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.

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.

(6) comments

iowalittledog

I notice not to many comments have made regarding this case. Are people scared? This one is hard for me, since I just recently had someone pull a gun on me and they were not charged with a crime. But then again I'm a brother and the person I accused is not. With that said, Meyer's has a right to have a gun, but the alleged victim has a right not to have a gun pulled on them. What I wanna know is what probable cause did the police use to arrest the defendant? Was it just the word of the victim? Did the police have video? Is it against the law to point a gun at someone even if you are on your property? Does the defendants right to have a guns stop at the front door, his lawn or where? I don't know either the defendant or victim, but please lets not judge Meyer's because you do or don't like him as an alderman. This case has received so much news coverage here in Scott County that it's going to be hard if not impossible to find someone who has not heard about this case or jury members who have not formed an opinion. I would like to see this trial, but I have had enough visits to the courthouse. Meyer's should have considered asking for a change of venue? That might have provided him with his best chance of winning? I know little about this Judge. Since Meyer's is representing himself, the judge will give him a little more room to present his case. Going up against a attorney and you are not an attorney is like playing basketball with a professional You may be good, but the professional makes a living at it? Delay the trial Meyers and get an attorney! Most attorney's feel they have an great advantage when going up against someone who is not as knowledgeable about the law.

TR

First, they have to prove Meyer's actually did point a gun at his neighbor. As far as the police conducting a search throughout Meyer's home, under the Patriot Act signed into law by President George W. Bush in October 2001 if a person/persons is deemed a terrorist by there own actions than No Search Warrant is needed for law enforcement to search the persons home. Nowadays if someone points a gun at you and its Not a situation where that person is in fear for there life, than that "Can Be Considered an Act of Terrorism" if the court chooses to pursue it. If Meyer's did point a gun at his neighbor like the media first reported, than there's a chance Meyer's entire defense may go out the window.
Just my opinion, but I believe the Patriot Act of 2001 is UnConstitutional because it restricts our Rights under the Fourth Amendment.....Search/Seizure.
Good luck in court Mr. Meyer's.

Badgerbacker

This writer was obviously too lazy to look up how many terms Keith Meyer served on the Council. He was alderman for two terms, not "several." By the way, my dictionary defines "several" as "more than two, but not many" Two is not more than two.

Contemptio

Is it too late for "Judge Judy". LOL

CGE
CGE

I can only hope this ends quickly for him. Representing himself on this is a bad idea especially since its obvious he isn't capable. The only one to feel sorry for are those who have to waste their time listening to him. Quack

dendroid
dendroid

I wish his accusers and the council members that used to turn off his headphones and laugh at council meetings were put under the same microscope. I still believe that this violates ADA.

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