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State v. Kramer

Court of Appeal of Iowa

August 7, 2013

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
KENNETH KRAMER, Defendant-Appellant.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Appanoose County, Lucy J. Gamon, Judge.

Kenneth Kramer appeals his conviction for willful injury causing bodily injury, in violation of Iowa Code section 708.4(2) (2011).

Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Vidhya K. Reddy, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Benjamin M. Parrott, Assistant Attorney General, and Richard F. Scott, County Attorney, for appellee.

Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Vaitheswaran and Bower, JJ.

BOWER, J.

Kenneth Kramer appeals his conviction for willful injury causing bodily injury, in violation of Iowa Code section 708.4(2) (2011). Kramer argues the district court abused its discretion in failing to explain why the maximum term of probation was imposed. We find the district court adequately explained its reasons for imposing the sentence and accordingly affirm.

I. Background Facts and Proceedings

Kenneth Kramer was charged with several crimes following a physical altercation with his brother. Kramer entered into a plea agreement with the State in which he agreed to plead guilty to willful injury causing bodily injury in exchange for dismissal of the remaining charges. The agreement provided the terms of Kramer's sentence, including a five-year suspended sentence, no-contact orders, and the possibility of placement in a residential treatment facility. The agreement was silent on the duration of probation to be imposed. Kramer also agreed to proceed to immediate sentencing.

The district court entered judgment against Kramer and placed him on probation for a period of five years.[1] Kramer was ordered to jail until a bed became available at the residential treatment facility.

During the sentencing hearing, after approving the terms of the plea agreement, the district court made the following statement: "Mr. Kramer, I'm considering all the sentencing options available to me under the Iowa Code. My judgment and sentence is based on what I believe would best rehabilitate you and at the same time protect the community from further offenses by you and others." The district court also imposed a fine and ordered payment of attorney fees. After a discussion about Kramer's ability to pay, the district court imposed the remainder of the sentence and specifically explained the reasons behind ordering him to jail until a bed in the residential treatment facility became available. The district court concluded the sentencing by imposing a no-contact order and stated: "Mr. Kramer, you have a lengthy record as I've noted, and you're getting a great deal here in terms of probation and other counts being dismissed."

II. Standard of Review

We review the district court's sentencing decision for errors at law. State v. Thomas, 547 N.W.2d 223, 225 (Iowa 1996). Because the present case involves the district court's exercise of discretion within the statutory limits, we will set aside the sentence only if the defendant can show an abuse of that discretion. State v. Cason, 532 N.W.2d 755, 756 (Iowa 1995). To show an abuse of discretion, Kramer must show the decision "was based on clearly untenable grounds or reasons, or the ...


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