Magistrate has law license suspended
Tuesday, May 13, 2014 8:51 AM
Determining whether Steve Schrader of Decorah can continue to serve on the bench is unchartered territory.
The law license of Schrader, a longtime Winneshiek County magistrate judge, was temporarily suspended by an order filed with the Iowa Supreme Court last week.
“The Iowa Judicial Qualifications Commission, and ultimately, the Iowa Supreme Court, will determine if he can continue to be a magistrate judge,” Steve Davis, communications officer for the Iowa Judicial Branch, told Decorah Newspapers.
“In this particular situation, it would be a matter of first impression for the Commission. A situation like this has not been brought to the Commission before because, in 2009, the Iowa Legislature changed the statute to require magistrates to be attorneys.”
According to the Iowa Supreme Court Attorney Disciplinary Board order suspending his license, Schrader failed to respond to a Board inquiry regarding a complaint.
On March 24, the Board filed a certificate advising the Court that Schrader had failed to respond to the Board’s second notice within the time allotted.
On March 25, the Supreme Court clerk issued notice that Schrader’s license would be suspended unless he caused the Board to withdraw its certificate within 20 days of the date of issuance of the clerk’s notice.
“The notice was mailed by restricted certified mail to both the respondent’s home and business addresses, and each copy was returned from the postal service as unclaimed. The notice was also sent by regular mail to respondent’s home and business addresses and neither copy has been returned,” the court order stated.
The investigative steps by the Attorney Disciplinary Board are confidential, Davis said.
“The Iowa Court Rules preclude disclosure of whether there is or is not any pending disciplinary matter, or in this situation, what was in the notice, unless the complaint results in a Grievance Commission recommendation of public discipline or a public discipline order by the Iowa Supreme Court,” he said.
Schrader will remain a magistrate pending resolution of the situation, Davis said. Attempts to reach Schrader for comment were unsuccessful.
The license of Decorah attorney Heather Kingery also was temporarily suspended last week for her failure to respond to a Disciplinary Board inquiry regarding a complaint.