from the Iowa District Court for Cerro Gordo County, Colleen
D. Weiland, Judge.
appeals from the denial of his application for postconviction
J. Thomas, Mason City, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Darrel Mullins, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Considered by Mullins, P.J., and Bower and McDonald, JJ.
Rivera, while driving under the influence of alcohol, caused
a traffic accident that killed a motorcyclist and seriously
injured the motorcyclist's passenger. Rivera fled the
scene in his vehicle and led officers on a short chase before
he was apprehended. Rivera pleaded guilty to unintentionally
causing the death of another by operating a motor vehicle
while intoxicated, in violation of Iowa Code section
707.6A(1) (2013), and failure to stop in the event of an
accident resulting in death, in violation of Iowa Code
section 321.261(4). The district court sentenced Rivera to an
indeterminate term of incarceration not to exceed twenty-five
years for the first offense and five years for the second
offense, said sentences to be served concurrently. The
district court was required to and did impose a mandatory
minimum sentence pursuant to Iowa Code section
902.12(6). The district court ordered Rivera to pay
$150, 000 in restitution pursuant to section 910.3B(1).
case arises out of Rivera's application for
postconviction relief. In his application, Rivera claimed
imposition of the mandatory minimum sentence violates his
right to equal protection under the federal and state
constitutions and the prohibition against cruel and unusual
punishment under the federal and state constitutions. He also
claimed the restitution order violates the prohibition
against cruel and unusual punishment in the state and federal
constitutions. The district court dismissed the application
for postconviction relief, and Rivera filed this appeal.
"[W]e review an allegedly unconstitutional sentence de
novo." State v. Lyle, 854 N.W.2d 378,
382 (Iowa 2014) (citing State v. Ragland, 836 N.W.2d
107, 113 (Iowa 2013)).
determine whether a statute violates equal protection, we
first determine whether the statute makes a distinction
between similarly situated individuals." State v.
Mitchell, 757 N.W.2d 431, 436 (Iowa 2008) (citing
Wright v. Iowa Dep't of Corr., 747
N.W.2d 213, 216 (Iowa 2008)). If there is a distinction
between similarly situated individuals, then the statute is
subject to rational basis review "because th[e] case
does not involve a fundamental right or suspect
classification." State v. Mann, 602 N.W.2d 785,
792 (Iowa 1999). The statute will be upheld so long as it
makes a reasonable classification and it "operates
equally upon all within the class." Id.
(quoting State v. Ceaser, 585 N.W.2d 192, 196 (Iowa
1998), overruled on other grounds by State v.
Bruegger, 773 N.W.2d 862 (Iowa 2009)). As a general
rule, "[w]e apply the same analysis in considering [a]
state equal protection claim as we do in considering [a]
federal equal protection claim." Mann, 602
N.W.2d at 792 (second and third alterations in original)
(quoting Ceaser, 585 N.W.2d at 196).
challenges Iowa Code section 902.12(6). The statute provides:
A person serving a sentence for conviction of the following
felonies . . . shall be denied parole or work release unless
the person has served at least seven-tenths of the maximum
term of the person's sentence:
1. Murder in the second degree in violation of section 707.3.
2. Attempted murder in violation of section 707.11.
3. Sexual abuse in the second degree in violation of ...