December 21, 2016
IN RE DETENTION OF JOHN ARNZEN, Respondent-Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Dubuque County, Bradley J.
respondent appeals from the court's order placing him in
a transitional release program. AFFIRMED.
A. Dunn, Assistant Public Defender, Des Moines, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Louis S. Sloven, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Doyle and Tabor, JJ.
POTTERFIELD, Presiding Judge.
2011, John Arnzen was found to meet the statutory criteria of
a sexually violent predator. Since then, he has been entitled
to an "examination of [his] mental abnormality made once
every year." Iowa Code § 229A.8(2) (2015).
4, 2015, Arnzen had an initial hearing on the matter, in
which he established facts existed to warrant a hearing to
determine whether he continued to suffer from the mental
abnormality. See id. § 229A.8(1), (5)(e)(1).
The court then had sixty days in which to hold a hearing on
the final determination. See id. §
229A.8(5)(e)(2); see also In re Det. of Johnson, 805
N.W.2d 750, 754 (Iowa 2011) (concluding "section
229A.8(5)(e) requires the district court to commence a final
hearing within sixty days of the determination a final
hearing is required").
the court continued the scheduled hearing twice-once due to a
family emergency involving the State's expert witness,
and once stating, "The court is informed that the
hearing scheduled for July 6, 2015 is being continued."
The hearing ultimately took place on July 31, 2015. In its
order following the final determination, the court found
"that good cause exists for said hearing being held
beyond this 60-day time period." Arnzen challenges the
district court's finding of good cause.
State urges us not to consider Arnzen's challenge to the
district court's good-cause determination. It notes that
we have only the court's conclusory statement to review
and urges us to find that Arnzen has not preserved error on
this issue. We disagree. While there is little to review here,
we believe it is sufficient for us to come to the conclusion
the court erred. The court is required to hold the final
hearing within sixty days. See Iowa Code §
229A.8(5)(e)(2) (stating the court "shall" set a
final hearing). And unlike Iowa Rule of Criminal Procedure
2.33(2)(a) and (b) or Iowa Code section 229A.7, there is
nothing in the present section which contemplates that the
court may miss the deadline if good cause is found.
Additionally, the only case law on the sixty-day requirement
of section 229A.8 is found in Johnson, where the
supreme court considered the requirement the hearing commence
within sixty days. 805 N.W.2d at 754. Once the court
determined that the hearing was outside the required period,
the court considered the appropriate remedy. Id. at
757. The court did not suggest the hearing could be delayed
for "good cause." Id.
spite of the district court's finding that there was good
cause for the delay, holding the hearing outside of the
statutorily-mandated window violated the statute. Thus, we
consider Arnzen's requests for relief. Arnzen requests
(1) that we allow him to serve his transitional release in
Dubuque rather than the program ordered by the district
court, and (2) money damages of an unspecified amount.
decline Arnzen's request that we order a new treatment
program. In Johnson, the court determined the
violation of the timeliness requirement did not entitle the
appellant to discharge because it "would run counter to
the chapter's framework and the legislature's
expressed purpose." Id. Arnzen's request to
switch programs is analogous; the district court made the
express finding that Arnzen should attend the Cherokee
program-rather than his requested Dubuque program-because
"features of the traditional transitional release
program which are necessary for respondent's treatment
would not be available at the Dubuque residential
facility." Here, we believe allowing Arnzen to switch
programs would run counter to the expressed purpose of the
statute-treatment and public protection-and we decline to
approve the relief he has requested.
consider Arnzen's request for "some relief from the
incurred costs related to this matter." "[The
appellant] has at his disposal all the remedies of a civil
litigant." Id. Iowa Code section 625.1 provides
for the recovery of costs by the successful party in a civil
action, and we believe it is an appropriate remedy here. That
being said, Arnzen concedes that no costs were assessed to
him in this matter, and he has not listed or explained any
other costs that he incurred as a result.
we find the district court erred by allowing the sixty-day
window to lapse before holding the final determination
hearing, Arnzen has not requested relief that we can provide.
We affirm the district court.
 We note that neither continuance
appears to have been done at the request of or due to Arnzen.
Arnzen objected to the first continuance. It is unclear what
caused the second continuance and whether the parties had a
chance to react before the district court entered an order
changing the hearing date.
 We review the district court's
interpretation of a statute for correction of errors at law.
Johnson, 805 N.W.2d at 703.