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Godfrey v. State

Court of Appeals of Iowa

May 15, 2019

DARIN GODFREY, Applicant-Appellant,
v.
STATE OF IOWA, Respondent-Appellee.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Nancy S. Tabor, Judge.

         Darin Godfrey appeals the summary dismissal of his application for postconviction relief.

          Eric D. Tindal of Keegan Tindal & Mason, Iowa City, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Genevieve Reinkoester, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and Doyle, JJ. Tabor, J., takes no part.

          DOYLE, Judge.

         Darin Godfrey appeals the summary dismissal of his application for postconviction relief (PCR). Godfrey alleges his PCR trial counsel was ineffective for failing to challenge Iowa Code section 692A.126 (2017) on equal protection and procedural due process grounds and for failing to request the trial court take judicial notice of his underlying criminal file. For the reasons stated below, we affirm the district court.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         In July 1993, Godfrey pled guilty to kidnapping in the second degree, robbery in the first degree, and willful injury. An additional charge of sex abuse in the first degree was subsequently dismissed by the State. In August 1993, the district court sentenced Godfrey to consecutive sentences, amounting to a total of sixty years in prison. Godfrey is currently incarcerated, with a tentative discharge date in August 2021.

         In 2017, Godfrey filed a pro se application for PCR, arguing that in his original criminal trial the district court did not determine there was a sexual component to his crimes and, therefore, he cannot be required to register as a sex offender under Iowa Code section 692A.126.[1] Later, Godfrey's PCR trial counsel filed a recast application, asserting that the requirement to register as a sex offender violates Godfrey's right to due process and amounts to an illegal sentence.

         The State moved for summary disposition based on a showing that Godfrey is currently incarcerated, no formal determination was issued by the DPS or DOC regarding his requirement to register as a sex offender, and he failed to pursue and exhaust his administrative remedies prior to filing his petition in district court. In support of its motion, the State filed an affidavit from a Public Service Supervisor for the DPS that stated Godfrey is incarcerated with the DOC and "is not presently registered as a sex offender in Iowa, nor is he required to do so while incarcerated." The affidavit went on to state that if the DPS made a formal determination regarding his registration status, Godfrey may use the administrative process provided in Iowa Code section 692A.116 and then he may challenge the agency's formal decision through a petition for judicial review pursuant to Iowa Code section 17A.19. Godfrey resisted the motion. The district court granted the State's motion, concluding that Godfrey "must wait until there is a formal determination [that Godfrey must register as a sex offender] and the administrative process has been exhausted before he can seek judicial review."

         II. Standard of Review.

         "Generally, we review a grant of a motion to dismiss a PCR petition for correction of errors at law." Allison v. State, 914 N.W.2d 866, 870 (Iowa 2018). However, if the claim is ineffective assistance of PCR counsel, our review is de novo. See Goode v. State, 920 N.W.2d 520, 523 (Iowa 2018). Additionally, if the asserted claims are constitutional in nature, our review is de novo. See Lamasters v. State, 821 N.W.2d 856, 862 (Iowa 2012).

         III. ...


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