Ben Stone prides himself on maintaining a special relationship with his clients. He is attentive to each one, and seeks to maintain constructive, two-way communications at all times. Regardless of what his clients need, he is determined to understand and do his zealous best to deliver them justice.
Mr. Stone grew up in West Des Moines, where he graduated from Valley High School. After receiving his B.S. degree in history from Iowa State University, he taught middle school in Illinois before returning to ISU to earn his M.A. in history, with a minor in philosophy. He then led a statewide student association for several years before entering law school at Drake University. After earning his J.D. with honors, he became an associate at Parrish Kruidenier before assuming the helm of the Iowa ACLU. He has been practicing law at Parrish since 2014.
Mr. Stone has also regularly taught college part-time for nearly 25 years. He has served as an adjunct instructor in Constitutional Law, Moral Philosophy and Logic at Des Moines Area Community College, American History at Drake University, and Communications Law at Simpson College.
As a volunteer activist, he has served on the state board of directors of One Iowa, Iowans Against the Death Penalty, and was the Chair of the Board of Christian Social Action at Plymouth Church in Des Moines. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Plymouth.
Mr. Stone lives in West Des Moines with his wife and three children.
February 2024: Stone represented a woman facing 35 years on Class B & C felony charges. She was alleged to have received a significant amount of money from an elderly man by fraudulent means. After analyzing the state’s evidence, Stone was ready to prepare for trial, but his client was willing to return all the funds if the charges could be reduced significantly. While he was successful in convincing the prosecutor to let her plead to a Class D felony in exchange for full restitution, Stone was unable to convince the state to agree to a deferred judgment. At a contested sentencing hearing, his client received the deferred judgment anyway.
January 2024: Stone’s client faced up to seven years in prison under allegations of an attempted department store burglary and a third weed possession. After reviewing lots of video, Stone ultimately reached an agreement with the prosecutor that the client could have the two-year weed charge dismissed if he pled to the attempted felony burglary charge. The deal included that Stone could seek a deferred judgment on behalf of his client to avoid him becoming a felon for the rest of his life. At the contested sentencing, Stone and his client prevailed in convincing the judge a deferred judgment was fair and just. His client is therefore not a felon, and will never be if he is successful on probation.
December 2023: A southern Iowa man retained Stone to represent him on a felony charge of theft from the department accounts of a local town. Stone convinced the prosecutor to allow his client to plead to a misdemeanor, but a deferred judgment was something he would have to advocate for at a contested sentencing. Mr. Stone’s client received the DJ.
September 2023: Stone represented a man facing 25 years (w a mandatory 17.5) on a Class B arson charge for allegedly starting a fire in his room at a local residential facility serving folks with mental health challenges. After securing thousands of pages of his client’s mental health records, as well as a mental health evaluation, Stone worked with the prosecutor to have his client plead to attempted arson – a two-year sentence -- and probation. However, when it appeared his client might languish in a county jail for months due to a lack of mental health openings, Stone advised his client to file for a reconsideration of the sentence so he could be sent to a prison facility instead. This enabled his client to be eligible for release on parole much sooner.
August 2023: Stone was retained to represent a man with three open felony cases in two different counties. In all, he faced four felonies, two of them C’s. In one case, three child endangerments – two felonies and a misdemeanor -- were reduced to a simple harassment charge with his client entering an Alford plea. In another, a Class C sex abuse charge was ultimately pled down to a simple misdemeanor trespass charge. In the third case, a Second-Degree Burglary charge – a Class C felony -- was completely dismissed. Two simple misdemeanors with no jail time were all that resulted from the three cases.
July 2023: Stone was retained to represent a SE Iowa man facing 65 years on state drug charges, as well as enhancements as a habitual offender. After analyzing the extensive discovery and potential federal exposure of his client, Stone advised him to seek a state plea on reduced charges. His client pled to a single C felony and was sentenced to 10 years in prison, with no mandatory minimum. This permitted his client to avoid serious potential federal charges as well.
June 2023: Stone was retained to represent a man on state sex solicitation charges. However, he later faced serious federal charges for the same conduct instead. He now faced more than a mandatory twenty years in federal prison for attempted sexual exploitation of a minor and enticement. Stone continued to represent him in federal court, where he ultimately negotiated with the U.S. Attorney a deal wherein his client pled to a reduced charge of use of interstate facilities to transmit info about a minor. His client agreed to serve 60 months – or five years – in federal custody.
