After spending two days picking a jury, Keith Meyer asked that the assault case against him be dismissed because he didn’t understand the definition of the charge against him.

The 71-year-old former Davenport alderman is representing himself against charges that he aimed his shotgun at a neighbor last year.

“I’m somewhat confused what exactly the charge is,” Meyer said Tuesday in Scott County District Court, after the jury was sent home for the day. “What is the actual charge here?”

Assistant Scott County Attorney Will Ripley said Meyer is charged with assault while displaying a dangerous weapon.

Meyer, who has partial hearing loss, then asked for a definition of “dangerous weapon.”

“The court is not allowed to act as your attorney in any way,” Scott County District Judge Cheryl Traum told Meyer, and she denied his request to dismiss the case.

Afterward, before Meyer left the courtroom, a friend of his, John Wiese of Davenport, handed him a copy of Iowa Rules of Courts.

“I gave him a tool to defend himself,” Wiese said outside the courthouse.

He claimed Meyer never pointed the shotgun at the neighbor.

“Keith has an absolute, God-given right to bear an arm according to the Constitution of the United States and the Iowa Constitution,” Wiese said.

The trial is set to continue Wednesday morning with opening arguments. Ripley said Tuesday in court he anticipates his case will last the morning, adding that depends how long Meyer takes to give his opening argument.

“It’s difficult to anticipate the length of the defendant’s opening statement,” Ripley said.

Meyer is expected to present his case Wednesday afternoon, requesting from the judge a “15-minute window” to make sure his witnesses get to the courthouse because he said he can’t call them on the phone.

The assault charge is an aggravated misdemeanor that is punishable by up to two years in prison.

Meyer served as 3rd Ward alderman for two terms. He lost his re-election bid in 2007.


EARLIER UPDATE: A jury has been selected in ex-Davenport alderman Keith Meyer's assault trial. The selection took a day-and-a-half.

Alternate jurors will be selected after lunch this afternoon.


EARLIER REPORT: The former Davenport alderman came prepared for his assault trial Monday in Scott County District Court with three huge binders and a chatty demeanor.

Keith Meyer, 71, who is representing himself against charges he aimed a gun at a neighbor last year, plopped the binders down as he said to a courtroom full of potential jurors, “I feel for you.”

He added, “The judge is going to tell some of you guys you can go home.”

That was mid-morning. 

By 4 p.m., Meyer and Assistant Scott County Attorney Will Ripley, who is prosecuting the case, still hadn’t selected their 12 jurors.

“I can’t believe it’s been a whole day,” Scott County District Judge Cheryl Traum said in the courtroom before sending about four dozen potential jurors home for the day. She told them all to return this morning as the selection process continues. 

Ripley said he and Meyer are interviewing each potential

juror individually outside of the courtroom, blaming the longer-than-usual selection on the extensive media attention of Meyer’s case over the past two months.

“We want fair and impartial people who have not already made up their minds,” Ripley said. “Sometimes, the pre-trial coverage affects the process.”

Meyer also has partial hearing loss and is reading a court reporter’s transcript of the trial proceedings in real time.

Ripley said a “chunk” of the selection was done Monday, and he is hopeful a jury will be selected by noon today.

Earlier in the day, Traum said in court she didn’t know how long the jury trial was going to last.

Meyer is charged with assault while displaying a weapon related to a Nov. 11 incident in the 1000 block of North Marquette Street in which police say he threatened a neighbor with a gun.

The assault charge is an aggravated misdemeanor that is punishable by up to two years in prison.

Meyer has claimed police conducted an illegal search of his house at 1010 N. Marquette St. without a warrant.

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Meyer served as 3rd Ward alderman for several terms. He lost his re-election bid in 2007.


EARLIER STORY: Ex-Davenport Alderman Keith Meyer’s assault trial is under way this morning with jury selection.

Meyer brought three large binders into the courtroom and chatted with jurors, telling them, “I feel for you.”

More to follow.


EARLIER STORY: He tried to get charges dismissed. He claimed police conducted an illegal search of his house and violated his Second Amendment rights.

All those motions have been denied, and Keith Meyer’s assault trial is set to begin today in Scott County District Court, Davenport.

The 71-year-old former Davenport alderman will be representing himself.

Meyer is charged with assault while displaying a weapon related to a Nov. 11 incident in the 1000 block of North Marquette Street in which police say he aimed a gun at a neighbor.

The assault charge is an aggravated misdemeanor that is punishable by up to two years in prison.

Meyer could not be reached Friday for comment. He has turned down previous requests for an interview.

Assistant Scott County Attorney Will Ripley, who is prosecuting the case, said Friday that Meyer was given the opportunity to continue his trial a second time after it already had been pushed back a week, and Meyer refused.

Among the numerous motions Meyer has filed in the case, he alleges police violated his Second and Fourteenth amendment rights. He also alleges police searched his home at 1010 N. Marquette St., without a warrant.

“I have police officers who are lying about what happened,” Meyer said during a court hearing last month.

Meyer served as 3rd Ward alderman for several terms. He lost his re-election bid in 2007.