The Iowa Supreme Court has reversed part of a ruling against a man found guilty of threatening law officers. The Tama County Sheriff and deputies arrested James Lane in March of 2005 at his mother’s home for violating a protective order that required him to stay away from her.
The sheriff says after Lane was arrested, he yelled and cursed at the deputies, and made reference to a recent courthouse shooting in Atlanta where a judge, court reporter and a deputy were shot to death by a man who escaped custody. Lane told deputies "You guys are all going to be sorry when I get a court schedule." The sheriff says Lane repeated the threats again as he was being booked.
The comments led the sheriff to charge Lane with intimidation with a dangerous weapon and threat of terrorism. Lane was found guilty on both counts but appealed, saying there was insufficient evidence to convict him on either count, and insufficient representation by his lawyer for not asking that the charges be dropped.
The Supreme Court ruled that Lane could not have been guilty of the threat of terrorism when he made menacing statements to the sheriff while in custody because there was no reasonable possibility he would imminently act on those threats. But the high court ruled there was ample evidence of intimidation to support the jury’s finding of guilt.