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In re Detention of Williams

Court of Appeals of Iowa

August 7, 2019

IN RE THE DETENTION OF BRADLEY WILLIAMS, BRADLEY WILLIAMS, Respondent-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Joel Dalrymple, Judge.

         Bradley Williams appeals his civil commitment as a sexually violent predator.

          Chad R. Frese of Kaplan & Frese, LLP, Marshalltown, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Tyler J. Buller, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Mullins and May, JJ.

          MULLINS, JUDGE.

         Bradley Williams appeals his civil commitment as a sexually violent predator under Iowa Code chapter 229A (2016). He argues the court erred in concluding he was "a person presently confined" for a sexually violent offense within the meaning of Iowa Code section 229A.4(1) and the evidence was insufficient to support a conclusion he is a "sexually violent predator" as defined in section 229A.2(12).

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         In 2005, Williams, then nineteen years old, committed the crimes of third-degree sexual abuse and impersonating a peace officer. At the time, Williams was having sexual relations with a fifteen-year-old girl he met online and told he was a police officer. Williams was granted a deferred judgment, which was later revoked.[1] Williams was ultimately sentenced to an indeterminate term of incarceration not to exceed ten years for the sexual-abuse charge. The prison sentence was suspended and Williams was placed on probation for three to five years. In 2012, Williams began serving his special sentence under Iowa Code section 903B.1 (2005). The evidence discloses Williams victimized between seven and eighteen other minor females while he was an adult.

         In 2013, Williams, then about twenty-seven years old and having developed an addiction to pornography, committed the crime of extortion. Williams contacted his victim through social media and claimed to be a modeling agent. The victim responded, and the two set up a photo session. After the victim paid Williams, Williams informed her that engagement in sexual intercourse would be part of the deal as well. Williams had intercourse with his victim during the photo shoot and took nude pictures of her. He also recorded their sexual encounter. Later, Williams told his victim he would publish the images and video if she did not give him money and have intercourse with him again. The victim complied with the demand. Williams attempted to extort the victim for money and sex on subsequent occasions. The victim ultimately contacted law enforcement. The evidence shows Williams attempted this scam on several other young women. Williams also lied to a number of other young women to get them to send him nude pictures, some of whom Williams later blackmailed with the photos. On his extortion conviction, Williams was sentenced to an indeterminate term of incarceration not to exceed five years. While in prison, Williams had his girlfriend sneak pornography in for his viewing pleasure. One of these photographs was sadomasochistic in nature and depicted a woman being beaten.

         Williams was slotted to be discharged from prison in May 2016. About a week before his anticipated release date, the State filed a petition for civil commitment under Iowa Code chapter 229A (2016), alleging Williams to be a sexually violent predator. The court found the petition to be supported by probable cause and scheduled the matter for trial. Following a number of continuances of the trial date, Williams filed a motion to dismiss in which he argued his conviction of extortion, for which he was confined, did not amount to a sexually violent offense and commitment was therefore improper. The court denied the motion. Following a trial, the court entered an order committing Williams. This appeal followed.

         II. Standard of Review

         We review the district court's construction and interpretation of Iowa Code chapter 229A for legal error. In re Det. of Tripp, 915 N.W.2d 867, 873 (Iowa 2018); In re Det. of Betsworth, 711 N.W.2d 280, 283 (Iowa 2006). Williams's arguments appear to be a challenges to the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the district court's determinations. Appellate review of such challenges is also for legal error. Betsworth, 711 N.W.2d at 286.

         III. ...


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