May 2023: Stone’s client, a lawful permanent resident, faced 43 years in prison on burglary, theft and false imprisonment charges. After filing to depose the alleged victim, and reviewing the video and other evidence, Stone worked to convince the county attorney to agree his client could plead to a single class C burglary charge. At a contested sentencing proceeding, Stone successfully argued for probation and a deferred judgment for his client.
April 2023: Stone’s client faced a misdemeanor child endangerment charge involving her teenage son. After securing some key video evidence from his client, he managed to convince the prosecutor to give his client a chance to demonstrate she was working a stable job and not abusing marijuana. After his client provided some clean drug screens and Stone provided the county attorney with evidence of he work and school involvement, the case was dismissed.
March 2023: Mr. Stone represented a young man living in the Homes of Oakridge in Des Moines who was facing a Second-Degree Kidnapping charge – a Class B forcible felon with a mandatory 17.5 years in prison. Stone worked with his client to help convince the prosecutor that the case against him wasn’t as serious as initially believed, with the result that the client received a deferred judgment on Class C conspiracy charge.
January 2023: Stone was retained to represent a young man facing five child pornography counts in state court. Recognizing that the nature of the evidence could well expose his client to federal charges, Stone worked with the county attorney on a deal wherein his client pled to one aggravated misdemeanor count, with a sentence of two years in prison.
October 2022: Stone’s client, a 50-year-old parolee with an arrest warrant, was stopped for a busted brake light and subsequently arrested and charged with possession of illegal drugs reportedly found on his person and in the car. After reviewing all police video and other evidence, Stone sought the best result he could negotiate while his client did drug treatment in jail. Instead of going to prison for more than 44 years, Stone worked to convince the state and the district court that a mere three-year prison sentence was sufficient for the rehabilitation of his client and the protection of the community.
July 2022: Ben Stone’s client faced eight separate charges in a single criminal case with a sole victim. The allegations included burglary, willful injury, domestic assault, and sex abuse – accumulating to a potential 56-year sentence. The state possessed a substantial amount of video and audio evidence, as well as a cooperative witness. Stone worked with the county attorney in establishing an agreement whereby his client would plead guilty to four of the charges, for a total of 19 years, but would receive probation rather than being sentenced to prison.
April 2022: Ben Stone’s middle-aged client faced a class C forcible felony willful injury charge for hitting a woman in a bar over the head with a pool cue. This was an entirely unprovoked assault that was captured by surveillance video. While his client’s guilt was not in dispute, the priority was to both avoid him going to prison, as well as picking up a felony conviction. Stone convinced the prosecutor to let his client plead to a lesser willful injury charge that does not require time in prison. However -- despite the fact his client had no prior criminal history of any kind -- the state insisted on arguing he deserved to become a felon. Stone successfully convinced the sentencing court to grant the man a deferred judgment instead of ordering he become a felon.
February 2022: Ben Stone’s client faced a five-year prison sentence for allegedly violating his parole as a sex offender. His estranged wife had alleged truly awful, even deviant behavior, in the context of their breakup. The parole officer agreed with the allegations and sought revocation. In a contested hearing, Stone utilized more than a dozen exhibits, as well as video clips and cross examination of the state’s witnesses to convince the judge that the state had failed to meet its burden on the most serious allegations. Stone’s client remained free with a continuation of his parole.
November 2021: Stone represented a man facing six decades in prison for sex abuse of his children. One of his daughters had come forward as an adult, while another attested to abuse while still living in the home. While there was no physical evidence, the testimony of the alleged victims would be exceedingly difficult to overcome. Over the course of five months – including more than ten personal visits to the jail – Stone worked with both his client and the prosecutor to eventually agree on a sentence of 15 years, with no mandatory minimum.
September 2021: Stone represented a pregnant woman facing a vehicular homicide charge that could result in a prison sentence of 25 years. She also faced an OWI 1st charge involving methamphetamine. Expert witnesses were obtained. As trial approached, the state filed amended charges that alleged she left the scene, which would make a Class B conviction of vehicular homicide include a mandatory minimum of 17.5 years. Stone filed a motion to dismiss alleging the drug rest results were insufficient to prove the OWI and homicide, and that there was no evidence the defendant had ever left the scene of the accident. The case was resolved with a plea to the lesser included Class C homicide by reckless driving and OWI, for a sentence of eleven years.
