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Stand Your Ground Raised in Trial

Iowa's criminal justice system provides a stand your ground defense which took effect on July 1. It was recently raised for the first time in a defense to first-degree murder charges.

Law-abiding individuals, who are legally in specific place, do not have to retreat and may use deadly force in their defense if they feel that there is a threat to their lives. There is a presumption that defensive and deadly force is reasonable if another person illegally entered a house or building through secrecy.

In a court hearing in July, a defense attorney said that this law will be argued where a woman was accused of repeatedly shooting her step-father in the basement of her family home near Des Moines on May 8. At this hearing, bail was reduced from $1 million to $100,000 cash or surety bond.

The victim was not living with the family because of a no-contact order that was implemented after he grabbed his wife's hair and pushed her into a car window last November. She filed for divorce at that time

This order was repealed on May 2 and the victim returned home to retrieve some of his belongings when his step-daughter saw him. The defendant was unaware that he was in the home and her mother believes that the victim performed an act to threaten her.

Prosecutors charge that she got a gun from the upstairs of the house and went down into the basement where the step-father was shot. Police claim that he did not make threats or assault her.

The defense argued that, under the stand your ground law, a person may have an incorrect belief about the threat to her life if she believed that the threat was real and acted appropriately. Several incidents were cited about his threats to the family. These include the victim throwing a heavy object which broke his wife's hand and his 2001 imprisonment for stabbing her arm. The defendant had a permit to legally possess the gun.

The prosecution opposed bail reduction. They argued that the defendant was not justified in going to another part of the house, retrieving her firearm and repeatedly shooting the victim who was not engaged in threats of violence or an assault.

An attorney may assist with asserting valid defenses to criminal charges. They can also help assure that their rights are protected.

Source: The Des Moines Register, "Stepfather's killing could be first test of Iowa's 'new stand your ground' law," By Grant Rodgers, July 25, 2017

Categories
  • The Iowa State Bar Association
  • DUI Defense Law
  • NACDL
  • AAJ
  • Iowa Association of Justice

Keegan, Tindal, & Mason 

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  • J. Dean Keegan
  • Eric D. Tindal
  • Andrea D. Mason
  • J. Dean Keegan J. Dean Keegan

    Owner

    Decades of Award-Winning Legal Service J. Dean Keegan was born and raised in Waterloo, Iowa. After high school, Dean served ...
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  • Eric D. Tindal Eric D. Tindal

    Attorney

    Highly Rated Criminal Defense in Iowa City Eric D. Tindal, attorney at Keegan, Tindal & Mason, graduated from the University ...
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  • Andrea D. Mason Andrea D. Mason

    Attorney

    Experienced Criminal Defense in Iowa City Andrea D. Mason practices in the areas of white collar criminal defense, government ...
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  • Operating While Intoxicated Record Expunged

    Johnson OWCR106890. Attorney Dean Keegan's client received an Operating While Intoxicated, a serious misdemeanor. After reviewing the videos, Mr. Keegan filed a Motion to Suppress arguing the officer denied his client's right to make a phone call. The State declined to present testimony at the hearing and the Motion to Suppress was granted, making the client eligible for a deferred judgment. Mr. Keegan's client will have her record expunged and be able to obtain a license after 90 days instead of 180.

  • Drug Charge Charge Dismissed

    Johnson County No. OWCR039210, Iowa City, Iowa. Attorney J. Dean Keegan conducted a three-day long suppression hearing which presented the first challenge to the "Drug Recognition Protocols" used in Iowa.

  • Embezzlement No Criminal Charges Filed

    Cedar Rapids, Linn County, Iowa. An employee of a Cedar Rapids business accused of embezzling six million dollars was not charged criminally after the County Attorney agreed to abide by an agreement negotiated by Attorneys J. Dean Keegan and Jerald Kinnamon in which the accused would pay two million dollars to the company.

  • Vehicular Homicide Charge Dismissed

    Johnson County No. FECR058630- Iowa City, Iowa. Attorneys J. Dean Keegan and Jerald W. Kinnamon successfully challenged the withdrawal of blood from a Defendant without his permission after a rollover accident in which a passenger in the vehicle was killed.

  • Vehicular Homicide Charge Dismissed

    Muscatine County No. FECR03718 - Muscatine, Iowa. If convicted of the vehicular homicide while intoxicated, as alleged in this case, the Defendant would have faced the possibility of a 25-year prison sentence, 17 years of which would have to be served before he would be eligible for parole. Following the depositions of the investigating officer and consultation with an accident reconstruction expert, Attorneys J. Dean Keegan and Jerry Kinnamon negotiated the dismissal of Vehicular Homicide as part of a plea

  • OWI Charge Dismissed

    Johnson County No. OWCR083001 - Iowa City, Iowa. Attorney J. Dean Keegan alleged that the Defendant's rights to contact a lawyer or family member may have been violated after his arrest. He requested video of the breath test from the arresting officer to support his allegation. When the officer failed to produce the video evidence in response written requests, a subpoena, and a Motion to Compel, the State conceded the issue and dismissed the offense.

  • OWI Acquittal at Jury Trial

    Johnson County No. OWCR077717- Iowa City, Iowa. Acquittal at jury trial of a defendant accused of Operating While Intoxicated who refused a breath alcohol test. Tried by Attorney J, Dean Keegan.

  • OWI Case Overturned

    State v. Hornik, Segura, et. al.Iowa City, Johnson County, Iowa. When the state of Iowa established that the Datamaster breath testing machine could be used to test subjects being investigated for OWI, it failed to establish a protocol for its proper use. Attorney J. Dean Keegan, in conjunction with the Johnson County Public Defender's Office, mounted a challenge to the use of the machine based on the lack of uniform instructions for its operation.

  • Zero Tolerance Driver's License Revocation Zero Tolerance Driver's License Revocation Overt

    Iowa Dept. of Inspection and Appeals Docket No. 08DOTOW3937. Attorney J. Dean Keegan successfully challenged a "Zero Tolerance" license revocation on the basis that the officer had failed to allow the driver to contact a family member or attorney for legal advice before submitting to the test.

  • OWI 2nd Offense Charge Dismissed

    Muscatine County No. OWCR040280 - Muscatine, Iowa. After Attorney Dean Keegan scheduled the deposition of the State's expert witness in this case, he learned that the breath test was inappropriately administered by the arresting officer. The State dismissed the offense outright and agreed that the breath test result should be inadmissible so the Defendant would not face the proposed one-year administrative revocation of her driver's license.

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