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State v. Williams

Court of Appeal of Iowa

September 5, 2013

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
BYRON JUAQUIN WILLIAMS, Defendant-Appellant.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Michael D. Huppert, Judge.

Defendant appeals the sentence imposed upon his guilty plea to possession of a controlled substance (marijuana), third offense as a habitual offender.

Benjamin Bergman of Parrish, Kruidenier, Dunn, Boles, Gribble, Gentry & Fisher, L.L.P., Des Moines, for appellant.

Byron Williams, Fort Dodge, appellant pro se.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Jean Pettinger, Assistant Attorney General, John Sarcone, County Attorney, and Joseph Crisp and Andrea Petrovich, Assistant County Attorneys, for appellee.

Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Danilson and Tabor, JJ.

DANILSON, J.

Byron Williams appeals the sentence imposed upon his guilty plea to possession of a controlled substance (marijuana), third offense as a habitual offender, in violation of Iowa Code sections 124.401(5) and 902.8 (2011). He contends the district court abused its discretion by failing to consider all relevant factors when sentencing him to an indeterminate term of fifteen years of incarceration. He asks that we vacate his sentence and remand for resentencing. Because we conclude the district court did not abuse its discretion, we affirm.

I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

On November 2, 2011, the State filed a trial information charging Williams with possession of a controlled substance (marijuana), third offense as a habitual offender, a "D" felony. He initially entered a plea of not guilty. He later failed to appear for a pretrial conference and, as a result, the court issued a warrant for his arrest on December 16, 2011.

On March 16, 2012, Williams withdrew his previous plea and pled guilty to the charged offense. The court ordered a pre-sentence investigation (PSI) report and set sentencing to follow.

On May 8, 2012, the court sentenced Williams to an indeterminate term of incarceration not to exceed fifteen years with a minimum of three years to be served before the possibility of parole, as recommended by the State. Williams had requested probation from the court and expressed willingness to enter an inpatient drug rehabilitation program if it was given. As an explanation for the sentence, the court stated:

Taking into account the contents of that [PSI] report and application of the appropriate statutory factors, most notably the defendant's age, his extensive criminal history, which includes multiple failed opportunities at community supervision while on probation and the other misconduct charges that are catalogued in the report, both at the previous stay, apparently, at the Fort Des Moines Residential Correctional Facility and previously having been in the custody of the Department of Corrections, the court believes that the only appropriate disposition at this time is to adopt the State's recommendation for incarceration.
The court is not convinced, at this time, Mr. Williams, that you have shown sufficient progress in any claimed rehabilitation to afford you further opportunities at this time to pursue that course, and the Court is thoroughly convinced that if allowed to remain at liberty within the community, that you would be a ...

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