This decision is published in table format in the North Western Reporter.
Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Bradley J. Harris, Judge. A defendant convicted of two counts of lascivious acts appeals the imposition of consecutive sentences.
Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Nan Jennisch, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.
Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Kevin Cmelik, Assistant Attorney General, Thomas J. Ferguson, County Attorney, and Linda Fangman, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee.
Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Tabor and McDonald, JJ.
This appeal involves a common sentencing challenge: whether the district court offered adequate reasons for imposing consecutive terms. Because we find no abuse of discretion in the district court's reasons expressed for its overall sentencing plan, including its reference to the two different children affected by the defendant's crimes, we affirm.
I. Background Facts and Proceedings
A jury convicted Dustin Lee Truax of two counts of lascivious acts with a child, both class " C" felonies, in violation of Iowa Code section 709.8 (2009). The two counts involved separate victims, ten-year-old twin sisters. Truax had been engaged to the girls' mother.
The presentence investigation report (PSI) prepared for sentencing recommended Truax be incarcerated for both offenses and that the sentences be run consecutively. The PSI preparer cited the defendant's " lengthy criminal history" and his continued denial of committing the offenses.
The district court held a sentencing hearing on January 7, 2013. The State recommended indeterminate ten-year sentences on each count, to run consecutive for a total of twenty years. The prosecutor explained why the State believed consecutive sentencing was appropriate:
First of all, the facts and nature of the particular case. We do have two separate victims. They were two separate little girls who were molested in this case, and because of that, I don't think a concurrent sentence is appropriate. A person should not get credit because they did it to two girls rather than one, and the fact that there were two girls entrusted to be in his care, who he had assumed a role of a parental role we think goes toward consecutive sentencing.
The prosecutor also argued for consecutive sentences based on Truax's criminal history. She highlighted portions of the PSI for the court, noting the preparer's view that Truax answered questions " in an unrealistically virtuous manner to be seen in a more favorable light" and " doesn't think he needs treatment." The State noted the PSI's somewhat unusual ...