Chief Justice Mark Cady Apologizes to Iowans for Contracted Courthouse Burglaries

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DES MOINES, Iowa  —  An Iowa Senate hearing into the recent attempted burglaries of Iowa courthouses by a security contractor began with an apology from the head of Iowa’s Judicial Branch.

The Senate Government Oversight Committee is meeting to discuss the planned break-ins of courthouse by a security firm hired to test the strength of court system security statewide.  Two of the firms employees, Justin Wynn and Gary DeMercurio, were arrested as they tried to break in to the Dallas County courthouse.  Both men were also recorded attempting to break into the Polk County courthouse as well.

Wynn and DeMercurio both are facing charges of Third Degree Burglary and Possession of Burglary Tools in Dallas County.

State Senator Amy Sinclair, (R)-Allerton, said during the meeting it seems those cyber-security firm employees may have thought they were doing what they were contracted to do.

“It’s a reasonable inference that when the Coalfire employee provided contact information for judicial branch employees that he wanted the judicial branch officials to confirm the contract and the authorization he believed he was within his rights,” Sinclair said.

State Senator Tony Bisignano, (D)-Des Moines, said they didn’t get all of the answers they were looking for during the meeting . He said someone needs to pay for the expensive fiasco that they believe could have been avoided.

“You insulted a lot of professionals and you owe them an apology. So this isn’t over and I hope we have another meeting when we have the full truth, the final facts. And people should be held responsible. And the fiscal note ought to be paid by the courts for this entire fiasco because we are all in this together there’s no reason this couldn’t have been done in a cooperative fashion,” Bisignano said.

Friday’s hearing opened with a lengthy apology from Chief Justice Mark Cady.  Cady asked lawmakers and Iowans to judge the court system not for its role in approving the courthouse burglaries but instead for the steps he will take to correct the problem.

“I do want to begin with an apology to you and to everyone for diminishing public trust and confidence in the court system.  As the leader of the Judicial Branch I take full responsibility, just as I now take full responsibility to repair the damage and rebuild trust.  

In our efforts to fulfill our duty to protect the confidential information of Iowans from cyber attack mistakes were made.  We are doing everything possible to understand and correct those mistakes, be accountable for those mistakes and to make sure that they never, ever occur again.

In the end I hope we will not be judged as much by the mistakes made but by the character we display in accepting responsibility and correcting them.  

We want to work with you and others to continue to protect Iowans personal information, to be better than before and for our relationship with our county partners to be stronger than ever.”

-Chief Justice Mark Cady


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