January 11, 2017
STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
VICTOR WAYNE JAMISON, Defendant-Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Hamilton County, Paul B.
Ahlers, District Associate Judge.
appeals his conviction and sentence for operating while
Forcier of Forcier Law Office, P.L.L.C., Waterloo, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Bridget A. Chambers,
Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and Bower,
Jamison appeals his conviction and sentence for operating
while intoxicated. We find the district court did not abuse
its discretion in sentencing Jamison to ninety days in jail.
Background Facts & Proceedings
was charged with operating while intoxicated, in violation of
Iowa Code section 321J.2 (2015), a serious misdemeanor. He
entered into a plea agreement in which he agreed to plead
guilty to the charge and the State agreed to recommend he
receive a sentence of four days in jail. The State also
agreed to dismiss a speeding ticket. Jamison signed a written
guilty plea, which was accepted by the court.
July 13, 2016 sentencing hearing, the State recommended
Jamison be sentenced to four days in jail. The court asked
what prompted Jamison's contact with law enforcement, and
the prosecutor stated Jamison had been driving 138 miles per
hour in a sixty-five mile per hour zone. The court then asked
about Jamison's blood alcohol level and was informed it
was .225. Defense counsel also requested Jamison be sentenced
to four days in jail, pointing out Jamison was employed, had
undergone a substance abuse evaluation, had begun treatment,
and had some medical problems. Jamison had two previous
convictions for driving while intoxicated in Virginia.
court sentenced Jamison to ninety days in jail, with credit
for time served. The court determined Jamison could leave
jail to accommodate his work schedule, pursuant to section
356.26, subject to the conditions he exhibit good behavior
and avoid alcohol and drugs. Jamison now appeals.
Standard of Review
sentence is within the statutory limits, we review a district
court's sentencing decision for an abuse of discretion.
State v. Seats, 865 N.W.2d 545, 552 (Iowa 2015).
"Thus, our task on appeal is not to second-guess the
decision made by the district court, but to determine if it
was unreasonable or based on untenable grounds."
Id. at 553. "In other words, the district court
did not abuse its discretion if the evidence supports the
claims the district court abused its discretion by sentencing
him to ninety days in jail. He states the court improperly
considered the charge of speeding, which was dismissed. He
claims the court's inquiry into the circumstances of his
arrest turned the court into an advocate for the State.
sentencing, a court "may not rely upon additional,
unproven, and unprosecuted charges unless the defendant
admits to the charges or there are facts presented to show
the defendant committed the offenses." State v.
Washington, 832 N.W.2d 650, 659 (Iowa 2013). There must
be an affirmative showing the court relied upon improper
evidence. State v. Sailer, 587 N.W.2d 756, 762 (Iowa
other hand, in applying its discretion in sentencing,
The trial court and we on review should weigh and consider
all pertinent matters in determining proper sentence,
including the nature of the offense, the attending
circumstances, defendant's age, character and
propensities and chances of his reform. The courts owe a duty
to the public as much as to defendant in determining a proper
sentence. The punishment should fit both the crime and the
State v. Hildebrand, 280 N.W.2d 393, 396 (Iowa
1979); see also State v. Thacker, 862
N.W.2d 402, 405 (Iowa 2015). Thus, the court should consider
the nature of the offense and the attending circumstances.
State v. Millsap, 704 N.W.2d 426, 435 (Iowa 2005).
the unique circumstances of this case, we determine the
district court could consider the fact Jamison was stopped
for speeding and his blood alcohol level at the time of the
stop, as these relate to the nature of the offense and the
attending circumstances. Jamison's claims would
improperly prohibit the court from considering all of the
applicable factors the court should review before imposing
the sentence. See State v. Schlachter, 884 N.W.2d
782, 786 (Iowa Ct. App. 2016) (noting the parties' plea
agreement could not prohibit the court from considering a
defendant's criminal history at the time of sentencing).
Additionally, the scope of inquiry in a sentencing proceeding
is in the hands of the court. State v. Cole, 168
N.W.2d 37, 41 (Iowa 1969). Here, where the court felt more
information was necessary in order to fulfill its duty to
sentence the defendant, the court could reasonably make
inquiries. See Washington, 832 N.W.2d at 661 (noting
it was "nothing out of the ordinary" for the
sentencing court to ask the defendant about employment and
the ability to pay a civil penalty).
Jamison claims the court did not look at him individually but
focused solely on the nature of the offense. "The nature
of the offense alone cannot be determinative of a
discretionary sentence." State v. Dvorsky, 322
N.W.2d 62, 67 (Iowa 1982).
sentencing hearing, the court stated:
Mr. Jamison, my goals with respect to sentencing are to
provide for your rehabilitation and protection of the
community. In trying to achieve these goals, to the extent
these details have been made known to me, I have taken into
account the recommendations of the parties; your age; your
employment history and circumstances; your educational
background; your family background and circumstances; your
criminal history, including the fact that this is your third
drunk driving offense since 2013. I have also taken into
account your appearance and demeanor here in the courtroom;
your substance abuse issues and needs as addressed in the
Substance Abuse Evaluation Report on file, as well as
discussions regarding that issue here today; your
mental-health issues and needs, as addressed here; the nature
of the offense and facts and circumstances surrounding it,
including the fact that your blood-alcohol level was nearly
300 percent of the legal limit; and the dangerous driving
that was being conducted based on your speed. With an
excessive blood-alcohol level, as well as the- considering
the other information contained in the Presentence
Investigation Report, . . . I have considered all those
factors, Mr. Jamison, whether I go into detail about them or
conclude the record shows the court considered several
factors, including the nature of the offense and the
attending circumstances, but did not rely on these two
factors alone. The court's statement during the
sentencing hearing shows the court also considered
Jamison's age, employment history, educational
background, family background, criminal history, substance
abuse issues, and mental health issues. We find Jamison has
not shown the district court abused its discretion by relying
solely on the nature of the offense in determining
affirm Jamison's conviction and sentence.
Potterfield, J., concurs;
VAITHESWARAN, Presiding Judge (dissenting).
respectfully dissent. I would conclude the district court
improperly considered Jamison's speed. See State v.
Gonzalez, 582 N.W.2d 515, 517 (Iowa 1998). Accordingly,
I would vacate the sentence and remand for resentencing.
The plea agreement also encompassed all
other mandatory minimum sentences.