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State v. Hammer

Court of Appeals of Iowa

September 27, 2017

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
CODY C. HAMMER, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Clinton County, Nancy S. Tabor and Mark R. Lawson, Judges.

         A defendant appeals the district court's imposition of a consecutive sentence.

          Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Stephan J. Japuntich, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kyle Hanson, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Potterfield and Mullins, JJ. Tabor, J., takes no part.

          VOGEL, PRESIDING JUDGE.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         Cody Hammer pled guilty to third-degree sexual abuse, in violation of Iowa Code sections 709.1(1) and 709.4(1)(a) (2014), domestic abuse assault by impeding airflow, in violation of section 708.2A(5), and false imprisonment, in violation of section 710.7. The facts supporting Hammer's guilty plea included Hammer placing his ex-girlfriend in a choke-hold and binding her hands and feet together using zip-ties. The victim was able to free herself and instructed Hammer to leave so as not to upset her young child. When the victim went downstairs to do laundry, Hammer followed and sexually assaulted her.

         The district court imposed a sentence, including concurrent and consecutive sentences, which amounted to a total of fifteen years in prison. Hammer appeals claiming the court erred by considering his pretrial-release revocation and failing to consider mitigating circumstances.

         II. Scope of Review

[T]he decision of the district court to impose a particular sentence within the statutory limits is cloaked with a strong presumption in its favor, and will only be overturned for an abuse of discretion or the consideration of inappropriate matters. An abuse of discretion will not be found unless we are able to discern that the decision was exercised on grounds or for reasons that were clearly untenable or unreasonable.

State v. Formaro, 638 N.W.2d 720, 724 (Iowa 2002).

         III. Sentencing

         The district court should "state on the record its reason for selecting the particular sentence." Iowa R. Crim. P. 2.23(3)(d). "This requirement includes giving reasons for imposing consecutive sentences." State v. Barnes, 791 N.W.2d 817, 827 (Iowa 2010). The reasons need not be detailed, though "at least a cursory explanation must be provided to allow for appellate review." Id. The court considers a host of factors including nature of the offense, the attending circumstances, ...


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