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Melton v. State

Court of Appeals of Iowa

September 13, 2017

ANTHONY JOSEPH MELTON, Applicant-Appellant,
v.
STATE OF IOWA, Respondent-Appellee.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Robert J. Blink, Judge.

         Appeal from the denial of an application for postconviction relief filed pursuant to Iowa Code chapter 822 (2016). AFFIRMED.

          Karmen R. Anderson of The Law Office of Karmen Anderson, Des Moines, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Sheryl Soich and William A. Hill, Assistant Attorneys General, for appellee State.

          Considered by Danilson, C.J., McDonald, J., and Scott, S.J. [*]

          MCDONALD, Judge.

         Iowa Code section 903B.2 (2011) provides:

A person convicted of a misdemeanor or a class "D" felony offense under chapter 709, section 726.2, or section 728.12 shall also be sentenced, in addition to any other punishment provided by law, to a special sentence committing the person into the custody of the director of the Iowa department of corrections for a period of ten years, with eligibility for parole as provided in chapter 906.

         At issue in this appeal is the commencement date of the special sentence set forth in section 903B.2 where the defendant was convicted of multiple offenses and sentenced to consecutive sentences but not all of the offenses required imposition of the special sentence.

         In February 2013, Anthony Melton was convicted of assault with intent to commit sex abuse, in violation of Iowa Code sections 708.1(1) and 709.11. The district court sentenced Melton to an indeterminate term of incarceration not to exceed two years and the ten-year special sentence required by section 903B.2. Later on the same day, in a separate proceeding, Melton was convicted of assault causing bodily injury and operating a motor vehicle without the owner's consent, in violation of Iowa Code sections 708.1(1), 708.2(2), and 714.7, respectively. The district court ordered the sentences for these convictions to be served consecutively to each other and consecutively to Melton's sentence for assault with intent to commit sex abuse. In total, Melton was ordered to serve an indeterminate term of incarceration not to exceed five years.

         This case arises out of a postconviction-relief proceeding in which Melton challenged the administration of the special sentence. The postconviction record reflects Melton had discharged his sentence in the above-referenced cases. In his application for postconviction relief, Melton requested the district court enter an order directing the department of corrections to treat the special sentence as if it had commenced upon the discharge of his sentence for assault with intent to commit sex abuse rather than upon the discharge the entire consecutive sentence. The district court denied Melton's application, concluding the consecutive sentences were a single, continuous sentence and the special sentence commenced upon discharge of the single, continuous sentence. Melton timely filed this appeal.

         We begin our analysis with the relevant statutory provision. "When we interpret a statute, our goal is to determine legislative intent. To determine legislative intent, we look at the words the legislature chose when it enacted the statute, not the words it might have chosen." State v. Pettijohn, __ N.W.2d__, __, 2017 WL 2823027, at *7 (Iowa 2017) (internal citation omitted). Iowa Code section 903B.2 sets forth the commencement date for the special sentence:

The special sentence imposed under this section shall commence upon completion of the sentence imposed under any applicable criminal sentencing provisions for the underlying criminal offense and the person shall begin the sentence under supervision as if on parole or work release.

Iowa Code ยง 903B.2. The statute makes clear the special sentence commences upon completion of "the sentence" for "the underlying ...


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