Attorney challenging Jason Besler's authority in court

Des Moines attorney Gary Dickey has filed an unusual civil action charging that Jason Besler “is unlawfully holding the public office of district court judge” in Iowa’s Sixth Judicial District. In a November 1 court filing, enclosed in full below, Dickey argued that “all publicly available information” indicates Governor Kim Reynolds failed to appoint Besler within the 30-day window specified by Iowa’s constitution. Bleeding Heartland reported in September that Reynolds took no formal action to appoint Besler until four days after her authority to fill the judicial vacancy had lapsed.

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Attorney will challenge authority of judge Reynolds belatedly appointed

Des Moines attorney Gary Dickey has asked Johnson County Attorney Janet Lyness to take legal action challenging Jason Besler’s position as a District Court judge. As Bleeding Heartland reported last month, Governor Kim Reynolds named Besler to fill a vacancy four days after her constitutional authority to make the appointment had lapsed. Johnson County is part of Iowa’s Sixth Judicial District, where Besler has been presiding over cases.

Iowa’s Rules of Civil Procedure allow any citizen to file a quo warranto civil action charging that a defendant unlawfully holds a public office, if a county attorney fails to act. Dickey says he will proceed if Lyness declines to do so.

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Iowa chief justice should settle questions about judge's legitimacy

Potential legal challenges loom over every case District Court Judge Jason Besler handles unless Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady intervenes to ensure that Besler lawfully holds his current position.

Cady has not signed any document filling the Judicial District 6 vacancy, judicial branch communications director Steve Davis confirmed to Bleeding Heartland on October 2. Davis has declined further comment on questions surrounding the legality of Governor Kim Reynolds’ appointment of Besler.

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