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Case No. 21-0492

Christopher Ryan Allen
v.
State of Iowa

Appellant

Christopher Ryan Allen

Appellee

State of Iowa

Attorneys for Appellant

Rachel C. Regenold, Assistant Appellate Defender

Attorneys for Appellee

Thomas E. Bakke, Assistant Attorney General

Court of Appeals

Court of Appeals Opinion

Opinion Number:
21-0492
Date Published:
Sep 21, 2022
Summary

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Linda M. Fangman, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., Badding, J., and Potterfield, S.J.  Opinion by Potterfield, S.J.  Partial Dissent by Tabor, P.J.  (22 pages)

            Christopher Allen appeals from the denial of his application for postconviction relief (PCR) following his 2015 convictions for two counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver (cocaine base), ongoing criminal conduct, and a drug tax stamp violation.  Allen argues for the first time that the disparity between sentences for crack and powder cocaine violate the Equal Protection Clauses of both the Federal and Iowa Constitutions.  Allen also argues the district court wrongly denied his application for PCR, claiming he received ineffective assistance from trial counsel when counsel failed to research and present the police video of the vehicle stop at the suppression hearing and trial and object to the district court’s failure to read the verdicts in open court.  He argues appellate counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to file a timely application for further review of this court’s ruling on his direct appeal.  OPINION HOLDS: Because there is a rational basis for the disparity in sentences between crack and powder cocaine dealers, Allen has not shown that Iowa Code section 124.401 (2015) violates equal protection.  And Allen did not prove he received ineffective assistance from either trial or appellate counsel.  We affirm.  PARTIAL DISSENT ASSERTS: I respectfully dissent.  I would find Iowa Code section 124.401 (2015) violates our equal protection clause as there is no rational relationship between the old ten-to-one sentencing disparity between crack-cocaine and powder-cocaine offenses and a legitimate government interest.  I would reverse and remand for resentencing.

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