Iowa Man Cleared Of Manslaughter through “Stand Your Ground” Law
According to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, 42-year-old James Siegel of Cedar Rapids was initially charged with the first-degree murder of a man during a fight last May. His charge was then downgraded to voluntary manslaughter in the fatal shooting but, citing the "Stand Your Ground" law, the Linn County Attorney's office announced they were dropping the manslaughter charge, lacking sufficient evidence to prove it.
Siegel's attorneys used the defense that he had suffered "sudden, violent and irresistible passion as a result of serious provocation", elements of voluntary manslaughter, during the fight with 39-year-old Ty John Casey in Northeast Cedar Rapids.
Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks told the Gazette, the investigation was complete, and investigators found no sufficient evidence to prove voluntary manslaughter beyond a reasonable doubt.
The "Stand Your Ground Law" was passed in Iowa in 2017. It allows deadly force in self-defense, but only barring any criminal activity before using lethal force in self-defense. It presumes reasonable force by a person when another person "enters their dwelling unlawfully if a person believes they are in danger of injury". Without limits, the law could be abused. It was successfully used here for the first time in 2018 when according to Little Village, a Red Oak judge declared Kevin Staley was immune from prosecution in the shooting death of Devin Davis.
The law also requires the person committing the act to notify law enforcement within a reasonable time frame, and according to a complaint, Siegel did call 911 later on May 13 (the day of the incident) at around 9 p.m. from his home at 3906 Northwood Dr. NE.