from the Iowa District Court for Wapello County, Lucy J.
appeals his conviction for first-degree robbery.
Alfredo Parrish and Gina Messamer of Parrish Kruidenier Dunn
Boles Gribble Gentry Brown & Bergmann, L.L.P., Des
Moines, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Timothy M. Hau, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Doyle, P.J., and Tabor and Schumacher, JJ.
Tsegay appeals his conviction for first-degree robbery. He
claims his sentence of twenty-five years in prison should be
considered cruel and unusual punishment because he was
eighteen years old at the time of the offense. He also raises
an equal protection challenge. We affirm Tsegay's
conviction and sentence.
Background Facts & Proceedings
pled guilty to robbery in the first degree, a violation of
Iowa Code section 711.2 (2016) and a class "B"
felony. At the plea proceedings, Tsegay stated he and Calvin
Luckett took marijuana and a cell phone from Christian
Madueno while Luckett was armed with a handgun. Tsegay knew
of the plan to rob Madueno and knew Luckett had a handgun.
Tsegay pled guilty on a theory he aided and abetted the
robbery. As part of the plea agreement, the State agreed to
dismiss all other charges pending against Tsegay, including
the other count contained in the trial information, murder in
the first degree.
to sentencing, Tsegay submitted a brief claiming the
imposition of a mandatory minimum sentence in his case would
be cruel and unusual punishment under the Iowa Constitution
because he was eighteen years old at the time of the offense.
The presentence investigation report noted Tsegay came to the
United States with his parents as a refugee from Eritrea,
Africa. Tsegay's attorney stated Tsegay had trouble
acclimating to the United States and learning the language,
causing him to fall into bad company.
district court sentenced Tsegay to a term of imprisonment not
to exceed twenty-five years, with a seventy percent mandatory
minimum sentence. Tsegay now appeals his conviction and
Standard of Review
defendant raises a constitutional challenge to a sentence,
our review is de novo. State v. Ragland, 836 N.W.2d
107, 113 (Iowa 2013). An illegal sentence may be challenged
at any time. State v. Bruegger, 737 N.W.2d 862, 869