April 23, 2014

Supreme Court: juvenile offenses can’t be used to commit sexual predators

The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled a person cannot be classified as a violent sexual predator for crimes committed as a juvenile. The ruling involved Anthony Geltz who had escaped from a Davenport juvenile home when he was 14 and sexually assaulted a child at a restaurant.

He was charged with second-degree sexual assault in juvenile court and eventually sent to the State Training School for Boys in Eldora. Geltz was disciplined a dozen times for infractions involving sexual misconduct while at the home, and the state sought to keep him locked up when he turned 18 in 2011.

The district court declared Geltz a sexually violent predator and he was sent to the Cherokee Mental Health Institute. The Iowa Supreme Court found on appeal that under Iowa code the action against Geltz in juvenile court cannot be considered an adult conviction in determining his status as a sexually violent predator. The ruling said the court shares the concern of the state that Geltz will commit other offenses if released, but said the court is “constrained by the language of the statutes.”

The Supreme Court reversed Geltz’s sexually violent predator judgment and sent the case back to district court to be dismissed.

See the full court ruling here: Geltz ruling PDF