from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Lawrence P.
convicted of sex offense appeals district court ruling
requiring him to register as a sex offender while he appealed
his conviction after posting an appeal bond.
Brandon Brown and Gina Messamer of Parrish Kruidenier Dunn
Boles Gribble Gentry Brown & Bergmann L.L.P., Des Moines,
J. Miller, Attorney General, and John R. Lundquist, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
appeal raises a question of first impression: whether a
defendant convicted of a sex offense must register as a sex
offender under Iowa Code chapter 692A (2015) during his
direct appeal of the conviction. The defendant argues he had
no obligation to register after posting an appeal bond to
stay execution of the underlying criminal judgment and before
he began serving any prison sentence or was placed on
probation. The Iowa Department of Public Safety (DPS),
however, construed the statute to require his registration
upon his conviction for the sex offense, notwithstanding his
appeal. He challenged the DPS's legal conclusion in a
petition for judicial review under Iowa Code chapter 17A. The
district court ruled he was required to register as of the
date he was sentenced to prison for the sex offense and was
released on the appeal bond. His conviction for the
underlying sex offense was later affirmed on direct appeal.
Meanwhile, he now faces new criminal charges for violating
chapter 692A's sex offender residency restrictions before
his conviction was affirmed. The parties urge us to decide
the registration issue through this chapter 17A appeal under
the public-interest exception to the mootness doctrine. We
retained this appeal to do so.
review, we hold the defendant was required to register as a
sex offender under section 692A.103(1) upon his conviction of
the sex offense and release on bond, notwithstanding his
appeal. The stay of execution on his criminal judgment during
his appeal did not delay the automatic administrative
registration requirement for convicted sex offenders, and his
release on the appeal bond constituted a "release from
incarceration" within the meaning of section
692A.103(1). Accordingly, we affirm the decision of the
Background Facts and Proceedings.
11, 2015, Brian James Maxwell was convicted in a nonjury
trial of lascivious conduct with a minor, in violation of
Iowa Code section 709.14. The court of appeals decision
affirming his conviction gave this summary of the evidence:
Maxwell was hired March 1, 2014, to serve as a youth
coordinator for two churches in the Winterset area. During
his introduction to the youth group, Maxwell met the
complaining witness, then age sixteen, and he and his wife
decided to mentor her after she approached them with some of
her personal struggles. . . .
The complaining witness testified Maxwell assaulted her on
March 17 in the downstairs youth room at one of the churches
by undoing her bra and having her lift up her shirt. She
asserted Maxwell then touched, kissed, and licked her
breasts, and rubbed her between her legs over her clothing .
. . .
A week after the incident, the complaining witness broke down
at home and disclosed the events of March 17 to her father
and other members of her family. The police were called, and
the complaining witness underwent a forensic interview with
Mikki Hamdorf at the Blank Children's Hospital Regional
Child Protection Center. After the interview and the
investigation were completed, charges were filed against
Maxwell that proceeded to trial to the court on April 21,
2015. After hearing testimony from the victim and her family,
the investigating officer, the pastor and other staff and
members of the church, another member of the youth group, and
Maxwell's wife and his two sons, the court issued its
verdict finding Maxwell guilty as charged. The court stated
in its ruling that it found "the State's witnesses
to be credible and the Defendant's witnesses to not be
State v. Maxwell, No. 15-1392, 2016 WL 6652361, at
*1 (Iowa Ct. App. Nov. 9, 2016).
was never incarcerated while his criminal case was pending.
On August 18, 2015, the district court imposed a one-year
sentence, to begin immediately, and ordered that "after
Defendant has served one hundred twenty (120) days of the
sentence, the remainder is suspended and Defendant is placed
on probation for a period of two (2) years." Maxwell was
also sentenced to a ten-year special sentence pursuant to
Iowa Code section 903B.2. The same day, however, Maxwell
filed a notice of appeal and posted an appeal bond. He
remained free on bond.
days later, the Fifth Judicial District Department of
Correctional Services (DCS) informed Maxwell that he would
not be required to report for probation or register with the
sex offender registry. However, a month later, the DPS
informed Maxwell by letter that he was required to report to
the Madison County sheriff to register as a sex offender. The
letter explained that "unless the attendant conviction
has been 'reversed or otherwise set aside' as per IA
§692A.101(7), the conviction qualifies for registration
under Iowa Code Chapter 692A." Maxwell reported to the
Madison County sheriff's office to complete the
registration process on October 12. Maxwell is currently
registered as a sex offender.
registering, Maxwell commenced an administrative appeal
through an "Application for Determination" to the
DPS. Maxwell also filed a "Petition for Judicial Review
and Application for Injunctive Relief, " to enjoin the
DPS from placing him on the sex offender registry during his
issued a "Decision of Determination" on December
30, concluding that Maxwell was required to register despite
his pending appeal because the conviction had not been
"overturned or otherwise set aside." DPS identified