June 2021: Stone’s client faced Life in Prison for kidnapping, arson, willful injury, and assault by penetration of the anus with an object. Even without the kidnapping charge, the defendant faced potentially 45 years. Numerous videos revealed images implicating the defendant, but there were time gaps and context missing. After litigating a motion to suppress statements made by his client, Stone and his co-counsel engaged in depositions of the victim and another witness. Due to the successful results of these depositions, a plea agreement was reached whereby the client plead to arson, willful injury and harassment, for a total of 37 years, with a mandatory minimum of 17.5 years. Stone later filed a motion for reconsideration of sentence pro bono, but it was unsuccessful.
May 2021: Ben Stone defended a man facing two class D felony drug charges, including a firearm enhancement that added five years to one of those felonies. This exposed his client, who was not a felon, to a sentence of 15 years in prison. Working closely with his client’s probation officer while emphasizing how well his client was doing in his substance abuse treatment, Mr. Stone convinced the prosecutor to not only drop the five-year firearm enhancement, but to also agree to a deferred judgment if the defendant agreed to a full five years of probation. Stone’s advocacy resulted in his 25-year old client avoiding both prison and becoming a felon.
April 2021: Attorney Ben Stone’s client faced an OWI 3rd felony offense, along with probation revocation on a prior OWI 2nd conviction. After reviewing the police video, Stone deposed the arresting officer so effectively that the county attorney became amenable to a plea deal that kept his client from going to prison as a felon, and permitted her to serve her jail sentence over several weekends, thus allowing her to keep her job.
January 2021: Attorney Ben Stone was retained by a man who sought an order removing him from the sex offender registry [SOR]. The client had been on the SOR for over 12 years, but had pled guilty to violating the terms of the SOR twice, as well as had been revoked to prison for a two year term for violating the terms of his lifetime special sentence in 2015. After release, two more parole violations had been filed against him, but his parole had been reinstated regardless – thanks in part to Stone’s representation on those violations. Despite this difficult history, as well as the vehement resistance of his client’s sex crime victim and the county attorney, Stone successfully convinced the district court to order his removal from the SOR.
December 2020: Attorney Ben Stone was retained by an Iowa family to seek early release for their elderly father, who was in a federal prison in Minnesota serving a sentence for possession of child pornography. The father had gotten very sick while in prison, to the extent that he was nearly blind and significantly limited in his ability to walk or otherwise get around. Stone filed his motion for “Compassionate Release” earlier this spring under a recently-adopted provision of federal law. In early December, a federal judge granted his client an early release about a year before he might otherwise have been paroled. Within two weeks of that order, the elderly father was back with his family in Iowa.
November 2020: Attorney Ben Stone’s client was facing a Driving While Barred charge. The state’s initial offer was for ten days in jail. In an effort to keep his client from losing his job, Mr. Stone convinced the county attorney to agree to jointly recommend half that amount, or five days. He then worked to see that the sentence began on a Wednesday, so he client could be back at his job on Monday morning.
June 2020: Attorney Ben Stone represented a man arrested in Nevada and brought back to Iowa for violation of his probation. He was also charged with failing to properly register for the sex offender registry. He faced a ten-year sentence if his probation was revoked, and another two years if he was found guilty of the sex offender registry law.
Stone spent hours dealing with the authorities in both Nevada & Iowa in his attempt to document both that his client did NOT violate the registry law, and that he did not deserve to be revoked to prison. On both of these efforts, he was successful. The sex offender registry charge was dismissed, and his client was allowed to go back on probation, which was not even extended longer than its original period.
May 2020: Ben Stone represented a young man facing a five count drug Indictment, including a class “D” felony, three aggravated misdemeanors and a serious misdemeanor. This represented a potential 11.5 years in prison. The State eventually agreed with Stone that his client could plead to one aggravated and one serious, with the rest being dismissed. This would lead to one year of probation, and a substance abuse residential bed at Prelude in central Iowa. Stone’s client was even able to leave jail the day he was sentenced and report directly to probation even though he was going to have to wait to get a bed in the residential treatment program. This was because Stone suggested his client be required to provide random drug tests while he was out waiting for admission to Prelude.
