Court adds another case to juvenile sentencing lineup

By: Rox Laird on October 6th, 2016

A fourth case has been added to the Iowa Supreme Court’s October calendar on the question of how the Iowa Department of Corrections should calculate early discharge dates for offenders convicted as juveniles.

The court on Oct. 20 is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the appeals of Shannon Breeden and Laura Hochmuth v. Iowa Department of Corrections.  These cases were paired because they raise the identical issue: That issue is how early-discharge credits should be calculated for offenders resentenced in light of the Court’s 2014 juvenile sentencing decision in State v. Lyle. (See our earlier post for background on these appeals).

The court earlier consolidated an appeal from Polk County (Shawn A. James v. State of Iowa) raising the same issue, and Chief Justice Mark Cady last week issued an order adding a Des Moines County case (State of Iowa v. Eric D. Coleman) to the list. Oral arguments will be heard only in the Breeden and Holchmuth appeals, while all four will be submitted for decision this term.

Parties in those cases will not be the only ones affected by the outcome: According to an estimate by the Attorney General’s Office, as many as 150 other offenders convicted as juveniles may or may not benefit, depending on how the court rules in these four cases.

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On Brief is devoted to appellate litigation, with a focus on the Iowa Supreme Court, the Iowa Court of Appeals, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
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