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State v. McCurdy

Court of Appeals of Iowa

February 5, 2014

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
GUNNER WAYNE MCCURDY, Defendant-Appellant

Editorial Note:

This decision has been referenced in a "Decisions Without Published Opinions" table in the North Western Reporter.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Cherokee County, Carl J. Petersen, Judge. Gunner McCurdy appeals the special sentence imposed pursuant to Iowa Code section 903B.1 (2011) subjecting him to lifetime supervision.

Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Melinda J. Nye, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Bridget A. Chambers, Assistant Attorney General, and Ryan Kolpin, County Attorney, for appellee.

Heard by Vogel, P.J., and Tabor and McDonald, JJ.

OPINION

VOGEL, P.J.

Gunner McCurdy appeals the special sentence imposed pursuant to Iowa Code section 903B.1 (2011) subjecting him to lifetime supervision as if on parole, claiming it violates the United States and Iowa Constitutions' prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. Because we conclude the special sentence does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment under either the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution or article I, section 17 of the Iowa Constitution, we affirm McCurdy's sentence.

I. Factual and Procedural Background

On June 1, 2011, McCurdy met K.M. at a teen dance. They became boyfriend and girlfriend. A few days later, they engaged in sexual intercourse, to which K.M. verbally consented. At the time, K.M. was fifteen and McCurdy was twenty years old.

The relationship lasted approximately three days. The next week, McCurdy reported to the police he had seen K.M. shoplifting. The police interviewed K.M. She denied the shoplifting but told officers she engaged in consensual sexual intercourse with McCurdy and that she did not think it was illegal to have done so. Her written statement of the events of that night concluded: " We were happy. And we both consented."

The State charged McCurdy by trial information with one count of third degree sexual abuse in violation of Iowa Code sections 709.1 and 709.4(2)(c)(4), which, as relevant to this appeal, carries a penalty under section 903B.1. On February 18, 2013, McCurdy pled guilty to the charge, and the district court sentenced McCurdy to an indeterminate term up to ten years, suspended, and placed McCurdy on probation for five years. As required by section 903B.1, the court imposed a special sentence placing McCurdy under the supervision of the department of corrections as if he were on parole for the rest of his life. McCurdy appeals the special sentence, asserting that, as applied to the specific facts of his case, the sentence constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of article I, section 17 of the Iowa Constitution and the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

II. Standard of Review

We review constitutional challenges to an allegedly illegal sentence de novo. State v. Ragland, 836 N.W.2d 107, 113 (Iowa 2013). " Statutes are cloaked with a presumption of constitutionality. The challenger bears a heavy burden, because it must prove the unconstitutionality beyond a ...


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