from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Jeanie K.
applicant appeals the district court's denial of his
application for postconviction relief.
Alexander D. Smith of Parrish Kruidenier Dunn Boles Gribble
Gentry Brown & Bergmann L.L.P., Des Moines, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Timothy M. Hau, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Doyle and McDonald, JJ.
Jackson entered guilty pleas to two counts of second-degree
robbery and one count of willful injury causing bodily
injury. Jackson was sentenced to ten years incarceration on
each of the robbery counts and five years in prison on the
willful-injury count, to be served consecutively for a total
term of twenty-five years. In addition, each robbery
conviction carried with it a seventy-percent mandatory
minimum. He appealed his conviction challenging the factual
basis to support his guilty pleas, and this court affirmed.
See State v. Jackson, No. 13-1469, 2014 WL 3511884,
at *5 (Iowa Ct. App. July 16, 2014).
March 2015, Jackson filed an application for postconviction
relief, challenging his sentence as unconstitutional. The
State filed a motion for summary judgment. The district court
granted the State's motion in part, dismissing
Jackson's claim that asserted the holding in State v.
Lyle, 854 N.W.2d 378, 402 (Iowa 2014), should be
extended to include individuals who are eighteen years old
when the crime occurred. Jackson's second claim against
his sentence-that it is cruel and unusual punishment because
it is grossly disproportionate to his crimes-was reserved for
trial. See State v. Bruegger, 773 N.W.2d 862, 884
(Iowa 2009) (recognizing an "as-applied" challenge
to a criminal sentence under the Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Clause); see also State v. Oliver, 812 N.W.2d 636,
639-40 (Iowa 2012) (noting the terminology has changed so
that an "as-applied challenge" is now referred to
as a "gross proportionality challenge"). After an
evidentiary hearing on November 24, 2015, the district court
rejected Jackson's gross proportionality challenge.
appeal, Jackson first urges us to extend the supreme court
holding in Lyle-that minimum terms of incarceration
can be imposed on juvenile offenders only after an
individualized sentencing hearing-to those, like himself, who
were eighteen years old at the time of their offense. The
supreme court made it clear in Lyle that "our
holding today has no application to sentencing laws affecting
adult offenders." 854 N.W.2d at 403. Jackson was an
adult when he committed the crimes in question. "We are
not at liberty to overturn Iowa Supreme Court
precedent." State v. Hastings, 466 N.W.2d 697,
700 (Iowa Ct. App. 1990).
Jackson challenges the district court's determination
that his sentence does not meet the threshold test of the
gross proportionality analysis. See Oliver, 812
N.W.2d at 647 (outlining the three-step analysis for a gross
proportionality challenge including the threshold test).
Jackson asserts his lack of a criminal history and his role
as only an aider and abettor in the crimes leads to an
inference that his twenty-five-year sentence, with a
fourteen-year mandatory minimum, is grossly disproportionate
to his crime.
guilty plea hearing, Jackson admitted:
[H]e set up a drug deal with Pugh [(the shooting victim)] and
that he and a man named Marcus had both "pulled a
weapon" on Pugh. Jackson stated his weapon was not
loaded and Marcus was the person who shot Pugh. Jackson
admitted he pulled his weapon on Pugh with the intent of
"getting the drugs." Jackson further admitted in an
attempt to escape from the scene, Marcus pointed a weapon at
Crowell [(the owner of the vehicle used to escape)] "to
give him his keys" to Crowell's vehicle. Jackson
admitted he also used his weapon to scare Crowell into giving
them the keys. Jackson stated he and Marcus got into
Crowell's vehicle and Marcus drove them away.
Jackson, 2014 WL 3511884, at *2. In addressing
Jackson's gross proportionality challenge, the district
Mr. Jackson points to his young age, lack of maturity, that
he was still finishing high school at the time he committed
the crimes, and that he was learning-disabled (Mr. Jackson
was diagnosed with ADHD at some point) as the unique ...