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5 year sentence for self defense

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  • 5 year sentence for self defense

    Anyone seen this? Sounds like he tried to walk away, but was still assaulted. Judge thinks he should have walked faster I guess.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...081400208.html

    As Chicago cop sits in Iowa cell, officials fume

    By AMY LORENTZEN
    The Associated Press
    Thursday, August 14, 2008; 3:18 AM

    DES MOINES, Iowa -- No one disputes that Michael Mette punched Jake Gothard, fracturing his nose, cheek and jaw, during a drunken altercation in Dubuque two years ago.

    But police and prosecutors in Illinois are outraged that Mette, a 31-year-old Chicago police officer, is now sitting in an Iowa prison cell serving a five-year sentence.

    Supporters say Mette, in town to celebrate his brother's 25th birthday, tried to avoid a fight and only struck back after Gothard followed him from a party and pushed him three times. Both men had been drinking, but Mette's supporters say Gothard's blood-alcohol level was more than three times the legal limit to drive.

    Cook County State's Attorney Richard Devine and Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis have asked Iowa Gov. Chet Culver to pardon Mette, who is on unpaid leave while serving his sentence at a state prison in Rockwell City.

    "Once you are aware of the full record in this case, I am certain that you will agree that this young man should not be in prison," Weis told Culver in a letter sent earlier this month.

    Culver's aides said the governor doesn't comment on ongoing legal proceedings but is aware of the situation. They acknowledged that Mette has asked for a commutation of his sentence. Mette also has appealed the case, and arguments before the Iowa Supreme Court are set for next month.

    Despite the uproar, Dubuque County Attorney Ralph Potter defends the charge against Mette, saying his office offered to negotiate a plea, but Mette's family "made it very clear that he would not plead to an assault charge of any kind."

    "We would have certainly negotiated something else if they would have been willing to admit some responsibility, but they never were," Potter said. "It would kind of be an insult to the system to not have at least an assault conviction out of this."


    There was no telephone listing for Jake Gothard in the Dubuque area. A telephone message left at a number believed to be Gothard's parents in Bellevue, Iowa, wasn't returned.

    As it stands now, Mette's career as a police officer is likely finished due to the assault conviction. Mette's family and supporters wonder if he got fair treatment from the courts and the police officers who responded to the fight.

    "Mike was hit three times in the chest before he reacted. He left the scene of the party," said Mette's older sister Jennifer Pomatto of Plainfield, Ill. "I don't know what else Mike could have done to avoid the situation."

    She wants to know why Gothard didn't even get a ticket for underage drinking. She added that one of the police officers knew the Gothard family and the other, a female officer, had had drinks with Gothard's roommate.

    Mette argued self defense at his November 2006 trial. First Judicial District Judge Monica Ackley found him guilty of assault causing serious injury but said Mette was not the initial aggressor of the incident.

    "What the defendant failed to do, however, was to retreat from the house or walk away and call the police about the disturbance," she wrote. "Because of his failure to take these steps, the court cannot find that the self-defense justification is available to permit the striking of Jake."

    For now, Mette is in prison awaiting a probation hearing and his appeal, said his father, Bob Mette. "He's frustrated and he's bored because he can't understand why he's there for defending himself," his father said.

  • #2
    This story has been posted several times. There is more to it.
    Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

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    • #3
      Originally posted by DAL View Post
      This story has been posted several times. There is more to it.
      Agreed, as much as I'd like to go with the CPD Officer, I need to hear the other side.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by DAL View Post
        This story has been posted several times. There is more to it.
        I figured there had to be more to it. But the quote from the Judge about him not being the primary aggressor, but then giving him a 5 year sentence seems REAL odd. I can see in states that adopt the Italian Doctrine how you may be required to run away, but when you try to leave and are pursued, then get a heavy sentence? That is just too much.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by GGG View Post
          I figured there had to be more to it. But the quote from the Judge about him not being the primary aggressor, but then giving him a 5 year sentence seems REAL odd. I can see in states that adopt the Italian Doctrine how you may be required to run away, but when you try to leave and are pursued, then get a heavy sentence? That is just too much.
          As I recall, there was testimony that Mette (who was drunk and accompanied by three friends) punched the guy and knocked him to the ground, where he was rolling around. Then, instead of leaving, he kicked the guy in the head several times, causing head and facial injuries that required airlifting to a hospital and another city. Because this constituted great bodily injury under Iowa law, the judge found that the amount of force was not reasonable in light of the minimal threat posed by the victim and the fact that, at that point, Mette was in no danger. Whether this evidence was true, I don't know, but apparently the judge did not believe Mette's testimony that he just threw one punch.
          Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
          Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

          Comment


          • #6
            Ok, thanks. That certainly does put a different twist on things.

            Comment

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