MUSCATINE, Iowa — A Muscatine man's 25-year sentence for third-degree sexual abuse was vacated Thursday by the Iowa Court of Appeals and sent back to lower court for resentencing. According to the judgment, Matthew Villalpando of Muscatine was never afforded "the opportunity to present evidence that the mandatory sentence under section 901A.2(3) was grossly disproportional to his underlying crimes."

On Nov. 8, 2012, Villalpando, 25 at the time of his sentencing, was given twice the maximum period of incarceration for his sexual abuse offense, or 25 years, because he was previously found guilty of third-degree sexual abuse as a juvenile.

At the time of his sentencing Muscatine County Attorney Alan Ostergren said of Villalpando, “The defendant is a dangerous sex offender. He had an extensive record of juvenile delinquency and adult criminal offenses.”

The appeals court did not overturn Villalpando's conviction of third-degree sexual abuse. The ruling means that the lower court must hold a new sentencing hearing and allow Villalpando the opportunity to argue whether the severity of his punishment is constitutional under Iowa law.

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