Court Reinstates License of Lawyer Whose Drinking Delayed His Client’s Trial

The mission of the Iowa Judiciary is to provide independent and accessible forums for the fair and timely resolution of disputes, administering justice equally to all persons. (Gavel photo from Getty Images; seal courtesy of the State of Iowa)

The Iowa Supreme Court has reinstated the license of an attorney who showed up to the courthouse drunk, was convicted of vandalizing a vehicle and other ethics violations.

Court records indicate that in June 2023, Jennifer Jo Weaver of Marshalltown, then known as Jennifer Jo Frese, represented Cesar Ventura in a Tama County criminal trial for interference with official acts for resisting arrest in a case of domestic violence.

The attorney disciplinary board later alleges that on one evening during the week the trial was in progress, Weaver “intentionally consumed alcohol” to such an extent that she was intoxicated the next day. morning when she showed up at the courthouse.

According to an affidavit she later filed with the court, Weaver’s blood alcohol level that morning was .079 — just within the legal limit of .08 for driving.

Due to Weaver’s condition, the trial was temporarily suspended. According to the commission, his actions demonstrated a “lack of respect for the law and the justice system” and were part of a “pattern of criminal conduct.”

The commission alleged that Weaver then “lied to her client and his family regarding the cause of the delay in the proceedings,” telling them that she had a sick child, and “even asked the court to join her deception” by providing a false explanation for the situation. delay to the jury, which the court refused to do.

Also in June 2023, Weaver was charged with 5th criminal mischief for allegedly snatching flowers from a pot at an undisclosed office building in Marshalltown. The charge was later dismissed.

The board also cited Weaver for ethics violations related to his July 2023 arrest and eventual conviction for 3rd degree criminal mischief. In that case, police alleged that Weaver caused $2,7,000 worth of damage to her former husband and law partner’s truck shortly after she moved his belongings out of the office.

In August 2023, Weaver was charged with third-degree harassment after being accused of sending multiple text messages and photos to an individual’s personal cell phone. Police say the messages – which are not described in the police report – were “intended to disturb and alarm the victim.” The harassment charge was later dismissed.

The attorney disciplinary board also charged Weaver with conflict of interest for representing a man in a child custody battle while his attorney at the time represented his client’s opponent in the proceeding.

In August 2023, Weaver agreed to indefinite suspension of his law degree due to a disability. In March of this year, while this suspension was still in effect, the commission recommended that the court suspend Weaver’s license for a period not to exceed 30…

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