miscellaneous Top Secret Documents,” and one was listed as “Various classified/TS/SCI documents.” Those are high levels of classification, used for material that “could cause ‘exceptionally grave danger’ to national security.”

SCI stands for Sensitive Compartmented Information, which “may be an electronic intercept or information provided by a human informant in a foreign country.” The Washington Post reported on August 11 that “Classified documents relating to nuclear weapons were among the items FBI agents sought” in the search.

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Who can save the rule of law?

Jim Chrisinger is a retired public servant living in Ankeny. He served in both Republican and Democratic administrations, in Iowa and elsewhere. 

As if their strings had been yanked, Donald Trump’s enablers and minions leap to trash the FBI and Department of Justice after the court-authorized search of Mar-a-Lago. They say DOJ and the FBI have been “weaponized,” maybe the searchers “planted evidence,” the FBI is “the enemy of the people” and should be defunded, this may lead to civil war, and we will sic the FBI and DOJ on them when we’re back in power.    

This is a full-on assault on the rule of law.  

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Welcome to Iowa, land of entrapment

Carl Olsen is the founder of Iowans for Medical Marijuana.

If you have travel plans this summer, you might want to consider a route that avoids Iowa.  Last week, the Iowa Supreme Court denied protection for an out-of-state medical marijuana patient.

William Morris covered the ruling for the Des Moines Register, and Paul Brennan wrote about it at Little Village.

After reading the 4-3 majority opinion in State v. Middlekauff, I felt something seemed amiss. 

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Cindy Axne should withdraw her racist police bill

Jaylen Cavil and Alejandro Murguia-Ortiz co-authored this commentary. Cavil is a Democratic candidate in Iowa House district 36. Murguia-Ortiz is an independent candidate in Iowa Senate district 17.

Dog whistles have been a feature of U.S. politics for decades. President Ronald Reagan’s “welfare queens,” President Bill Clinton’s “law and order” campaign, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich calling Barack Obama a “food stamps president” are all examples of racist talking points. Politicians use coded language when trying to garner support by triggering racial anxiety. 

Today’s version of the “war on crime”—a reaction to nationwide calls to defund the police and fund communities instead—is no different from the racist wars on drugs and poverty that have led to the incarceration and deaths of millions.

With the introduction of the Invest to Protect Act, U.S. Representative Cindy Axne (D, IA-03) and U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley have joined forces to re-employ this dog whistle strategy.

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