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State v. Brown

Court of Appeals of Iowa

March 22, 2017

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
JUSTIN TODD BROWN, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, David L. Christensen, Judge.

         A defendant appeals a consecutive sentence imposed following revocation of his deferred judgment for the offense of marijuana possession. CONVICTION AFFIRMED; SENTENCE VACATED AND REMANDED FOR RESENTENCING.

          Sarah E. Crane of Davis, Brown, Koehn, Shors & Roberts, P.C., Des Moines, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Tyler J. Buller, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Doyle and Tabor, JJ.

          TABOR, Judge.

         Justin Brown challenges his 180-day sentence for marijuana possession, ordered to run consecutive to the prison terms imposed for possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, operating a motor vehicle without the owner's consent, assault on a police officer causing bodily injury, and first-offense operating while intoxicated.[1] Brown argues that after revoking his deferred judgment on the possession offense, the district court failed to give reasons either for choosing the maximum sentence or for deciding it should not begin until the expiration of the other four terms. Because the district court did not comply with Iowa Rule of Criminal Procedure 2.23(3)(d) or State v. Hill, 878 N.W.2d 269, 274-75 (Iowa 2016), we vacate the sentence and remand for resentencing.

         To analyze Brown's sentencing claims, some procedural background is necessary. In December 2014, Brown entered guilty pleas to four charges, reflected in the following chart from the plea and sentencing order:

Case Number

Count

Clime

Id. violation of Iowa Code Section(s):

FECR279437

I

OPERATING A MOTOR VEHICLE

WITHOUT OWNERS CONSENT

(Lesser Included Offense - An Aggravated Misdemeanor)

714.7

II

ASSAULT ON A POLICE OFFICER

CAUSING BODILY INJURY

(Lesser Included Offense - An Aggravated Misdemeanor)

70S.1(1)& 708.3A(3)

III

POSSESSION OF A SCH I CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE (A Serious Misdemeanor)

124.401(5)

OWOM078988

I

OWI 1ST OFFENSE (A Serious Misdemeanor)

321J.2

         The district court deferred judgment for the marijuana-possession charge but entered judgment for the first, second, and fourth offenses listed. The court directed those sentences run consecutive to each other, for a total of five years, as reflected in the following chart:

Case Number

Count

Crime

Defendant shall be imprisoned for a period not to esceed:

FECR279437

I

OPERATING A MOTOR VEHICLE WITHOUT OWNER'S CONSENT

2 years

II

ASSAULT ON A POLICE OFFICER CAUSING BODILY INJURY

2 years

OWOM0789S8

I

OWI 1ST OFFENSE

1 years

         The district court suspended those three sentences and placed Brown on probation for two years.

         A few months later, the State charged Brown with additional drug offenses. In September 2015, he entered a guilty plea to possession with intent to deliver marijuana, a class "D" felony, in violation of Iowa Code section 124.401 (1)(d) (2015). The court suspended his sentence and placed him back on probation, ordering him to reside at the Fort Des Moines Men's Facility.

         In November and December 2015, Brown violated the terms of his probation by missing work assignments, failing to return to the residential facility as required, and repeatedly using marijuana and synthetic ...


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