from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, Jeffrey A.
appeals the consecutive sentences imposed asserting the court
failed to state reasons on the record. AFFIRMED.
C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Maria Ruhtenberg,
Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Zachary Miller, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Vogel, P.J., Potterfield, J., and Blane, S.J.
Williams entered into a plea agreement with the State whereby
he agreed to plead guilty to two charges: robbery in the
second degree, a class "C" felony, in violation of
Iowa Code sections 711.1 and 711.3 (2016); and burglary in
the first degree, a class "B" felony, in violation
of sections 713.1 and 713.3. Because of a change in the law
and questions over the effective date of the change, the
parties agreed to leave the imposition of a mandatory minimum
sentence on the robbery charge to the discretion of the
district court. See Iowa Code § 902.12(3)
(allowing court discretion to impose mandatory minimum
between one-half and seven-tenths of maximum term of
person's sentence); see also 2016 Iowa Acts ch.
1104, § 8 (introducing discretion). The other elements
of Williams's sentence, including that the sentences
would be imposed consecutively, were incorporated in the
parties' plea agreement.
sentencing, the court heard argument on the mandatory-minimum
question. The court imposed a five-year minimum sentence on
the ten-year robbery sentence. Williams was additionally
sentenced to an indeterminate term of twenty-five years for
the burglary charge, along with fines, surcharges, and fees.
The two prison sentences were ordered to run consecutively.
now appeals. On appeal, he claims the sentencing court abused
its discretion in sentencing him because the court failed to
provide adequate reasons for adopting the plea
agreement's recommendation that the sentences run
consecutively. Our review of sentencing decisions is for
correction of errors at law. State v. Formaro, 638
N.W.2d 720, 724 (Iowa 2002). A sentence imposed in accordance
with applicable statutes will be overturned only for an abuse
of discretion or a defect in the sentencing procedure.
State v. Wright, 340 N.W.2d 590, 592 (Iowa 1983). An
abuse of discretion occurs "when the court exercises its
discretion on grounds clearly untenable or to an extent
clearly unreasonable." State v. Evans, 672
N.W.2d 328, 331 (Iowa 2003).
sentencing court must state its reasons for imposing a
particular sentence on the record. See Iowa R. Crim.
P. 2.23(3)(d); State v. McGonigle, 401 N.W.2d 39, 43
(Iowa 1987). This includes its reasons for imposing sentences
consecutively or concurrently. See State v. Barnes,
791 N.W.2d 817, 827 (Iowa 2010). The reasons "need not
be detailed, " but must provide "at least a cursory
explanation" of the court's reasoning. Id.
the court considered a number of factors in determining
whether to impose a 50% or 70% mandatory minimum before
deciding to impose the 50% minimum. The court stated: "I
have also considered all sentencing options available to the
defendant, especially in light of the plea agreement.
I've considered the presentence report, the nature of the
offense, and other matters that I've identified with
regard to the discretion that I can exercise on the mandatory
minimum." The court made no mention of discretion as to
any other part of the plea agreement or sentence. The court
went on to say, "The Court then is going to sentence the
defendant in accordance with the parties' plea agreement,
" which the court then proceeded to do. Williams argues
this was improper because the court failed to articulate its
reasons for imposing consecutive sentences.
support, Williams cites State v. Hill, 878 N.W.2d
269, 274 (Iowa 2016). In Hill, the defendant pleaded
guilty to a failure to comply with sex-offender registry
requirements. See 878 N.W.2d at 271-72. At
sentencing, Hill requested a suspended sentence; the State
requested a two-year prison term to be served consecutive to
his parole revocation. See id. at 272. The district
court imposed the sentence requested by the State with no
explanation. See id. The supreme court concluded
this was error. See id. at 273-74. Williams argues
his sentencing court's failure to state reasons, too, was
an abuse of discretion mandating reversal.
disagree. In Hill, the sentencing court was required
to resolve a real dispute between the parties over the
correct sentence. See id. at 272. Here, the district
court was merely "giving effect to the parties'
agreement, " which does not require an exercise of
discretion, only that the sentencing court "make the
particulars of the plea agreement part of the sentencing
record." See State v. Smith, No. 16-1528, 2017
WL 1733246, at *1 n.1 (Iowa Ct. App. May 3, 2017). This is a
longstanding principle in our case law. See id.
(citing State v. Thacker, 862 N.W.2d 402, 408-09
(Iowa 2015); State v. Cason, 532 N.W.2d 755, 756-57
(Iowa 1995); State v. Snyder, 336 N.W.2d 728, 729
(Iowa 1983)). Hill "does not appear to
undermine this principle." Id. The court here
made the ...