About the County Attorney
Janet Lyness has lived in Johnson County for 28 years. She received a bachelor’s of science degree in Psychology in 1982 from the University of Iowa. She graduated with honors from the University of Iowa College of Law in 1989. She has worked for the Johnson County Attorney’s office for 15 years. She has prosecuted murder cases and many other felony and misdemeanor cases. In addition to her prosecution experience, she has provided legal counsel for Johnson County in civil matters for many years.
She is a member of many civic organizations including the Johnson County Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Johnson County Sexual Assault Response Team, and the Pilot Club of Iowa City. She is a member of the Lemme Elementary School PTA. She is an alumnus of the Community Leadership Program. She served as a volunteer and as a board member for the Rape Victim Advocacy Program, the Domestic Violence Intervention Program, and the Circle Mentoring Program, and previously volunteered with the Crisis Center. She represented the Johnson County Attorney’s Office on the Hate Acts Rapid Response Team and Stepping Up. In addition to these community groups, she is a licensed foster parent and always interested in working with the youth of our community. Her immediate family includes John Wadsworth, who is an Assistant Professor at the UI College of Education, and their 8 year old daughter Gabrielle, who is a second grader at Lemme Elementary.
The County Attorney DOES...
» Prosecute all violations of state criminal laws and county ordinances.
» Provide legal advice to the Board of Supervisors and county and township officers concerning county matters.
» Represent and defend the state, county and its officers in officially related cases.
» Recover all monies (debts, fines, penalties, child support, etc.) owing to the state, county or school district.
» Present all mental health commitment proceedings and all juvenile delinquency and children in need of assistance cases.
The County Attorney DOES NOT...
» Give legal advice to or represent private groups or persons.
» File lawsuits for private persons or defend them against lawsuits, including actions for dissolution of marriage.
» Prepare wills, deeds or other legal documents for private individuals.
There are both full-time and part-time County Attorneys in Iowa. Most County Attorneys are part-time and may handle private legal work in addition to their official duties.
Your County Attorney IS NOT, in his or her OFFICIAL capacity, a lawyer for private groups or persons.
In Johnson County, the County Attorney also monitors compliance with the county's affirmative action policy and the Americans with Disabilities Act.