Life Parole And Your Case

Life parole describes a legal consequence that many individuals convicted of a sex crime may now face in Iowa: a lifetime on parole. All class A, B and C felonies require life parole.

This law was enacted in 2005. That means that any individual who was convicted prior to 2005 was not aware of life parole as a potential penal consequence when he or she was charged with the crime and/or plead guilty.

Attorney Peter Berger receives many inquiries from people who were placed on the registry for 10 years before 2005. They ask whether it is unfair or illegal to have to face life parole after being on the registry for 10 years.

More detail regarding this matter is offered below, but remember every criminal case is greatly influenced by individual circumstances. Your situation will dictate the type of criminal charge against you and the legal remedies available for defense. Contact Berger Law Firm, P.C., online or by telephone at 515-288-8888 to schedule a free, confidential initial consultation and learn more about your rights and your options for defense.

Does the Law About Life Parole Affect Me?

The legal question of whether being placed on life parole after the fact submits the person to an unconstitutional ex post facto law. An ex post facto law can retroactively change the legal consequences of actions committed before the law was enacted.

This means an ex post facto law could:

  • Make formerly legal actions illegal
  • Categorize a crime as more severe than before
  • Make consequences for a crime more severe
  • Change the rules of evidence and make individuals who were charged with a crime more likely to be convicted

The United States Constitution does not allow the imposition of penal laws that were not in effect at the time the crime was committed. Furthermore, the court would have had to tell the defendant about life parole at his or her guilty plea proceeding.

The Iowa Supreme Court held that the 10-year sex offender registration statute is administrative and not punitive, and therefore cannot be challenged as an ex post facto law.