from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Robert J.
from the denial of an application for postconviction relief
filed pursuant to Iowa Code chapter 822 (2016). AFFIRMED.
R. Anderson of The Law Office of Karmen Anderson, Des Moines,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 § 903B.2. The statute makes clear the special
sentence commences upon completion of "the
sentence" for "the underlying ...