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SIOUX CITY -- A judge has ruled that a Sioux City man who served time for sex crimes will not collect more than $43,000 from the state on his claim that Iowa prison officials kept him in custody more than five months too long.

The Iowa Department of Corrections correctly calculated Jacob Schmidt's prison sentence in accordance with his initial sentencing order, District Judge Julie Schumacher ruled, and when a new order affecting his sentence was issued, Schmidt was released that day.

"The proper steps to secure his release were completed and resulted in Schmidt's release," Schumacher wrote in her nine-page ruling, filed Thursday in Woodbury County District Court.

Schmidt filed a petition against the corrections department and several prison officials in June, claiming he should have been released more than five months earlier than his Dec. 22, 2015, release date and that prison officials were negligent in keeping him in custody. He sought $43,538 -- $250 per day for the extra 161 he claimed he was incarcerated -- for false imprisonment and $3,288 in wages he earned while in prison but said the state kept.

Schmidt pleaded guilty in 2007 to incest and assault with intent to commit sexual abuse and was sentenced to seven years in prison. He was released from prison in May 2010 and was placed on two special sentences in which he, like other defendants convicted of certain sex offenses, was subject to supervision as if on parole. He was incarcerated in November 2010 and again in June 2013 for violating terms of his release.

Schmidt had argued that his special sentences should have been served concurrently rather than consecutively, resulting in an earlier release from prison for his second violation. Schmidt said he should have been released from prison in June 2015, and the corrections department had falsely imprisoned him until December of that year.

Schumacher ruled that Schmidt's prison term was based upon a valid sentencing order, and once his request to have the special sentences served concurrently was granted and a new sentencing order issued, he was released from custody.

Schmidt is currently challenging his conviction, saying he is innocent because the victim has recanted statements made about the sexual actions between the two.

The Iowa Supreme Court in March ruled in a 4-3 decision that because the victim's story has changed, Schmidt may argue for his innocence, even though he had voluntarily entered a guilty plea.

The ruling vacated lower courts' rulings denying Schmidt's request to retry the case, which was sent back to Woodbury County, where a district judge will determine whether Schmidt's claim merits overturning his conviction and retrying the case. No hearing dates have been set.


Court reporter

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