Iowa Supreme Court: Judge Must Testify About Inmate Ruling

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By Liz Blood

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Supreme Court says an administrative law judge must testify about whether pressure from a warden influenced her decision to punish an inmate who committed assault.

The court ruled Friday that Iowa Department of Corrections administrative law judge Deb Edwards must comply with a watchdog's subpoena to answer questions about her discipline of inmate Randy Linderman.

The department had limited Edwards' testimony in an investigation by the state ombudsman's office, arguing that judges cannot be questioned about their decision-making process.

Edwards had found Linderman guilty of assaulting a guard and imposed a 180-day loss-of-earned-time penalty, twice as harsh as state policy allowed.

The court says it is troubled by an e-mail sent by the Fort Dodge Correctional Facility warden to Edwards asking for stiff sanctions before her ruling.

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