from the Iowa District Court for Washington County, Annette
J. Scieszinski, Judge. A defendant challenges his sentence
following a probation revocation hearing.
C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Shellie L. Knipfer,
Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Timothy M. Hau, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Doyle, P.J., McDonald, J., and Blane, S.J.
engaging in sexual intercourse with a fifteen-year-old he
believed to be eighteen, Joshua Johnson was charged with
sexual abuse in the third degree, in violation of Iowa Code
section 709.4(1)(b)(3)(d) (2015). While the case was pending,
Johnson violated the conditions of his pretrial release by
marrying his girlfriend and living with her two-year-old
daughter. Johnson then pled guilty to the charged offense. At
sentencing, judgment was deferred, and Johnson was placed on
probation for three years. Johnson filed a pro se motion to
terminate the probation requirement, titled "Why
Probation Won't Do Any Good." Johnson argued he had
no sexual desire for minors, and therefore, his probation
requirement limiting contact with minors, including his
step-daughter, was misguided and arbitrary. The district
court denied his motion. Subsequently, Johnson violated his
probation, including by having continued contact with his
step-daughter. The district court revoked Johnson's
probation and deferred judgment and imposed a ten-year
sentence. Johnson now appeals.
Standard of Review
review challenges to terms of probation for abuse of
discretion. See State v. Valin, 724 N.W.2d 440, 444
(Iowa 2006). 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 445.
argues the terms of his probation were not reasonably related
to his rehabilitation or the protection of the community.
See Iowa Code § 907.6 (providing the court may
impose reasonable conditions on probation that promote
rehabilitation or community protection). "A condition of
probation promotes the rehabilitation of the defendant or the
protection of the community when it addresses some problem or
need identified with the defendant, or some threat posed to
the community by the defendant." Valin, 724
N.W.2d at 446 (citations omitted). "A condition is
reasonable when it relates to the defendant's
circumstances in a reasonable manner, and is justified by the
defendant's circumstances." Id. (citations
contrast, a condition is "not reasonable if it is found
to be 'unnecessarily harsh or excessive in achieving the
goals' of rehabilitation and community protection."
State v. Lathrop, 781 N.W.2d 288, 299 (Iowa 2010)
A reasonable nexus must exist between any special condition
of probation and the crime for which it is imposed. A
condition of probation which requires or forbids conduct
which is not itself criminal is valid only if that conduct is
reasonably related to the crime of which defendant was
convicted or to future criminality.
Lathrop, the supreme court held it was unnecessarily
excessive for a probation term to prohibit all unsanctioned
contact with minors and instructed the district court to
craft "a more realistic and precise condition"
related to the goals of probation. Id. at 301.