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Press Release

Police Find Gun During Domestic Disturbance Investigation, Leading to Federal Prison Time for Domestic Abuser

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa
Had Two Prior Domestic Convictions

A convicted domestic abuser who beat and a strangled a woman and unlawfully possessed a gun was sentenced January 8, 2020, to more than a year in federal prison.

Charles Dwayne Carter, age 28, from Dubuque, Iowa, received the prison term after an August 6, 2019 guilty plea to possessing a firearm as a convicted domestic abuser.

In a plea agreement, Carter admitted he possessed a gun in August 2018.  Police discovered the gun while investigating a domestic incident.  Carter had assaulted the victim by striking her in the face and arms causing red marks, swelling, bruising, and pain.  He then grabbed a towel rack and struck her in the face causing a raised, red bump on her left eyebrow.  Carter also strangled her, causing her to “blackout” and hit her with a belt.  When the police arrived, they found Carter hiding in the trunk of the victim’s car. 

During the subsequent investigation, the police found a gun in Carter’s dresser drawer.  Carter was prohibited from possessing guns because he had two prior convictions for domestic abuse. 

Carter was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams.  Carter was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment.  He must also serve a three-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN).  PSN is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

This case is also part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities.  The United States Attorney’s Office has prosecuted this case with support from the following Project Guardian partners: the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, the Dubuque Police Department, and the Dubuque County Sheriff’s Office. For more information about Project Guardian, please see /media/1122011/download?inline.

Carter is being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until he can be transported to a federal prison.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Emily K. Nydle and investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, the Dubuque Police Department, and the Dubuque County Sheriff’s Office. 

Court file information at

The case file number is 19-cr-1007.

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Updated January 9, 2020

Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods