from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Tom Reidel,
appeals the district court's denial of his
Hurd of Greenberg & Hurd, LLP, Des Moines, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kevin Cmelik, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Considered by Bower, C.J., and May and Greer, JJ.
2013, Stephen Marks was convicted of second-degree robbery.
See Iowa Code §§ 711.3, 902.12(5) (2013).
At the time, Iowa Code section 902.12 provided that a person
convicted of second-degree robbery "shall be denied
parole or work release unless the person has served at least
seven-tenths of the maximum term of the person's
sentence." Marks was sentenced to fifteen years in
prison with a seventy percent mandatory
2016, the legislature amended Iowa Code section 902.12(3) to
A person serving a sentence for a conviction for robbery in
the second degree in violation of section 711.3 for a
conviction that occurs on or after July 1, 2016,
shall be denied parole or work release until the person has
served between one-half and seven-tenths of the maximum term
of the person's sentence . . . .
September, Marks filed this postconviction-relief (PCR)
action. He contends the 2016 amendment must be applied
retroactively to his 2013 conviction. The district court
disagreed and dismissed Marks's application. Marks now
argues failure to apply the amendment retroactively violates
his due process rights, violates his equal protection rights,
and constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. We review these
constitutional claims de novo. Clayton v. Iowa Dist.
Ct., 907 N.W.2d 824, 826 (Iowa Ct. App. 2017).
our de novo review, we conclude the district court properly
denied relief. "We afford broad deference to the
legislature in setting the penalties for criminal conduct and
in determining when the penalties are to go into
effect." Id. at 828. Marks has not cited, and
we have not found, any case suggesting we must disregard the
legislature's plain words, which expressly limit the
effect of the 2016 amendment to "a conviction that
occurs on or after July 1, 2016." Indeed, it appears
there is "no constitutional authority for the
proposition that the perpetrator of a crime can claim the
benefit of a later enacted statute which lessens the
culpability level of that crime after it was committed."
U.S. v. Haines, 855 F.2d 199, 200 (5th Cir. 1988);
see, e.g., Dixon v. Iowa Dist. Ct., No.
17-0369, 2018 WL 1182529, at *3 (Iowa Ct. App. Mar. 7, 2018)
(holding "the prohibition against cruel and unusual
punishments set forth in the federal and state constitutions
does not require retrospective application of the
ameliorative sentencing provision set forth in [Iowa] Code
section 902.12(3) to those convictions occurring before July
1, 2016"); Clayton, 907 N.W.2d at 828 (finding
a plaintiff convicted in 2010 was not "similarly
situated to those persons not-yet convicted of robbery in the
first or second degree as of July 1, 2016" and
concluding there was no equal protection violation).
affirm the denial of Marks's PCR application without
further opinion. ...