Court appoints new 6th Judicial District chief judge

Judge Lars Anderson will succeed Patrick Grady, who retires next month

District Court Judge Lars Anderson tells a defendant to lower his voice during a March 26, 2019, hearing at the Johnson
District Court Judge Lars Anderson tells a defendant to lower his voice during a March 26, 2019, hearing at the Johnson County Courthouse in Iowa City. Anderson has been appointed a chief judge in the 6th Judicial District. (The Gazette)

DES MOINES — Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Susan Christensen on Thursday appointed 6th Judicial District Judge Lars Anderson to succeed Chief Judge Patrick Grady when he retires next month after 25 years on the bench.

“Judge Anderson is well respected by both attorneys and his fellow judges in the Sixth District,” Christensen said in a statement. “His strong commitment to our legal system and access to justice will be very helpful as the judicial branch navigates the path to provide court services to Iowans while protecting the health and safety of all court users and our staff during this terrible pandemic.”

Grady will retire Dec. 31, and Anderson, who was appointed as a district judge in 2014, will take over Jan. 1.

“It is an honor and a challenge to be selected as chief judge and have the opportunity to follow up on the great work done by Judge Patrick Grady, who has provided this district with excellent leadership during many challenging times, including economic downturns, flooding, and now a pandemic,” Anderson said.

“I appreciate the trust being placed in me by Chief Justice Christensen and the members of the Iowa Supreme Court. I plan to work hard, together with all those in the 6th Judicial District, to advance the mission of the Iowa Judicial Branch.”

Anderson has presided over many felony cases, as well as a high-profile Iowa City murder case, and wrote a recent ruling in the political battle over prefilled absentee ballots in the Nov. 3 election.

Anderson, as chief judge, will supervise all the judges and court employees of the district, supervise the performance of administrative and judicial business, set the times and places of court, designate other presiding judges on cases and serve on the judicial council, which advises the supreme court on administrative matters affecting the courts.

He also will continue to preside over cases.


Anderson received his bachelor’s degree from Luther College in 1992 and his law degree, with distinction, from the University of Iowa College of Law in 1995. Before being appointed to the bench, he was in private practice in Iowa City from 1995 to 2014, and was an adjunct professor at UI law school in 2014.

He served as a Judicial Hospitalization Referee for Johnson County from 2004 to 2014 and an alternate referee from 1997 to 2001. Judge Anderson is also a member of the Johnson County Bar Association, Iowa State Bar Association, and Dean Mason Ladd American Inn of Court.

The 6th district consists of six counties: Benton, Iowa, Johnson, Jones, Linn, and Tama. The district has 13 district judges, eight associate district judges, 17 part-time magistrates and 174 employees.

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