Great news from baseball-loving Iowa:
Chicago Police Officer Michael Mette, wrongly convicted and railroaded into five years in prison for the crime of self defense, will be getting out of prison soon.
The Iowa Court of Appeals, in its ruling posted early Wednesday, reversed Mette's conviction and ordered sentencing Judge Monica Ackley to acquit him.
The appeals panel said the court had no business discounting the self-defense argument. Mike threw just one punch in self defense after he'd been repeatedly attacked by an angry drunk with a blood-alcohol content of 0.27 percent.
"Mike called from prison this morning to find out what the ruling was," Bob Mette, Mike's father, told this column. "He's just beside himself. He's so relieved. He couldn't sleep all night."
I'll have more to say in Thursday's paper, but what's bothered me about this isn't just that Americans have a right to self defense, even in Iowa. There's more to it. There are those anonymous haters posting their animus against an innocent cop on the Internet whenever I've written about Mike. And the lack of general news coverage about an innocent man who was abused by prosecutors and the legal system has been appalling.
If only Mike Mette had been some gangbanger with a rap sheet as long as his leg, a few armed robbery convictions, maybe an assault with a weapon or two, he might have had the support of the crowd that goes to bat for wrongfully convicted felons.
But Mike was a cop. And he might be a cop again, if Police Supt. Jody Weis offers him his job back, as we expect.
Still, great news is great news.
Mike Mette, who grew up playing baseball, and played in college, may be getting out of prison in time for some Chicago playoff games, if the Dubuque prosecutors who home-towned him have any decency left. They should immediately drop any appeal to the Iowa Supreme Court and let him go.
The only thing is, Mike is a Cubs fan, and my White Sox just made the playoffs too. But either way, when I see him, we'll talk baseball and I figure the beer will be cold.