Thursday, October 09, 2008

Cop's bum rap doesn't sour him on justice

Mike Mette, the wrongfully convicted Chicago cop released from an Iowa prison Wednesday, sat in the backyard of a family friend, finally free. There were steaks on the grill, people around him, his girlfriend, Olga Hill, his mom, Patti, his dad, Bob, at the home of Emilie and Al VanderWeerd, old friends from Chicago. It's the home where Bob and Patti and Olga would stay when they visited Mike in prison.

After a year in prison, sleeping behind razor wire, convicted of the crime of self-defense, Mike has a future to think about now. His old job is waiting for him at the Chicago Police Department, and a meeting is scheduled next week with Supt. Jody Weis. There's a police union party on Sunday, and football to watch, and a life again, and perhaps law school. "I want to take this all in, and I can't yet," said Mike, 31, as we sat at a patio table, waiting for the steaks. "It hasn't hit me yet. I don't know when it will hit me, when I realize I don't have to go back. It'll hit me though. I know it will."

"It's been an emotional day," Olga said. "Yeah, tell me about it," Mike said. "I haven't noticed. I'm an emotional basket case when I realize I don't have to go back there." .... Many of you know the story of Mike Mette, but for those who don't, here's a recap.

On Oct. 9, 2005, he was in Dubuque with his brother Mark and friends. After midnight, there was a confrontation with another group. A drunk, whose blood-alcohol content was 0.27 percent, became verbally and physically abusive. The drunk harassed him down the street, put his hands on Mike and finally, Mike threw a punch.

Though the sentencing judge ruled that the drunk was the initial aggressor, she said Mike should have kept fleeing, and for that sentenced him to prison. A week ago, an Iowa Appeals Court threw out the conviction. Iowa authorities waited a week to act—a face-saving measure for the Dubuque prosecutors—but on Tuesday the Iowa attorney general decided not to appeal to the state Supreme Court.

And now Mike Mette wants to go to law school. "I've been thinking about it and thinking about it, going to law school," he said. "I think I'd make a good lawyer. I've been on both sides of it. I think I'd bring a perspective to the law that most people don't have. I've been there."

Original report here

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today)

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