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Charges reduced for man accused of robbery in Linn County

Part of the work of mounting a strong criminal defense is protecting against overcharging, which is all too common in the criminal justice system. Prosecutors pursue charges that don’t fit the crime, and in other cases, accused individuals are innocent of any wrongdoing.

Recently in Linn County, a young man from Chicago stood accused of very serious felony charges, including attempted murder, first-degree robbery and possession of a firearm as a felon. However, all along, the 24-year-old has apparently said that he was unaware of any robbery plan when the alleged series of incidents occurred in April 2012.

What is known is that two people, a girlfriend and boyfriend, were shot at an apartment. In a video interview with police, the young man who recently stood trial maintained that he went to the apartment with two other individuals to buy marijuana, not to rob the girlfriend and boyfriend.

A 26-year-old man from Des Moines is one the three accused in the incident, and last year he pleaded guilty and is currently serving a 55-year prison sentence. The third defendant, a 22-year-old Cedar Rapids woman, is scheduled to go to trial later in May.

During the Chicago man’s trial, the Des Moines man testified for the defense, backing up the claim that the defendant knew nothing about a robbery plan. As far as the defendant knew, the plan was to go to the apartment to buy marijuana.

With these considerations, the jury found the young man guilty of lesser charges: simple assault, willful injury causing serious injury and assault with intent to inflict serious injury. He has yet to be sentenced, and he faces a possible 24 years in prison.

The case underscores the complexities that can arise when individuals find themselves in very serious and unexpected situations. The consequences can be life-altering for everyone involved. If you are facing criminal charges for any reason at all, it is extremely important not to let the prosecution’s overcharging result in a conviction for something you did not do.

Source: The Gazette, "Jury convicts Chicago man on lesser charges in 2012 robbery, shooting," Trish Mehaffey, May 12, 2014

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