Iowa Stand Your Ground Defense Rejected

stand ground law

STAND YOUR GROUND DEFENSE REJECTED

A Johnson County judge rejected defendant Lamar Wilson’s “stand your ground” defense in one of the first publicized uses of the defense since the law was enacted in 2017.  The State charged Wilson in a fatal shooting at the pedestrian mall in Iowa City. A jury convicted him of manslaughter for killing 22 year old Kaleek Jones. Wilson asserted the stand your ground law as a defense but Judge Paul Miller rejected it finding the law unconstitutional as applied to Wilson. Miller found the law was void because it was too vague to apply in Wilson’s case. This case will likely eventually wind up in the Iowa Supreme Court.

WHAT IS STAND YOUR GROUND?

Iowa Code § 704.13 grants criminal and civil immunity to individuals justified in using reasonable force against an aggressor.  Another controversial change to Chapter 704 allows a person to be wrong to in their decision to use force in self-defense, so long as their belief that the force was necessary was reasonable.  Under the law, judges can consider the subjective belief of the defendant in determining whether force was justified in the situation.

Stand your ground is a version of the affirmative defense known as self-defense. Self-defense is an affirmative defense that must be raised by the defendant prior to trial. Stand your ground is a “use it or lose it” defense. An attorney must raise the defense at the proper time, or the prosecution may later object to it.  It is critical to evaluate the use of an affirmative defense from the outset of a criminal case. Look for a follow up blog post detailing Iowa’s stand your ground law.

STOWERS AND SARCONE: STAND YOUR GROUND LAWYERS

Charged with a crime? The experienced attorneys at Stowers and Sarcone, PLC can assess all possible defenses you may have.  It is critical that a knowledgeable attorney assess your case at the earliest possible moment.  Contact us today at 5152247446.