Tuesday, October 24, 2017
City Of Marshalltown
Frequently Asked Questions

Legal Representation

Q: I live in Marshalltown. Isn't the City Attorney my attorney?

A: No. The City Attorney represents the citizens of Marshalltown but not in their personal capacity nor in a directy capacity. The City Attorney's legal representation and ethical duty is to the Municipality of Marshalltown which exercises its home rule legal powers through the City Council and derivatively through City staff and City boards and commissions.

Thus if you have a legal problem with your employer, landlord, ex or current spouse, or any other private matter, the City Attorney cannot advise or represent you. The City Attorney's sole client is the City of Marshalltown.

Also the City Attorney's Office should not be confused with the Public Defender's Office. They can be reached at 641-752-0083. If you need private counsel and are not familiar with any private law firms, the Iowa State Bar Association oversees a lawyer referral service. Their telephone number is 515-280-7429.

Other referral agencies which may provide serices sought mistakenly from the Office of the City Attorney, are the Marshall County Attorney's Office (641-754-6314), the Iowa Attorney General's Office (515-281-5764), and the Consumer Protection Division of the Attoreny General's Office (515-281-5926.


Q: I want to know what a City ordinance means. Who should I call?

A: The City department charged with the day-to-day administration and enforcement of an ordinance can answer general questions regarding how the ordinance is applied by the City. If the department is unable to answer your question, they may refer you to the City Attorney. While the City Attorney cannot give you legal advice, he will try to help in any appropriate way he can.

The Marshalltown City Code of Ordinances is also found on this web site. Click the City Clerk link in our main menu, then click on the Resources link.

Criminal Charges, Traffic Tickets, Police Matters

Q: I or a member of my family have been arrested or have been cited by the Marshalltown Police Department. I would like to visit with the prosecutor regarding this matter. Who is the prosecutor?

A: Just because the Marshalltown Police Department was involved in the arrest or citation of a person for a crime or for a traffic ticket does not mean the prosecutor for the case is the Marshalltown City Attorney. It depends on the charges that are filed. The City, through the Office of the City Attorney, prosecutes only municipal simple misdemeanors, including violations of the City's traffic code, and municipal infractions committed inside the Marshalltown city limits.

If your ticket, citation, or court documents reference a Marshalltown city ordinance violation, then the City Attorney is the prosecutor. If your citation, ticket, or court document does not refer to a city ordinance, then the prosecutor is probably the Marshall County Attorney's Office (641-754-6314) or the prosecutor for the city where you received the ticket.

Other Ordinance-related Questions or Complaints

Q: I have a nuisance, property maintenance, housing compliance, zoning compliance, or other ordinance violation complaint or inquiry. Or... Q: I have a question about the meaning of a particular regulatory ordinance of the City. Do I call the City Attorney?

A: While the City Attorney may represent the City in court in enforcement matters, the enforcement officer who handles such complaints or enforcement issues is not the City Attorney. These are handled by the respective City department official or employee. Questions about enforcement and issues regarding meeting compliance should be taken up with the respective City department official.