from the Iowa District Court for Pottawattamie County,
Timothy O'Grady (plea) and Gregory W. Steensland
(sentencing and resentencing), Judges.
defendant appeals the district court's decision at
resentencing, challenging the district court's rejection
of plea agreements and imposition of consecutive sentences.
D. Nerenstone, Council Bluffs, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kelli A. Huser, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Tabor and McDonald, JJ.
second time, Jeffry Jensen appeals his nine-year
indeterminate prison sentence. After our supreme court
decided State v. Hill, 878 N.W.2d 269, 275 (Iowa
2016), requiring district courts to give specific reasons for
imposing consecutive terms, we remanded his case for
resentencing. After giving reasons, the district court
imposed the same sentence. Jensen again appeals, claiming (1)
counsel at the original sentencing was ineffective for not
objecting to the court's rejection of his plea
agreements, (2) the court erred in declining to follow the
plea agreements at either the original sentencing or
resentencing, and (3) the court failed to properly state its
reasons for imposing consecutive sentences.
decline to address Jensen's claims to the extent they
relate to the original sentencing hearing. Jensen raised
these challenges in his previous appeal, and we rejected
them. See State v. Jensen, No. 15-2172, 2016 WL
5931033, at *3 (Iowa Ct. App. Oct. 12, 2016). Under the
law-of-the-case doctrine, "the legal principles
announced and the views expressed by a reviewing court in an
opinion, right or wrong, are binding throughout further
progress of the case upon the litigants, the trial court and
this court in later appeals." State v. Ragland,
812 N.W.2d 654, 658 (Iowa 2012). We decline to reconsider
these claims of error.
reject Jensen's claim the district court erred in not
following the plea agreements at resentencing. As we stated
in in his first appeal:
This argument is without merit. The written agreements in
these cases stated Jensen's guilty pleas were "not
contingent" on the court's acceptance of the
State's sentencing concessions. See Iowa R.
Crim. P. 2.10(2) (permitting but not requiring parties to
condition plea agreement on court's concurrence to the
charging or sentencing concessions). At the plea hearing,
both defense counsel and the district court noted "that
sentencing is open"- indicating the court was not bound
by either party's recommendations.
Jensen, 2016 WL 5931033, at *3. Accordingly, the
district court was not bound by the plea agreements at
resentencing as Jensen asserts. Moreover, as the State points
out, the district court lacked the authority to revisit the
provisions of the plea agreements at resentencing because
Jensen's case was remanded for the limited purpose of
determining "whether the sentences should run
consecutive or concurrent and provid[ing] reasons for [that]
decision." Id. at *4; see also State v.
Pearson, 876 N.W.2d 200, 204 (Iowa 2016) (noting that on
remand, a district court "is limited to do the special
thing authorized by this court in its opinion, and nothing
else" (citation omitted)).
contrary to Jensen's claim, the resentencing court
provided adequate reasons for imposing consecutive terms. We
review sentencing decisions for correction of errors at law.
See State v. Formaro, 638 N.W.2d 720, 724 (Iowa
2002). Sentences that conform to the statutory limits are
"cloaked with a strong presumption in [their] favor, and
will only be overturned for an abuse of discretion or the
consideration of inappropriate matters." Id. A
district court must state with specificity its rationale for
imposing consecutive sentences, but "in doing so the
court may rely on the same reasons for imposing a sentence of
incarceration." Hill, 878 N.W.2d at 275.
At resentencing, the district court stated:
I would also inform you that these sentences are being run
consecutively because of your need for and the likelihood to
achieve rehabilitation, because of society's protection
from further offenses by you and others, because of my
personal review of the facts and circumstances in this case,
and because of the continuing nature of your criminal
activity and the ...