Iowa commission to interview 16 Appeals Court applicants

Three names will be forwarded to governor for final decision

DES MOINES — Sixteen Iowans — nine men and seven women — have applied to fill the vacancy on the Iowa Court of Appeals left when Judge Gayle Vogel retired July 1.

Officials in the Iowa Judicial Branch have posted a schedule for applicant interviews to be held Aug. 5 before the 17-member State Judicial Nominating Commission in the Iowa Supreme Court Courtroom in the Judicial Branch Building in Des Moines.

The public can observe the 20-minute interviews in the courtroom or watch a livestream on the Iowa Judicial Branch’s YouTube channel.

Among the applicants are one assistant U.S. attorney, three assistant Iowa attorneys general, seven state judges and five private lawyers.

Applicants include Mary Chicchelly, district court judge in the 6th Judicial District, Cedar Rapids; Des Moines lawyer Thomas Duff; Joel Barrows, district court judge in the 7th Judicial District, Bettendorf; Paul Ahlers, district associate judge in the 2nd Judicial District, Fort Dodge; Henry Latham II, district court judge in the Scott County Courthouse, Eldridge; Sioux City lawyer Joel Vos; Gretchen Kraemer, assistant Iowa attorney general, Johnston; Romonda Belcher, district associate judge in the 5th Judicial District, Des Moines; and Ames lawyer Timothy Gartin.

Also, Andrew Kahl, assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of Iowa, Des Moines; Molly Weber, assistant Iowa attorney general, Adel; Denver, Iowa, lawyer Heather Prendergast; Julie Schumacher, districtcourt judge in the 3rd Judicial District, Schleswig; Lisa Reel Schmidt, assistant Iowa attorney general, Des Moines; Iowa City lawyer Craig Nierman; and Myron Gookin, district court judge in the 8th Judicial District, Fairfield.

The commission welcomes written comments from the public about the qualifications of the applicants. Comments must be submitted to commission members via email no later than 5 p.m. Aug. 2 at the email addresses on the State Judicial Nominating Commission website and by email to the secretary of the commission at


Immediately after the interviews, the commission will begin deliberations to select three nominees to be forwarded to Gov. Kim Reynolds. The governor will have 30 days in which to appoint the new Iowa Court of Appeals judge.

The commission consists of eight commissioners elected by lawyers licensed to practice law in Iowa, and nine commissioners appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Iowa Senate.

The names of the commissioners are on the Iowa Judicial Nominating Commissions website (

• Comments: (515) 243-7220;

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