Janet Lyness announces she will not seek re-election as Johnson County Attorney. Her current term concludes Dec. 31, 2022.
Lyness graduated from the University of Iowa College of Law in 1989. After a clerkship for the Seventh Judicial District Court, she joined the Johnson County Attorney’s Office in 1990 as an Assistant County Attorney. In 2006, she was the first woman elected Johnson County Attorney. She was re-elected in 2010, 2014 and 2018. She is currently in the final year of her fourth four-year term.
“Representing the people of Johnson County as County Attorney has been an honor and a privilege,” Lyness said. “I am proud of the work my office has done and the programs we have developed while I have been County Attorney.”
During Lyness’ tenure as County Attorney, she has worked with victim advocates from the Domestic Violence Intervention Program (DVIP), Rape Victim Advocacy Program (RVAP), NISAA African Family Services, Monsoon Asians and Pacific Islanders in Solidarity, and United Action for Youth (UAY). Those collaborations led to education and development of new programs like the Domestic Violence Open Hours and implementation of a domestic abuse assessment tool (ODARA) for law enforcement and the judiciary.
Lyness’ collaboration with mental health and substance abuse providers, as well as law enforcement and corrections, led to the creation of a drug treatment court, the marijuana diversion program and development of the GuideLink Center. The Attorney’s Office also developed diversion programs to address racial and economic disparity in the criminal justice system.
“My office has accomplished many things during my four terms, holding violent offenders accountable while addressing problems we saw in the criminal justice system,” Lyness said. “There is more I hope to implement in the next year before the end of my term, especially in the area of decreasing gun violence.”
The Johnson County Attorney is the chief law enforcement officer and prosecutor for Johnson County. The County Attorney’s Office also provides legal representation for the Johnson County government offices and departments, represents the State in child protection cases and juvenile delinquency matters, and performs a variety of other duties as specified in the Iowa Code.