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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN

Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


From Encyclopedia Dubuque
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MUNICIPAL COURT. In 1962 Dubuque voters approved establishing a municipal court by a 9-5 margin in a special election held in conjunction with the Iowa primary. When established the court replaced the Dubuque police court and two Julien Township justice of the peace courts. (1)

The court would have two judges and have jurisdiction throughout Dubuque County. Cost of operating the court including salaries would be divided between the county and the city with the city responsible for furnishing facilities. The annual operating cost was estimated to be $45,000 which did not include the rental fee for the court which was estimated to be $13,000. (2)

In October 1962 the City Council decided that the Dubuque Municipal Court would be housed on the seventh floor of the Fischer Building. Other proposals had included the second floor of the American Legion Club and the old First National Bank building. Architects showed that it would cost $100,000 over the cost of the building to remodel the bank building. (3)

The municipal court would also have a clerk, and a bailiff. There would be two courtrooms, a jury-waiting room and offices for other court officers. (4) The court had the same jurisdiction as a justice of the peace court. Business would include traffic charges, misdemeanors calling for maximum sentences of $100 fine or 30 days in jail, indictable misdemeanors which did not call for imprisonment and civil cases in which the judgment did not exceed $2,000. The court would also hold preliminary hearings and arraignments on felony charges. (5)



1. "Municipal Court," Telegraph Herald, June 4, 1962, p. 1

2. Ibid,

3. "Fischer Building Okayed for Municipal Court," Telegraph Herald, October 14, 1962, p. 1

4. Ibid.

5. "New Dubuque Court to Open Wednesday," Telegraph Herald, December 28, 1962, p. 1