Supreme Court says you can’t be charged for breaking a rule that wasn’t supposed to be a rule


April 14th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Supreme Court rules a Johnson County man can’t be charged for falsely answering an unauthorized question on a request for a gun permit. James Downey filled out the application for a gun permit in Johnson County in January of 2015. He provided his name, birthdate, sex, phone number, address, driver’s license number, place of birth, and country of citizenship on the front side of the form. Downey turned the form over to find 10 questions with yes or no answers. He answered “no” to whether he had ever been convicted of a felony.

The Johnson County Sheriff’s Department did a background check and charged him with making a false statement when they found he had a felony third offense O-W-I conviction. The Iowa Supreme Court ruled the 10 questions were not authorized by the legislature to be on the form and an unauthorized question on weapons permit application cannot be the basis for a crime. The ruling says if it were — someone could be asked the color of their car — and then be charged if they gave the wrong color.

(Radio Iowa)