from the Iowa District Court for Monroe County, Annette J.
filed a petition for writ of certiorari, challenging his
special sentence under Iowa Code section 903B.1 (2007).
M. McCoy of McCoy Legal Services, Centerville, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Thomas E. Bakke, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Vaitheswaran and Bower, JJ.
Taft filed a petition for writ of certiorari, challenging his
special sentence under Iowa Code section 903B.1 (2007). Taft
has not shown (1) the special sentence of lifetime parole is
facially cruel and unusual, (2) the sentence is grossly
disproportionate to the offense, or (3) the sentence violates
double jeopardy. We find the district court did not act
illegally and annul the writ of certiorari.
Background Facts & Proceedings
October 13, 2008, Taft pleaded guilty to sexual abuse in the
third degree, in violation of section 704.4(2)(c)(4), a class
"C" felony. The district court sentenced him to a
term of imprisonment not to exceed ten years. The judgment
entry also provided:
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the defendant is committed to the
custody of the director of the Iowa Department of Corrections
for the rest of his life, pursuant to Section 903B.1, Code of
Iowa, with eligibility for parole as provided in Chapter 906.
The special sentence shall commence upon completion of the
sentence imposed for the underlying criminal offense, and the
defendant shall begin the sentence under supervision as if on
did not appeal his conviction.
4, 2016, Taft filed a motion to correct an illegal sentence,
claiming the special sentence under section 903B.1 was
unconstitutional because it constituted cruel and unusual
punishment, the sentence was grossly disproportionate to the
offense, and it amounted to double jeopardy. After a hearing,
the district court denied Taft's motion, finding Taft had
not shown his sentence was illegal. Taft filed a petition for
writ of certiorari, which the Iowa Supreme Court
Standard of Review
review of a constitutional challenge to a sentence is de
novo. State v. Sweet, 879 N.W.2d 811, 816 (Iowa
2016). "In our review, we independently evaluate the
totality of the circumstances as evidenced by the whole
record." State v. Simpson, 587 N.W.2d 770, 771
(Iowa 1998). "The court may ...