November 2019: Ben Stone’s 59 year-old client faced three drug charges exposing him to 20 years in prison. Upon meeting with his client, Stone determined that in all likelihood the police officer who searched him did so in violation of the Fourth Amendment. After he later viewed the police body camera videos, Stone confirmed his suspicions and soon thereafter filed a Motion to Suppress alleging that none of the evidence seized by the State could be used against his client. The county attorney agreed to dismiss all the charges without even bothering to conduct a suppression hearing.
August 2019: Attorney Ben Stone recently represented a young woman facing the charge of Assault While Displaying a Dangerous Weapon, an aggravated misdemeanor, as well as a simple misdemeanor charge of Interference with Official Acts. In preparation for trial, he filed for discovery, obtaining various police body camera videos and photographs. Stone then subpoenaed for depositions the three witnesses in the case. However, one witness had left the state, one was in jail in another county, and the other failed to show up. Mr. Stone’s client chose to plead to the simple misdemeanor interference charge in exchange for the dismissal of her aggravated assault charge. She paid a fine and court costs, with no jail time.
July 2019: Ben Stone’s young client had been charged with Intimidation with a Dangerous Weapon, a Class “C” felony worth 10 years in prison. After seeking discovery and visiting the crime scene, Mr. Stone engaged with the prosecutor, who agreed that the accused could plead to the Class “D” lesser-included Intimidation charge worth potentially only 5 years, but that the State would likely argue at sentencing for prison. When the presentence investigation report recommended probation with residential placement at the Fort Des Moines correctional facility, the State nonetheless sought to have the Defendant sentenced to prison. At the end of the sentencing hearing, Mr. Stone, who had filed a sentencing brief with the court, was successful in helping convince the judge that his 19 year-old client should be sent to Fort Des Moines rather than prison.
May 2019: Ben Stone’s client, a young woman with no criminal record of any kind, faced a felony charge of Domestic Abuse Assault Impeding Air Flow, a Class “D” felony, as well as Harassment in the First Degree, an aggravated misdemeanor, and Domestic Assault Causing Injury, a serious misdemeanor. All in all, she faced eight years in prison, and was now homeless due to the mandatory no contact order.
After his effort at dismissal or reduction of the charges at the preliminary hearing was unsuccessful, Mr. Stone filed Notice of Self-Defense and sought discovery. He also secured a private investigator. He then set depositions for his client’s two accusers, but first had to seek a missing police video. After the State promptly provided the missing video, Mr. Stone conducted the depositions with the objective of attacking the credibility of his client’s accusers.
A few days before trial was set to begin, at the request of his young client, Mr. Stone went to the State with an offer to plead guilty to an amended charge of simple disorderly conduct in exchange for the dismissal of all the other charges and no jail time. They sought and received a deferred judgment for her as well. Finally, Mr. Stone urged the court to waive the repayment of attorney fees, as his client worked at a fast food restaurant and so did not have a reasonable ability to pay those fees.
January 2019: Attorney R. Ben Stone’s very young adult client was charged with an aggravated misdemeanor for possession of child pornography, as well as a serious misdemeanor possession of marijuana charge. He faced two and a half years in prison on these charges, along with a Tier II designation on the Iowa Sex Offender Registry (ISOR). From a separate incident, he also faced two simple misdemeanors (for theft & disorderly conduct) and a serious misdemeanor assault charge.
Mr. Stone urged the county attorney to consider amending the child pornography charge to dissemination of obscene material to a minor, a serious misdemeanor that would recognize the nature of the harm to the victim, while moving the defendant from Tier II to Tier I, a less burdensome designation with the ISOR. Ultimately, his client pled guilty to the two simple misdemeanors, as well as the amended serious misdemeanor dissemination charge; the two serious misdemeanors for assault and possession of marijuana were dismissed. He was sentenced to one year of probation, with a five-year no contact order protecting the victim.
