Clemens A. Erdahl, a founding member of our law firm, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on October 2, 2019. In the last 23 days of his life, Clemens was lead counsel in a cold case murder jury trial, prepared for and presented an Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals oral argument, and had a case pending before the United States Supreme Court. Clemens spent the last five days of his life on vacation, at home with his beloved wife, Roxanne.
Clemens was admitted to the Iowa bar and to Iowa’s federal courts in 1980. Later, he was admitted to several circuit courts of appeal and the United States Supreme Court. Clemens was a tireless advocate for Iowans charged with crimes and for incarcerated people convicted of crimes who sought new trials because their original convictions were wrongfully obtained. Clemens was successful in obtaining the reversal of several such wrongful convictions including, in one case, a wrongful murder conviction. Clemens also won a number of acquittals and dismissals. In 2018, Clemens was awarded the Iowa Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ John Adams Award, recognizing his lifetime of dedication and commitment to representing “the cause of the defenseless or the oppressed.”
Clemens was often the advocate of last resort. For this reason and many others, it was our great honor, privilege, and pleasure to work with him.