Iowa Court of Appeals chief judge will serve another two-year term

Thomas Bower has been chief since 2019

Judge Thomas Bower (from left), Judge Amanda Potterfield, and Judge Michael Mullins listen to Eric Tindal, attorney for
Judge Thomas Bower (from left), Judge Amanda Potterfield, and Judge Michael Mullins listen to Eric Tindal, attorney for the defendant, as he talks while the Iowa Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in Williams v. State at Daehler-Kitchin Auditorium in Marquis Hall on the Coe College campus in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. Troy Williams appeals from the denial of his application for post conviction relief, arguing his post conviction relief attorney’s performance was so deficient as to constitute “structural error.” (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

DES MOINES — The Iowa Court of Appeals has elected Judge Thomas Bower as chief judge for a second two-year term, court officials announced Monday.

Bower, of Cedar Falls, was selected as chief at the appeals court’s first meeting. A chief is selected in each odd-numbered year by a majority vote to serve a two-year term.

Bower has served on the appeals court since 2012 and was first elected as chief in 2019 when Chief Judge Gayle Nelson Vogel retired.

Bower received his bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University in 1984 and his law degree from Drake University in 1987.

He was appointed to the district associate court in 1993 and the district court bench in 1995. He was appointed chief judge of the 1st Judicial District Court in 2010.

Before his appointment on the bench, he served was an Ames assistant city attorney and as an assistant Black Hawk County attorney. He helped establish the Black Hawk County Adult Drug Court program in 2006 and a mental health court program in 2009.

Bower is a member of the Iowa State Bar Association, Black Hawk County Bar Association and the Iowa Judges Association.


The Iowa Court of Appeals is a nine-member, intermediate appellate court. It reviews appeals from trial court that are transferred by the Iowa Supreme Court. An appeals court decision is final unless reviewed by the Supreme Court on a granted further review. The majority of appeals are filed at this level. There were 1,170 opinions filed in 2020.

In addition to day-to-day judicial duties, the chief judge supervises the business of the court, presides over the court and serves on the judicial council. Bower will continue to review cases and write opinions.

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