DISCLAIMER: This is legal shit, so if you don't want to think, don't tread further.
So the Press-Citizen has sued the UI for documents related to the investigation of an alleged sexual assault, then printed it as a breaking story. Real top-notch reporters, those Pressing Citizens.
From the ICPC's own timeline:
Nov. 5: The alleged victim first contacts UI police about the alleged incident. Green said this is the first time police had any knowledge of the incident.
Nov. 7: The alleged victim files an official police report.
Nov. 12: The Press-Citizen e-mails Green asking again if police had any information about the alleged sexual assault. He does not respond. Iowa Code chapter 22.4.5 requires UI to disclose this information.
Nov. 13: The Press-Citizen presents UI with Chapter 22.4.5, and again requests reports of sexual assaults dating back to the beginning of October.
Nov. 16: Iowa state Board of Regents President Michael Gartner sends UI President Sally Mason a letter that indicates regents officials would be investigating whether UI followed proper procedures in handling the incident.
Nov. 16: District Court Judge Amanda Potterfield signs the order to seal five search warrants in the investigation for 60 days.
Nov. 20: Mason in an editorial board meeting with the Press-Citizen says UI officials have handled the situation properly and says UI has let the victim dictate how the investigation has proceeded.
Now, I'm no expert...no, wait, I am! (full disclosure: I don't do too much criminal work). Here's why Morelli, Klinkowitz, et al are idiots:
For starters, there is no Iowa Code Section 22.4.5. If the ICPC presented the UI with 22.4.5 and demanded documents, it's in a fantasy land filled with gumdrops and unicorns and rape documents as far as the eye can see.
I'm assuming Morelli is referring to Iowa Code 22.7.5, which specifically states investigative reports by police officers, and communications related thereto, are confidential. Morelli is after "dates, times, specific locations, and immediate facts and circumstances related to an investigation," which are open for examination, except for where "disclosure would plainly and seriously jeopardize an investigation or pose a clear and present danger to the safety of an individual."
Normally, this is the point where I would argue that the safety of a young woman who has lodged a sexual assault claim against at least one member of the Iowa football team, which is revered throughout this state and especially in the city in question, may be jeopardized by disclosure.
I would argue that, despite the best efforts of authorities and portions (but certainly not all) of the local media, Pierre Pierce's accuser, who was the victim of an assault in similar circumstances, had her name leaked and was subsequently harassed by people who should die of penis cancer and have a special ring of hell waiting for them. I would cite Kobe Bryant's accuser, Mike Tyson's accuser, and a string of others.
I would cite Duke lacrosse, as these are only allegations, and everyone named deserves to be innocent until proven guilty in the court of public opinion as well as the court of law. Given the editorial stance of Morelli & Co., that simply can't and won't happen here.
If I had to, I would make that argument. Of course, I don't have to, because a judge did it for me. Obviously, if Judge Potterfield sealed the search warrants, she believes there might be danger to the investigation or the victim by any kind of disclosure. Obviously, this means something else as well: HEY FUCKER! THE SEARCH WARRANT IS SEALED! THAT MEANS THEY CAN'T TALK!
So, let's count the reasons why the UI is behaving this way:
(1) The victim wants them to.
(2) The accused want them to.
(3) The Judge told them to.
I'm not one to stick up for UI Public Safety; when UIPS spent three weeks trying to shut down my front yard tailgate party 2 years ago, I told the Daily Iowan they were "the Gestapo," then threatened to sue when they told me a lease violation was cause to take us to jail, then sent letters to the university facility services office, President Skorton, and Governor Vilsack detailing their abuses of power. But they're in the right here.
Pull your head out of your ass, Morelli. They're doing their job, which is only helping you do yours correctly.