Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Joel W. Barrows, Judge.
Johnnie Haywood-Parker appeals his sentence for possession with intent to deliver marijuana.
Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, Shellie L. Knipfer, Assistant Appellate Defender, and Jason M. Groth, Legal Intern, for appellant.
Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Sharon K. Hall, Assistant Attorney General, Michael J. Walton, County Attorney, and Joseph A. Grubisich, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee.
Considered by Doyle, P.J., and Danilson and Mullins, JJ.
Johnnie Haywood-Parker appeals the sentence imposed upon his guilty plea to possession with intent to deliver marijuana, in violation of Iowa Code section 124.401(1)(d) (2011). He contends the district court abused its discretion by failing to consider all relevant factors when it denied his request for a deferred judgment. He also contends the district court abused its discretion by engaging in a fixed sentencing policy. He asks that we vacate his sentence and remand for resentencing. Because we conclude the district court considered relevant factors and did not abuse its discretion, we affirm.
I. Background and Proceedings.
Haywood-Parker was charged by trial information with possession with intent to deliver marijuana and failure to affix a drug tax stamp, in violation of Iowa Code section 453B.12 (Count II). He agreed to plead guilty to the possession-with-intent charge. In exchange the State agreed to dismiss the drug tax stamp charge and to recommend against incarceration at sentencing. The district court accepted the plea, finding it was made voluntarily and with a factual basis.
At a later hearing the district court sentenced Haywood-Parker to a prison term of not more than five years and ordered him to pay a fine of $750. The term of incarceration and the fine were both suspended. Haywood-Parker was placed on probation for two years. The court denied Haywood-Parker's request for a deferred judgment. He appeals.
During the sentencing hearing the district court stated, "Well, Mr. Hayward-Parker, honestly, I don't think you're a good candidate for a deferred, primarily due to your history and your age. I think you're kind of beyond that stage. But I certainly agree with the State that you don't need to be incarcerated at this time." After imposing the sentence the court further stated, "I'm doing this because of the age of the defendant, his criminal history, the need for his reform and rehabilitation, and because of the recommendation in the presentence investigation report." The presentence investigation report stated, "Probation supervision is recommended."
II. Standard of Review.
Our review is for correction of errors at law. State v. Thomas, 547 N.W.2d 223, 225 (Iowa 1996). The decision to impose a sentence within statutory limits is "cloaked with a strong presumption in its favor." State v. Formaro, 638 N.W.2d 720, 724 (Iowa 2002). The sentence will not be upset on appeal "unless the defendant demonstrates an abuse of trial court discretion or a defect in the sentencing procedure." State v. Grandberry, 619 N.W.2d 399, 401 (Iowa 2000). An abuse of discretion is found only when the sentencing court exercises its ...