Yesterday, I wrote about the troubles of Mr. Michael Hodges. He was charged with attempted murder after he reportedly used his firearm in self-defense. He had a concealed carry permit and promptly went to police after the shooting. By contrast, the other party in the shooting was using a stolen gun, hand no permit, and had already pled guilty to lesser charges stemming from the incident.
But a judge denied Hodges’s request for charges to be dismissed under Iowa’s Stand Your Ground law.
Luckily, the prosecutor in the case used his own discretion and dropped the charges.
A Cedar Rapids man who sought immunity under Iowa’s stand-your-ground law after authorities say he shot and wounded another man won’t go to trial — not thanks to the controversial law, but because the Linn County Attorney’s Office asked the court Wednesday to dismiss the charges.
“After a thorough review of the evidence, especially the video, I believe Michael Hodges Jr. was justified in drawing his weapon and shooting,” said Assistant County Attorney Monica Slaughter, who took over the case this week.
Surveillance video from downtown cameras, which captured the January shooting outside a bar, shows the other man — Zevon Johnson of Urbandale — was the “primary aggressor,” she found. Hodges drew his gun, which he had a permit to carry, in response, she concluded.
The finding contradicts a criminal complaint, another county prosecutor’s arguments in an earlier hearing and a few statements from 6th Judicial District Chief Judge Patrick Grady, who had denied Hodges’ immunity.
Slaughter, who was promoted to the felony division last week, said she wasn’t involved in Johnson’s case or plea. But after watching the video many times and slowing it down over and over again, she became convinced Johnson was the first to raise his gun. It would be difficult to see if she hadn’t replayed it many times, she added.
Slaughter said she couldn’t release the video to the public because it was evidence in Johnson’s case. He hasn’t been sentenced yet.
In the video, Slaughter said, Johnson is behind another, larger man but steps out and to the side of that man, Slaughter said. She said Johnson then immediately pulls out a gun from his pants or pocket, points it at Hodges and fires.
This fits with Johnson’s claims pretty well.
What people need to understand is that those who get concealed carry permits aren’t looking for trouble. We’re typically people who simply want to be ready when trouble comes looking for us, kind of like it came looking for Hodges that day. Johnson broke several laws all at once, which shows he wasn’t exactly the most law-abiding. My guess is that the only reason he wasn’t prosecuted for stealing a firearm was that it was his mother’s gun and she opted not to press charges.
Using a gun in self-defense can be traumatic enough, but being prosecuted for it adds another layer of problems into the mix. Luckily, that aspect of Hodges life is now over and he can move on.
As noted in Wednesday’s post, Johnson and his friends had reportedly been harassing Hodges for some time prior to the shooting. I suspect that’s come to an end as well. While Hodges was justified in firing and I suspect wouldn’t use a gun unless provoked in a similar way again, that still has to play in the mind of Johnson and company.
I’m glad to see this win for the good guys.