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Plummer's motion for bond review denied

BY ERIC MOORE | DECEMBER 06, 2011 7:20 AM

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An official at the Department of Correctional Services said Monday he would not be comfortable releasing Branden Plummer from custody.

Plummer, a University of Iowa student charged with attempted murder after allegedly strangling a police officer last month, appeared calm throughout his bond-review hearing Monday.

And while a judge ultimately ruled that Plummer's $100,000 cash-only bond would not be reduced, one expert said some aspects of Plummer's situation may have contributed to his bond being "extremely high."

"The circumstances surrounding the case are obviously something that you'd want to take into consideration when determining a bond," said Robert Rigg, the program director of criminal defense at Drake University. Rigg said a normal bond for attempted murder is around $25,000 — but the fact that an officer was the victim could have influenced the figure.

Plummer's attorney, Patrick Ingram, argued that his client's bond was "excessive" because he is a student. He also requested Plummer be released in order to finish finals.

Rigg said Ingram's request to have Plummer released is not unusual, and his student status had the potential to help him be released without paying bail.

"The fact that you're a student does help you in that it helps to establish you through the community," Rigg said. "Being a student doesn't hurt you necessarily, but there are circumstances that are going to weigh in."

Department of Correctional Services pretrial counselor Richard Sills recommended Plummer's bond remain at $100,000 because of the "violent nature and circumstances of the charge." He said he would not be comfortable having Plummer released, even under supervision, in Iowa City or his home in Urbandale.

Johnson County prosecutor Anne Lahey also said Plummer's bond should remain the same because the incident was an "unprovoked, violent attack on an officer."

"For the sake of the community and everyone— particularly law enforcement — Mr. Plummer needs to be held on a high bond," Lahey said.

Sixth Judicial District Judge Paul Miller ruled the bond would remain at $100,000 cash-only, saying the violent nature of the attack outweighed any "favorable facts" presented by the defense.

Iowa City Police Chief Sam Hargadine agreed with the judge's decision, saying "he sent out the right message."

Plummer, 20, was charged with attempted murder after he allegedly strangled Iowa City police Sgt. Brian Krei and hit his head against the sidewalk, causing him to lose consciousness on Nov. 18.

Police complaints said Krei initially approached Plummer because he was disrupting traffic at the intersection of Linn and Burlington Streets. Plummer reportedly fled the scene following the alleged incident.

Hargadine said several witnesses interviewed by police have said Plummer wasn't intoxicated at the time of the incident, but whether he was or not is still unknown.

"We don't have any reason to speculate that," Hargadine said.

As of Monday night, Plummer was being held at Johnson County Jail after being transported from Muscatine County Jail for his court appearance.

Ingram, Plummer's lawyer, was unable to be reached Monday night.


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