Senate Study Bill 1008 - IntroducedA Bill ForAn Act 1relating to the appointment of a guardian ad litem for
2certain child prosecution witnesses.
3BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF IOWA:
1   Section 1.  Section 915.37, subsection 1, Code 2021, is
2amended to read as follows:
   31.  a.  A prosecuting witness who is a child, as defined
4in section 702.5,
in a case involving a violation of chapter
5709 or 710A, or section 726.2, 726.3, 726.6, or 728.12, is
6entitled to have the witness’s interests represented by a
7guardian ad litem at all stages of the proceedings arising from
8such violation. The guardian ad litem shall be a practicing
9attorney and shall be designated by the court after due
10consideration is given to the desires and needs of the child
11and the compatibility of the child and the child’s interests
12with the prospective guardian ad litem. If a guardian ad litem
13has previously been appointed for the child in a proceeding
14under chapter 232 or a proceeding in which the juvenile court
15has waived jurisdiction under section 232.45, the court shall
16appoint the same guardian ad litem under this section. The
17guardian ad litem shall receive notice of and may attend
18all depositions, hearings, and trial proceedings to support
19the child and advocate for the protection of the child but
20shall not be allowed to separately introduce evidence or to
21directly examine or cross-examine witnesses. However, the
22guardian ad litem shall file reports to the court as required
23by the court. If a prosecuting witness is fourteen, fifteen,
24sixteen, or seventeen years of age, and would be entitled to
25the appointment of a guardian ad litem if the prosecuting
26witness were a child, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem
27if the requirements for guardians ad litem in this section are
28met, and the guardian ad litem agrees to participate without
29compensation.

   30b.  For purposes of this subsection, “child” means a person
31under eighteen years of age.
32EXPLANATION
33The inclusion of this explanation does not constitute agreement with
34the explanation’s substance by the members of the general assembly.
   35Under current law, in a case involving sexual abuse, human
-1-1trafficking, incest, neglect or abandonment of a dependent
2person, child endangerment, or sexual exploitation of a minor,
3a prosecuting witness who is a child (under the age of 14
4years) is entitled to have the witness’s interests represented
5by a guardian ad litem at all stages of the proceedings in
6such cases. If a prosecuting witness is 14, 15, 16, or 17
7years of age and would be entitled to the appointment of a
8guardian ad litem if the prosecuting witness was under the
9age of 14, a court may appoint a guardian ad litem for such a
10prosecuting witness if the requirements for the appointment of
11the guardian ad litem are met and the guardian ad litem agrees
12to participate without compensation. The bill strikes the
13latter provision and provides that a prosecuting witness who
14is a child under the age of 18 years in a case involving sexual
15abuse, human trafficking, incest, neglect or abandonment of a
16dependent person, child endangerment, or sexual exploitation of
17a minor is entitled to have the witness’s interests represented
18by a guardian ad litem at all stages of the proceedings in such
19cases.
-2-
as/rh