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In Re the Detention of Cory Blake West

March 13, 2013

IN RE THE DETENTION OF CORY BLAKE WEST, RESPONDENT, CORY BLAKE WEST, RESPONDENT-APPELLANT


Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Wapello County, Annette J. Scieszinski, Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Doyle, J.

Cory West appeals following a jury's verdict finding him to be a sexually violent predator. AFFIRMED.

Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Potterfield and Doyle, JJ.

Cory West appeals following a jury's verdict finding him to be a sexually violent predator, asserting the district court erred when it denied his motion to dismiss. Additionally, he asserts numerous claims pro se. We affirm.

I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

Cory West has multiple convictions for sexual abuse. His most recent conviction occurred in 2008 following his guilty plea to assault with intent to commit sexual abuse, in violation of Iowa Code sections 708.1, 709.11, and 901A.2(2) (2005). West was sentenced to four years of incarceration, and in addition thereto, a special sentence was imposed pursuant to Iowa Code section 903B.2, committing West: to the custody of the Director of Iowa Adult Corrections for a period of time not to exceed ten years, with eligibility for parole as provided in chapter 906. The special sentence imposed under this section shall commence upon the completion of the [four] year sentence above, and the defendant shall begin the sentence under supervision as if on parole.

Shortly before West was due to be released from confinement at the Mt. Pleasant Correctional Facility, the State filed a petition alleging West was a sexually violent predator (SVP) within the meaning of Iowa Code chapter 229A (2009). Following a probable cause hearing, the court ordered West to be held pending trial.

During the pretrial proceedings, West filed a pro-se motion to dismiss. He asserted the special sentence under section 903B.2 required the State to release him to the community to serve out that sentence prior to the commencement of civil commitment proceedings. He further argued that the State should be barred from proceeding with the SVP case because the parole board determination that he was eligible for parole created collateral and equitable estoppel. The district court denied the motion, finding "that none of that unsettled legal conundrum undermine[d] the court's jurisdiction and propriety of this chapter 229A proceeding going forward."

The trial proceeded forward. Exhibits were entered, and testimony was given, including the opinion of the State's expert, who opined West suffered from psychological disorders and was likely to commit future sex offenses. Conversely, West's expert opined West did not suffer from a mental abnormality and was not likely to commit future sex offenses. The jury returned a verdict on September 1, 2011, finding that West was a sexually violent predator.

West now appeals, arguing the district court erred in denying his motion to dismiss for reasons asserted therein. He also raises numerous claims pro se. This court reviews the district court's construction of a statute for correction of errors at law. State v. Anderson, 782 N.W.2d 155, 157 (Iowa 2010).

II. Statutory Construction.

Iowa Code chapter 229A allows for the commitment of SVPs in order "to protect the public, to respect the needs of the victims of sexually violent offenses, and to encourage full, meaningful participation of sexually violent predators in treatment programs." Iowa Code § 229A.1. Under chapter 229A, a "sexually violent predator" is defined as "a person who has been convicted of or charged with a sexually violent offense and who suffers from a mental abnormality which makes the person likely to engage in predatory acts constituting sexually violent offenses, if not confined in a secure facility." Id. § 229A.2(11).

"The process to civilly confine a suspected SVP begins when the agency with jurisdiction over that individual gives written notice to the attorney general and a multidisciplinary team that a person currently confined may meet the definition of an SVP." In re Det. of Mead, 790 N.W.2d 104, 107-08 (Iowa 2010). The written notice must be provided prior to [t]he anticipated discharge of a person who has been convicted of a sexually violent offense from total confinement, except that in the case of a person who is returned to prison for no more than ninety ...


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