Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Iowa Court of Appeals reverses Mette conviction

The Iowa Court of Appeals today reversed the assault causing serious injury conviction against Chicago Police Officer Mike Mette. Here is a link to the court opinion.

An excerpt (slip opinion at p. 9):
As Michael raised the defense of self defense, it was the State’s burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that such defense was not available to him. Rubino, 602 N.W.2d at 565. A close review of the record confirms the district court’s findings are all supported by the testimony, except the finding that Michael had an opportunity to retreat. The court clearly found Mette “was not the initial aggressor” and “[i]t was reasonable under the circumstances to believe that harm might come to any one of the individuals standing outside on the street.” However, there is absolutely no testimony from any of the witnesses to support the district court’s findings:
What the defendant failed to do however, was to retreat from the situation to avoid any problems. All any of the six had to do was get in the car, go inside the house, or walk away and call the police about the disturbance.
After being pushed and knocked backwards two or three times, there was nothing in the record to indicate Michael could have avoided Gothard’s next blow, without his defensive punch. While it may be possible to speculate on Michael’s ability to retreat, the record is utterly void of any testimony to support that assumption.

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