December 2018: Attorney Ben Stone’s client, who had never faced any kind of criminal charge in her life, faced a felony child endangerment allegation in regard to her stepson. In her defense, he deposed three of the state’s witnesses, which helped expose weaknesses in the State’s case. The State eventually made a second plea offer, which Mr. Stone urged his client to decline. On the eve of trial, the charge was dismissed with prejudice.
October 2018: Attorney Ben Stone’s client faced a serious misdemeanor Criminal Trespass charge. The state offered 30 days in jail, and a $650 fine, plus restitution. After reviewing discovery, he learned his client, an older homeless man, had his cat “impounded” by the police the day he was arrested. After making a number of phone calls to a local animal shelter, Mr. Stone managed to return the cat to his client, while also securing an agreement to plead to simple trespass, with restitution, a $65 fine, and no jail.
September 2018: Attorney Ben Stone recently represented a man charged with Interference with Official Acts While Armed and Carrying a Concealed Weapon – both Class “D” felonies worth five years each. If it were not for his client’s possession of a pistol for which he had a valid permit to carry, his client would have only faced an Interference Simple Misdemeanor. Mr. Stone, who believed this to be a good Second Amendment case, filed for discovery, and after viewing the police videos with his client, filed a Motion to Dismiss the Carrying Weapon charge, and prepared for a jury trial. As the trial approached, the State agreed to allow Mr. Stone’s client to plead to the lesser simple interference charge, and dismissed the Carrying Weapons charge. His client did not become a felon and avoided jail or prison, while paying only a $65 fine plus court costs.
April 2018: Ben Stone’s client confronted a charge of Theft in the Second Degree, a Class “D” felony, increased on a Habitual Offender enhancement to a mandatory minimum of 15 years, for a total of 20 years. After rejecting the State’s plea offer to just the 5 years for the D felony, with the habitual being dropped, the decision was made instead to depose the alleged victim. When he failed to appear for the deposition, the case was dismissed without prejudice.
February 2018: Over the course of recent months, attorney Ben Stone managed the criminal cases of five clients to dismissal. Among these dismissals was a case where it was agreed that if his client stayed out of trouble for three months, her disorderly conduct charge would be dismissed. In another, after his client completed an assaultive behavior class, the state dropped the charges. In yet another, after Mr. Stone recommended his client reject the state’s plea offer and take the case to jury trial, the charges were dismissed with prejudice a few days later.
In a small town in south central Iowa, a woman stood formally charged with Assault on a Peace Officer, a serious misdemeanor. After Ben Stone, her attorney, filed for discovery and reviewed the video in her case, he determined there was evidence the officer may have acted with excessive force as he arrested her. Ultimately, it was agreed she could plead guilty to mere simple assault, for which she received probation.
A man faced 20 years in prison on a possession of meth charge with a habitual offender enhancement. His attorney, Ben Stone, filed a motion to suppress the evidence against his client, arguing that the police had violated his client’s Fourth Amendment rights in three separate and distinct ways. On the eve of the hearing set on Mr. Stone’s motion to suppress, the state offered to reduce the charges to a simple misdemeanor with no jail sentence. Ultimately, ALL charges were dismissed with prejudice without a hearing.
Ben Stone’s client, a recent standout high school football player who had been arrested five separate times in the previous 11 months, appeared to be in serious jeopardy of being revoked from probation and sentenced to his original four year prison sentence. But upon learning of previously undisclosed mental health concerns, Mr. Stone worked to delay the hearing until his client’s probation officer could get to the courthouse. Working closely with the father of his client, he helped convince the county attorney and the court to place the young man with mental health probation services rather than prison.
To speak with defense attorney R. Ben Stone, call 515/284-5737, or email him at email@example.com. One can leave a message after business hours at 515/283-3651.
REPRESENTATIVE CASES – PRIOR TO 2018:
- Over the course of nine months, I represented a young woman with an extensive criminal history of drug abuse and crimes related to that abuse. I represented her on both a felony drug charge, as well as a probation revocation case. To her credit, she gained admittance to long-term residential substance abuse programs in northern and western Iowa. I helped convince the judges and the county attorneys involved to allow time for his client to demonstrate her commitment to sobriety, as well as to understand a few setbacks she experienced. In the end, I helped her receive a suspended sentence on her felony charge, while avoiding prison in her probation revocation case.
