April 1 marks Miller’s final day as county legal professional

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Jennifer Miller will not be in the position of Marshall County Attorney for long. Her last day will be April 1.

On Thursday, Miller was named district judge for District 2B by Gov. Kim Reynolds.

“I interviewed with Gov. Reynolds on March 8 and was honored to have been one of the commission’s nominees and was very happy when Gov. Reynolds called to tell me that she had selected me as her appointee,” she said.

The commission is part of the appointment process, Miller said, and the process in appointing a judge is lengthy. As soon as a vacancy is announced, applicants apply for the job and are interviewed by the judicial nominating commission for the district. The commission is comprised of local attorneys who are elected by their peers, as well as non-attorney members appointed by the governor. The commission then nominates two people from the pool of applications. Finally, the two nominees are interviewed by the governor.

As the district court judge, Miller will have general jurisdiction of civil, criminal and probate matters.

“I will preside over cases in Boone, Story, Marshall, Hardin and Hamilton counties,” Miller said. “Because I am taking over Judge Wilke’s position, I will finish out his rotation for the year which will take me to Pocohontas, Humboldt, Webster, Carroll and Greene counties. I am looking forward to the experience of working in different county courthouses and communities and meeting new people all over the district.”

As county attorney, Miller served as the chief law enforcement official. She decided whether or not criminal charges would be filed in each case and what those charges would be.

Miller also acted as the attorney and legal advisor for the Marshall County Board of Supervisors, sheriff, auditor, treasurer and all department heads.

“I have been the Marshall County Attorney for almost 19 years,” she said. “I am extremely honored and grateful to the citizens of Marshall County for electing me to five terms as their county attorney. I believe that I am the longest serving county attorney in the history of the county. Marshall County and the beautiful county courthouse will always hold a very special place in my heart.”

Marshall County Supervisor Dave Thompson said he was not surprised Miller was nominated to the position of judge and praised her performance given through the years. At the Tuesday meeting, the supervisors started the process of filling the seat.

Whoever is placed in seat will be met with a very challenging and rewarding job, Miller said.

“It requires making a lot of very difficult decisions on a daily basis that can have a profound effect on people’s lives,” she said. “It is a heavy responsibility to make such decisions and even more difficult when your decision is an unpopular one. The hours can be long, the budget is challenging, and as an elected official you are subjected to the criticism of the public. In my opinion, the rewards far outweigh the challenging aspects of the job. My advice to someone holding this office in the future would be to focus on the rewarding aspects of seeking justice for victims of crime, supporting law enforcement and upholding the law.”

During Miller’s time as the county attorney, she served as president of the Iowa County Attorney’s Association, was appointed to the Iowa Child Death Review Team, Office of Drug Control Policy Council, the Supreme Court Grievance Commission, the Governor’s Focus Committee and the Medical Examiner’s Advisory Board.

While those have all been wonderful, she said, the greatest honor of her career was helping victims of crime obtain justice.

“I have had the opportunity to prosecute several murder cases as well as other class A felonies,” Miller said.

She started the Marshall County collections and license reinstatement program which has collected more than $2 million dollars in unpaid fines since its inception in 2008. Miller obtained grant funding and started a victim witness program to better serve victims of crime in Marshall County.

Her path was not without challenges, though. Miller worked through the devastation the Marshall County Courthouse suffered from the July 2018 tornado. As a result, the staff in the office worked in small conference rooms, met with victims in numerous locations and worked in a construction zone. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Miller said they were faced with an extremely large backlog of criminal cases

“I have had the amazing opportunity to work with many great people in Marshall County and any success I have had, I owe to the talented people that work for me in the county attorney’s office,” she said.

Miller sees her appointment to judge as an extension of her devotion to public service, and feels honored and privileged.

“I am looking forward to continuing my service to citizens of 2B in a different capacity,” she said. “I hope to bring to the bench the same qualities that I have utilized each day as a prosecutor – objectivity, compassion and fairness.”

Contact Lana Bradstream at 641-753-6611 or lbradstream@timesrepublican.com.

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