to the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Rebecca Goodgame
Brown challenges the legality of his sentence.
Audlehelm of Audlehelm Law Office, Des Moines, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kevin Cmelik, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Vaitheswaran and Bower, JJ.
DANILSON, Chief Judge.
Brown was convicted of possession of a controlled substance
with intent to deliver (heroin) as an habitual offender and
as a second or subsequent offender. See State v.
Brown, No. 12-0016, 2013 WL 1452965, at *1 (Iowa Ct.
App. Apr. 10, 2013). On direct appeal, we affirmed his
conviction and sentences, rejecting Brown's contention
the court had failed to give adequate reasons for the
imposition of consecutive sentences. Id. at *3-4.
later challenged his sentence, contending it was illegally
enhanced. The district court rejected his claim, and Brown
there is no appeal as a matter of right from the denial of a
motion to correct an illegal sentence, see State v.
Propps, 897 N.W.2d 91, 96 (Iowa 2017), the supreme court
treated Brown's notice of appeal as a petition for writ
of certiorari, see id. at 97, granted the writ, and
transferred the matter to this court.
was convicted of violating Iowa Code section 124.401(1)(c)(1)
(2011), which makes it illegal, in relevant part, to possess
less than one hundred grams of heroin with the intent to
deliver. This is a class "C" felony. See
Iowa Code § 124.401(1)(c). As an habitual offender,
see id. § 902.8, Brown faced an indefinite term
not to exceed fifteen years, see id. §
902.9(1)(c). However, because Brown had a prior felony drug
conviction in Minnesota, the penalty for the current offense
was tripled pursuant to Iowa Code section 124.411(1) and (2),
resulting in a forty-five-year sentence. Brown asserts the
tripling of his fifteen-year sentence is illegal as a matter
(1)Any person convicted of a second or subsequent offense
under this chapter [controlled substances], may be punished
by imprisonment for a period not to exceed three times the
term otherwise authorized, or fined not more than three times
the amount otherwise authorized, or punished by both such
imprisonment and fine.
(2)For purposes of this section, an offense is considered a
second or subsequent offense, if, prior to the person's
having been convicted of the offense, the offender has ever
been convicted under this chapter or under any state or
federal statute relating to narcotic drugs or ...