Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Stephen B. Jackson Jr., Judge.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mullins, J.
A defendant appeals his sentence imposed claiming the court relied on an improper consideration and failed to articulate its reasoning. AFFIRMED.
Considered by Doyle, P.J., and Danilson and Mullins, JJ.
Ronald Diggs appeals the sentence imposed following his guilty plea to possession of a controlled substance (crack cocaine), in violation of Iowa section 124.401(5) (2011), an aggravated misdemeanor. He claims the court was improperly influenced by a pending drug charge when it sentenced him to a suspended two-year term and placed him on probation for two years. He also claims the court failed to make sufficient findings to support the sentence imposed and failed to comply with the notice requirements under section 901.5(9).
The sentencing hearing on the current charge was held at the same time as a status conference on a pending drug-possession charge. At the beginning of the joint hearing, the court was informed by the State that Diggs would be filing a motion to dismiss based on speedy-trial grounds. The court advised the parties to get a hearing on that motion scheduled before the trial date that had already been set. Diggs also requested the bond on that charge be exonerated pending the hearing on the motion to dismiss. The court granted the exoneration request when the State did not resist.
After the status conference, the court then turned its attention to sentencing on the current charge. There was no sentencing recommendation in the plea agreement. Diggs's attorney requested a sentence of time served and argued probation would not be necessary. The court, in imposing the sentence, stated:
I have reviewed the court file, I've heard the arguments of counsel, and the statements of the Defendant. It appears that, Mr. Diggs, you have a substance abuse problem that has caused you a lot of problems with the criminal justice system and that you just haven't been able to get over. In addition, you were ordered to receive a substance abuse evaluation, which I understand that you did, and based on that, you were ordered to complete an intensive outpatient treatment program, and my understanding is that you have not completed that program. You've also had problems on pretrial release that's caused you to be in and out of jail while this cause has been pending.
My reasons for this sentence are as previously mentioned, this provides the maximum chance for the Defendant to rehabilitate and address substance abuse issues which have caused the Defendant a number of problems, and Defendant has had to deal with those issues in the criminal justice system on a number of occasions previously, the nature of the offense, the Defendant's prior record, and the statements made by counsel today.
In the sentencing order the court supplemented its on-the-record reasons for the sentence imposed when it stated:
The Court's reasons for sentencing as the Court has in this case are as follows:
2. The nature and circumstances of this offense.
3. The Defendant's need for rehabilitation and the Defendant's potentiality therefor.
4. This sentence will hold the Defendant accountable for [his] actions and should act as a deterrent against future ...