- I represented a 17-year old man charged with possessing a firearm on campus, which is a Class D felony automatically moved to adult court. I filed an extensive sentencing brief arguing that a deferred judgment with probation was a better and more appropriate punishment than a suspended sentence, which is what the state was seeking as a sentence. The judge granted the young man a deferred judgment despite an extensive juvenile record of delinquency and school disruption and misbehavior, thus permitting him the chance to avoid becoming a felon if he can successfully complete probation.
- My client faced a serious misdemeanor charge of Domestic Assault Causing Bodily Injury. The state’s plea offer involved his client pleading guilty to the reduced charge of simple assault, with a $65 fine. Instead of accepting the offer, I filed a Motion to Produce, and after reviewing the documents provided by the prosecutor, advised his client to go to trial. The charge was dismissed with prejudice less than a week before trial, sparing the client both a conviction, as well as the cost of repaying the state for his attorney fees.
- A Polk County man was arrested for felony domestic assault after he had filed an appeal bond in a separate OWI case. I became his lawyer. First the county attorney filed a motion to force him back to jail for violating the conditions of the appeal bond. I resisted at a hearing, and the judge ultimately refused to act on the State’s motion, and my client remained free. Meanwhile in the assault case, I first filed a motion to produce, then a motion to dismiss. Ten days before trial, the case was dismissed with prejudice. However, the dismissal order required the client to reimburse the State for the cost of his attorney fees. Using recent case law, I filed a motion to reconsider the sentencing order. Ultimately, the court revised its order removing the requirement that the Defendant repay the state for his attorney fees, thus saving him more than a thousand dollars.
- My client originally faced 12 years in prison on charges of Intimidation with a Dangerous Weapon, a Class “C” felony, as well as Carrying Weapons, an aggravated misdemeanor. At the preliminary hearing, I aggressively questioned the police witness such that the judge became convinced that the state had failed to establish probable cause for the C felony charge — ruling instead that the state had only established probable cause for the lesser “D” felony version of Intimidation. The state declined to formally charge even the D felony when it filed its Trial Information. My client ultimately received a two-year suspended sentence on the carrying weapons charge only
- My homeless client was charged with Harassment in the 1st Degree, an aggravated misdemeanor. Due to a nearly identical, very recent prior conviction, the client remained in custody awaiting trial. The initial plea offer was for 90 days as charged, which was rejected. After filing a Motion to Produce and Notice of Intent to Conduct Depositions, as well as making some phone calls, I obtained a plea to Harassment in the 2nd Degree, a serious misdemeanor, with 48 days credit for time served and no fine.
- I recently represented a man on a disorderly conduct charge. After I filed several pretrial motions, including a subpoena for a witness the state no longer wanted to see testify, the charge was dismissed with prejudice. But when the judge ordered the client to pay attorney fees on the dismissed charge, I filed a motion demanding the judge reconsider, citing very recent case law forbidding the state from collecting court costs or attorney fees from defendants with dismissed cases. The judge filed a revised order, removing the provision for repayment of costs and attorney fees, saving my client over $700 in costs.
- One of my clients was facing a felony criminal mischief charge, a public intoxication charge, and a probation violation. A piece of equipment at a bar supposedly worth thousands had been damaged, and it was alleged the defendant had deliberately damaged it while drunk. My client eventually pled to only the misdemeanor public intoxication charge, with the felony criminal mischief being dismissed, and restitution at only $500. On the probation violation, I eventually got the contempt sentence reduced from 15 days to only five – enabling the client to keep his new job.
- I represented a man accused of participating in a conspiracy regarding forged checks. At the preliminary hearing, I argued to the court that the State had insufficient evidence to justify the charge, emphasizing that merely being friends with and hanging around the other accused persons did not constitute participation in a conspiracy. At the conclusion of the hearing, my client was the only one out of the four charged to have his charge dismissed by the judge.
- I recently convinced the prosecutor to dismiss felony assault and child endangerment charges against my client. Because of the significant collateral consequences faced by my client if he were to be found guilty, I declined to seek a plea offer and instead sought discovery and prepared to go to trial on the original charges. A few days before the case was to go before a jury, the state moved to dismiss the charges without costs to the defendant. The judge ultimately agreed to dismiss all charges, and Mr. Stone’s client was released from custody.