The Iowa Court of Appeals says the punishment given to man following a northeast Iowa bank robbery, police chase and shoot out is appropriate. William Clayton of Osage was 19-years-old in 2012 when he robbed the Maynard Savings Bank along with Jeremiah Mumford of New Hampton.
The Sumner police chief and an Iowa State trooper were shot in exchanges of gunfire and the chase following the robbery that led from Fayette County into Bremer County. Clayton was convicted on one count of first-degree robbery and two counts of attempted murder and given a sentence not to exceed 50 years with the possibility of being released after 35 years.
Clayton appealed, saying because of his age, the mandatory minimum sentences for first-degree robbery and attempted murder are grossly disproportionate to the crime in violation of the federal and state constitutions. The Iowa Supreme Court says Clayton planned and executed an armed bank robbery in which he personally aimed an assault rifle at a bank employee while demanding money. He led the authorities on a two-county car chase while his co-defendant opened fire with an assault rifle. It says Clayton and his lawyer then negotiated a plea agreement to resolve more than thirty counts, including ten counts of attempted murder in two counties.
The ruling says this is not a “rare” circumstance where the mandatory minimum sentence was so grossly disproportionate to the crime that it warrants further review.
Here’s the full ruling: William Clayton appeal PDF