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State v. Scott

Court of Appeals of Iowa

August 16, 2017

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
WILLIAM CORY SCOTT, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Jon C. Fister, Judge.

         William Cory Scott appeals from the denial of his motion to correct an illegal sentence. WRIT DENIED.

          Andrea M. Flanagan of Sporer & Flanagan, P.L.L.C., Des Moines, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Tyler J. Buller, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., Tabor, J., and Goodhue, S.J. [*]

          GOODHUE, Senior Judge.

         William Cory Scott appeals from the denial of his motion to correct an illegal sentence. We deny the petitition for writ of certiorari.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         Scott was convicted of first-degree murder on December 13, 1991, under the alternative theories of specific intent and the felony-murder rule based on the felonies of willful injury and terrorism. Scott was mandatorily sentenced to life imprisonment without parole, as provided by Iowa Code sections 707.2 and 902.1 (1991).

         The conviction was the result of Scott, a twenty-one-year-old male at the time, shooting and killing Willie Guyton. Scott and his brother-in-law, Raymond Birden, had a history of confrontation with Guyton. In early April 1991, Scott and Guyton had a fight in a convenience store. Guyton slashed Scott around the shoulders with a knife seriously wounding him. Soon thereafter, Scott purchased a rifle, and he bragged to others his new rifle had the power to penetrate a car and kill a party inside. Scott and Birden ran into Guyton a few days later at a bar. Birden told Guyton he had better get his knife. Scott went home and got the rifle he had purchased. Guyton went home, called 911, and was advised not to go back to the bar, but Guyton ignored the advice.

         Birden and Scott were outside of the bar in an automobile when Guyton arrived. Birden was driving, and Scott was in the backseat of the car. When the vehicles passed, Birden stopped and got out of his car and Guyton slowed down. Scott saw Guyton pulling out a shiny object, possibly a gun. Scott got out of the car and fired four shots in rapid succession at Guyton's vehicle. Two of the shots missed the vehicle completely. One went through the driver's door and lodged in the steering column and the fourth went through the middle of Guyton's vehicle and was deflected at a sharp angle, passed through the back of the driver's seat, and fatally wounded Guyton.

         Scott was charged with first-degree murder. At trial the jury was instructed, as an alternative, that a verdict of guilt could be returned on the first-degree-murder charge if the jury found that Scott was participating in the offense of either willful injury or terrorism at the time of the shooting. Scott was convicted of first-degree murder.

         Scott filed an appeal, and the court of appeals affirmed his conviction on September 2, 1993. Later, Scott filed a postconviction proceeding based on a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, but his application was denied, and the denial was affirmed by the court of appeals. Scott then filed another postconviction application in 2006, asserting his conviction should be reversed because the instructions used at trial were improper under State v. Heemstra, 721 N.W.2d 549, 558 (Iowa 2006). See Scott v. State (Scott I), No. 06-2084, 2007 WL 3085629, at *3 (Iowa Ct. App. Oct. 24, 2007). He also contended that the failure to make Heemstra retroactive violated his constitutional rights. Id. The second postconviction action was dismissed, affirmed on appeal by the court of appeals, and affirmed by a per curiam opinion of the supreme court on further review. Scott v. State (Scott II), No. 06-2084, 2009 WL 1940568, at *1 (Iowa Apr. 17, 2009).

         Scott filed a motion to correct an illegal sentence on April 16, 2015, contending terrorism was not a predicate felony that could be used to support a felony-murder conviction. The motion was summarily dismissed on the date it was filed. Scott filed a motion to reconsider on April 29, 2015, as permitted by Iowa Rule of Civil Procedure 1.904(2). The motion did not refer to facts the court had not addressed or to any theory the court had missed but instead objected to the summary dismissal and the failure to appoint an attorney, and it otherwise rehashed legal ...


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