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Jefferson v. Iowa District Court For Scott County

Court of Appeals of Iowa

December 6, 2017

MICHAEL JEFFERSON, Plaintiff,
v.
IOWA DISTRICT COURT FOR SCOTT COUNTY, Defendant.

         Certiorari to the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Marlita A. Greve, Judge.

         Plaintiff filed a petition for writ of certiorari, claiming he received an illegal sentence.

          Les M. Blair III of Blair & Fitzsimmons, P.C., Dubuque, for plaintiff.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Sharon K. Hall, Assistant Attorney General, for defendant.

          Considered by Vogel, P.J., Potterfield, J., and Goodhue, S.J. [*]

          GOODHUE, SENIOR JUDGE.

         Michael Jefferson appealed from the denial of his motion to correct an illegal sentence. By order of the supreme court filed September 1, 2015, all files in this matter are to be considered as a petition for a writ of certiorari. The request for the writ is denied.

         I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND.

         Michael Jefferson pled guilty to a charge of sexual abuse in the third degree. The charge was based on a sexual assault of a fourteen-year-old female when he was twenty-one years old. There was some procedural confusion prior to sentencing that is not relevant to this proceeding, but eventually, on November 13, 2008, Jefferson was sentenced to ten years in prison and the special lifetime probation as required by Iowa Code section 903B.1 (2007) was imposed.

         Jefferson filed an appeal claiming his plea was not voluntarily entered and his conviction was affirmed on appeal. See State v. Jefferson, No. 07-1730, 2008 WL 4531454, at *2-3 (Iowa Ct. App. Oct. 1, 2008). He later filed a postconviction-relief application, but again, his requested relief was denied. See Jefferson v. State, No. 11-1039, 2012 WL 1860782, at *2 (Iowa Ct. App. May 23, 2012). Jefferson was discharged from prison in late 2011 and began his special lifetime probation. Jefferson violated his parole twice and, on the second violation, was sentenced to prison for a period of five years.

         Jefferson filed two motions requesting correction of an illegal sentence and an amendment to his second motion. In them, he claimed the lifetime probation was the result of an illegal bill of detainer, in violation of the equal protection, separation of powers, and ex post facto prohibitions; was void for vagueness; was in violation of the First, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution; and was in violation of the Constitution of the State of Iowa. On appeal, his claim was reduced to a challenge to the lifetime probation as being in violation of the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment contained in both the Iowa and United States Constitutions.

         Jefferson filed a request for appointment of counsel at the trial court level, but his request was denied. His claim that the lifetime sentence was constitutionally prohibited was summarily dismissed. The only reason given for the dismissal was that the sentence was statutorily required. Jefferson filed a petition for writ of certiorari, claiming the lifetime probation is unconstitutional and the court further erred in failing to explain the denial of his request in more specific terms. He also asserts that the trial court erred in failing to appoint counsel for him at the trial court level.

         II. Error Preservation

         The State does not contest error preservation either as to the right to counsel or the illegality of sentence. Also, the State concedes the matter is ripe for review. The State correctly contends error has not been preserved to the extent Jefferson claims the district court ruling was too general and lacked specificity as to the reasons for the denial. Jefferson did not file a request for an expanded ruling as permitted by Iowa Rule of Civil Procedure 1.904(2). An issue ...


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