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Crouch v. State

Court of Appeal of Iowa

August 7, 2013

JIMMY CROUCH, Petitioner-Appellant,
v.
STATE OF IOWA, Respondent-Appellee.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Mary Pat Gunderson, Judge.

Jimmy Crouch appeals the district court's denial of his application for postconviction relief.

Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Shellie L. Knipfer, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and William A. Hill, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

Considered by Doyle, P.J., and Danilson and Mullins, JJ.

MULLINS, J.

Jimmy Crouch appeals the district court's denial of his application for postconviction relief. Crouch contends the district court erred in concluding the application of Iowa Code section 905.11 (2011), which was enacted after Crouch's conviction and sentencing, does not impose a harsher penalty for his offense in violation of the Federal and state Ex Post Facto Clauses. For the reasons stated below, we affirm the decision of the district court.

I. BACKGROUND FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS.

Jimmy Crouch was charged by trial information with first-degree kidnapping and attempted murder for acts taking place on or about July 21, 1996. Crouch pleaded guilty to the lesser included offense of second-degree kidnapping and attempted murder and was sentenced to two concurrent twenty-five-year terms. The kidnapping offense was subject to Iowa Code section 902.12, which at the time required that Crouch serve one hundred percent of the maximum term of the twenty-five-year sentence. See Iowa Code § 902.12 (1997).[1]

During Crouch's incarceration, the legislature enacted Iowa Code section 905.11. See 2003 Iowa Acts ch. 156, § 15. This provision requires that any person serving a sentence under section 902.12 with a maximum term greater than ten years must reside in a correctional residential facility for a minimum of one year in the event he or she is released on parole or work release. Iowa Code § 905.11 (2011); see also id. § 906.4(2)(a) ("A person on parole or work release who is serving a sentence under section 902.12 shall begin parole or work release in a residential facility operated by a judicial district department of correctional services."). The same legislation amended section 902.12 to reduce the mandatory minimum sentence requirement from one hundred percent to seventy percent of the maximum term and to provide for the possibility of parole or work release after that time. 2003 Iowa Acts ch. 156, §§ 11, 12.

Crouch filed an application for postconviction relief on June 21, 2011, claiming the residential facility placement requirement of section 905.11 violates the federal and state constitutional prohibitions against the application of laws ex post facto. The district court denied the application on the ground that the operation of section 905.11 did not increase the severity of Crouch's sentence but merely altered the method of his release from incarceration. Crouch now appeals from that ruling.

II. SCOPE AND STANDARD OF REVIEW.

Generally, our review of postconviction relief proceedings is for correction of errors at law. DeVoss v. State, 648 N.W.2d 56, 60 (Iowa 2002). However, where an applicant for postconviction relief raises constitutional claims, we review those claims "in light of the totality of the circumstances and the record upon which the postconviction court's ruling was made." Dykstra v. Iowa Dist. Ct., 783 ...


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