review from the Iowa Court of Appeals. Appeal from the Iowa
District Court for Polk County, Jeffrey D. Farrell, Judge.
challenges imposition of minimum term of incarceration
without eligibility for parole following a resentencing
hearing. DECISION OF COURT OF APPEALS VACATED; DISTRICT COURT
JUDGMENT REVERSED AND REMANDED.
M. White of Jane White Law Office, Des Moines, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, Timothy M. Hau, Assistant
Attorney General, John Sarcone, County Attorney, and James
Ward, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee.
case, we must decide if the hearing conducted by the district
court to determine if a juvenile offender should be sentenced
to a minimum term of incarceration without eligibility for
parole complied with constitutional safeguards. We conclude
it did not. We vacate the decision of the court of appeals,
reverse the sentence of the district court, and remand for
Background Facts and Proceedings.
White was convicted and sentenced for three separate crimes
of robbery in the second degree. The crimes were committed
over a period of seven months, while White was seventeen
years old. The first crime occurred on August 1, 2009. White
shoplifted a bottle of liquor from a grocery store and
assaulted a store employee who attempted to detain him. The
second crime occurred on September 12, 2009. White shoplifted
merchandise from a clothing store and assaulted a store
employee who attempted to detain him. The third crime
occurred five months later on February 20, 2010. White
assaulted another person and attempted to take money from
him. On each occasion, White was aided in his crimes by other
was sentenced for his crimes on July 27, 2010. The court
imposed a ten-year term of incarceration for each offense and
imposed a statutory seven-year mandatory minimum period of
incarceration without parole pursuant to Iowa Code section
902.12(5) (2009). The court ordered the three sentences to be
years later, the statutory period of incarceration before
eligibility for parole for juveniles was found to be
unconstitutional without an individualized assessment by the
district court. See State v. Lyle, 854 N.W.2d 378,
400-04 (Iowa 2014). On April 30, 2015, White appeared for
resentencing to allow the district court to consider if he
should serve the seven-year period of incarceration before
becoming eligible for parole. White testified at the hearing,
as did his mother. The State introduced a summary of
White's record of disciplinary actions while in prison.
district court concluded White should serve the seven-year
period of incarceration before eligibility for parole. It
primarily relied on two factors. First, it found that
White's repeated arrests for criminal behavior as a
juvenile revealed he had gained an understanding of the risks
and consequences of his actions. It reasoned this greater
understanding made him more mature and less impetuous.
Second, it found White's prison record showed he had not
grown more amenable to rehabilitation while in prison.
appealed and raised two claims of error. First, White claimed
the district court failed to properly consider all relevant
sentencing factors, including his family and home
environment. He also claimed the district court improperly
considered the circumstances of his three arrests as an
aggravating factor, instead of as a mitigating factor. He
further argued the district court misused his prison record
in considering his capacity for rehabilitation.
White claimed the district court had no authority to impose a
minimum period of incarceration without parole under Iowa
Code section 902.12 (2015). He claims the statute is
unconstitutional as applied to juveniles.
transferred the case to the court of appeals. It rejected
both claims of error. It concluded the district court
properly considered the relevant sentencing factors. It also
concluded the resentencing hearing cured the constitutional
infirmity of the mandatory minimum sentencing under section
902.12. White sought, and we granted, further review.
Standard of Review.
standard of review from a decision by the district court to
impose a period of incarceration without parole on a juvenile
is for an abuse of discretion. State v. Roby, 897
N.W.2d 127, 137-38 (Iowa 2017).
Application of ...