Attorney Eric D. Puryear

Petition for Writ of Certiorari in Iowa

Puryear Law » Legal Blog » Iowa Civil Law » Petition for Writ of Certiorari in Iowa

In Iowa, a party claiming that a judge exceeded his or her jurisdiction or otherwise acted illegally may file a petition for writ of certiorari with the Iowa Supreme Court. The petition for writ of certiorari must be filed within thirty (30) days after the challenged decision. If a motion to amend, enlarge, or reconsider is filed, the petition must be filed within thirty (30) days after the ruling on the motion. No extensions are allowed except for the failure of the district court clerk to notify the party of the challenged decision.


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The petition for writ of certiorari must contain a caption, which names the challenging party as the plaintiff and the district court as the defendant. The date of any impending hearing must be beneath the title of the petition. The petition shall state whether the plaintiff raised the issue in district court, identify the plaintiff’s interest in the challenged decision, and state the grounds that justify issuance of a writ. The plaintiff must either pay a filing fee or file a motion to waive or defer the filing fee.

The filing of the petition does not automatically stay the district court proceedings. The plaintiff may either apply to the district court or the Supreme Court for a stay of the proceedings. An application to the Supreme Court for a stay of the proceedings must state the dates of any proceedings to be stayed and why a stay is necessary.

The district court may file a resistance to the petition for writ of certiorari. The Supreme Court can either deny or grant the petition. An order granting the petition may stay further proceedings below, require bond, and expedite the time for briefing and submission. If the petition is granted, the clerk of the Supreme Court shall issue a writ under its seal, which is served on all attorneys of record, unrepresented parties, the clerk of the district court, and the Iowa Attorney General, if the State is a party. Thereafter, the plaintiff must file and serve the combined certificate, which orders the transcript(s) from the court reporter(s), within fourteen (14) days after the filing of the order granting the petition. Thereafter, the Iowa Rules of Appellate Procedure regarding briefs and briefing deadlines apply.


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Parties before the district court other than the certiorari plaintiff are required to defend the district court and make all filings required of the defendant unless permitted to withdraw by the Supreme Court. An application to withdraw must state (1) whether the applicant raised the issue addressed in the challenged decision in district court, (2) the interest or lack thereof of the applicant in the challenged decision, and (3) grounds justifying withdrawal. The application to withdraw must be filed on all parties, the district court, and the Attorney General.


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