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State v. White

Court of Appeals of Iowa

October 11, 2017

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
JOSEPH HODGES WHITE, JR., Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Jeanie K. Vaudt, Judge.

         Joseph White Jr. appeals from his resentencing, claiming his consecutive sentence violates the Ex Post Facto Clause because his original sentence was concurrent.

          Joseph P. Vogel of Vogel Law, P.L.L.C., Des Moines, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Thomas E. Bakke, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

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

          CARR, Senior Judge.

         Joseph White Jr. appeals from his resentencing, claiming his consecutive sentence violates the Ex Post Facto Clause because his original sentence was concurrent. Because there was no change in the relevant law, there was no ex post facto violation. We affirm the district court's order on resentencing.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         White was convicted of one count of first-degree robbery and two counts of first-degree murder following a jury trial in 1993.[1] The district court sentenced White to a term of imprisonment not to exceed twenty-five years for the robbery charge and two life terms without possibility of parole for the murder charges, to be served concurrently.

         In 2012, White filed a motion for correction of an illegal sentence, claiming his sentences of life in prison without parole were unconstitutional because he was a juvenile at the time he committed the offenses. See Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460, 479 (2012) (holding a statutory schema mandating life imprisonment without the possibility of parole cannot constitutionally be applied to a juvenile). A resentencing hearing was held, see id. at 489 (requiring an individualized sentencing determination based on specific factors); State v. Sweet, 879 N.W.2d 811, 839 (Iowa 2016) (banning the imposition of life-without-parole sentences for juveniles), and the district court sentenced White to a term of imprisonment of twenty-five years for the robbery charge and two life terms with the possibility of parole for the murder charges, to be served consecutively.

         White appeals from the resentencing, alleging the imposition of consecutive sentences violates the Ex Post Facto Clause of the United States Constitution and its analogous clause in the Iowa Constitution.

         II. Standard of Review

         White's contention that his new sentence violates the Ex Post Facto Clause is a claim the sentence is inherently illegal. State v. Lathrop, 781 N.W.2d 288, 293 (Iowa 2010). We review this constitutional claim de novo. Sweet, 879 N.W.2d at 816.

         III. ...


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