from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, Julie
McClennon appeals the summary disposition of his application
for postconviction relief.
Priscilla E. Forsyth, Sioux City, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Martha E. Trout, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and
Mullins, JJ. Schumacher, J., takes no part.
to a plea agreement, George McClennon pled guilty to domestic
abuse assault, third or subsequent offense. The plea
would be sentenced to a term of imprisonment not to exceed
five years, with a mandatory minimum of one year.
See Iowa Code §§ 708.2A(4), (7)(b),
902.9(1)(e), .13. The court sentenced McClennon in accordance
with the terms of the plea agreement.
more than six months later, McClennon filed an application
for postconviction relief, in which he claimed, among other
things, his sentence was illegal and he received ineffective
assistance of counsel in relation to his plea and sentencing.
His claims were based upon his receipt of a time computation
from the department of corrections that he believed indicated
he would be required to serve eighty-five
percent of his five-year prison sentence, which
neither the court nor counsel advised him of at sentencing.
State moved for summary disposition, arguing McClennon was
confusing a mandatory minimum sentence with earned-time
credits under Iowa Code section 903A.2 and the rules of
criminal procedure do not require a defendant be advised of
calculation of earned-time credits. See Iowa R.
Crim. P. 2.8(2)(b)(2). McClennon resisted. Following a
hearing, the court granted the State's motion, and this
appeal, McClennon generally argues his sentence was illegal
or he received ineffective assistance because he was never
"advise[d] . . . that he would have to serve 85% of his
sentence." Iowa Code section 902.13 was enacted in 2017.
2017 Iowa Acts ch. 83, § 5. It provides individuals
convicted of third-or-subsequent domestic abuse assault
"shall be denied parole or work release until the person
has served between one-fifth of the maximum term and the
maximum term of the person's sentence." Iowa Code
§ 902.13(1). The sentencing court is the decision-maker
as to what the mandatory minimum term of confinement will be.
Id. § 902.13(2).
903A.2(1) provides for a reduction in a total sentence for
good conduct. The director of the department of corrections
and the parole board, not courts, are responsible for
evaluating earned time and parole or work-release
eligibility. Id. §§ 903A.4, 906.3.
Obviously, those institutions are still bound by the
mandatory minimum imposed by the court.
cites State v. Iowa District Court for Black Hawk
County in support of his argument that the relationship
between sections 902.13 and 903A.2 should be treated the same
as the relationship between sections 902.12 and 903.2.
See 616 N.W.2d 575, 579 (Iowa 2000). We disagree
that the provisions should be afforded the relationship
discussed in that case and requested by McClennon. When that
case was decided, the statutory language of the
mandatory-minimum provision expressly qualified the term
imposed by the court with section 903A.2. See Iowa
Code § 902.12 (1999) ("Except as otherwise provided
in section 903A.2 . . . ."). The language the supreme
court relied upon in concluding that sections 902.12 and
903A.2 "together impose a mandatory minimum
sentence," which must be determined by the court,
Iowa Dist. Ct., 616 N.W.2d at 579, was removed by
the legislature in 2003. 2003 Iowa Acts ch. 156, § 11.
Neither was the qualifying language included in the enactment
of section 902.13 in 2017.
former section 902.12 a defendant convicted of certain crimes
was required to serve one-hundred percent of the maximum term
of imprisonment. Iowa Code § 902.12 (2003). The
statutory language subordinated the one-hundred percent term
to section 903A.2 earned-time credits, which fell under the
purview of the department of corrections. Id.
§§ 902.12, 903A.4. The supreme court signaled its
position that mandatory minimums are necessarily judicial
determinations, and courts, not agencies, should determine
whether a good-conduct credit should be applied against an
imposed mandatory minimum term of imprisonment. See Iowa
Dist. Ct., 616 N.W.2d at 579. The legislature ...