from the Iowa District Court for Floyd County, DeDra L.
defendant appeals his sentence for possession of a firearm by
a domestic violence offender. AFFIRMED.
C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Maria L. Ruhtenberg,
Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Sharon K. Hall, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Potterfield and Mullins, JJ.
Bierl appeals his sentence following a guilty plea to
possession of a firearm by a domestic violence offender,
pursuant to Iowa Code section 724.26(2)(a) (2016).
police received a call for a welfare check in March 2016; the
caller stated there were young children home alone at
Bierl's house. When the officers arrived at the home,
they found the two children and then "cleared" the
house for any adults. None were present. The officers noted
the presence of a firearm in plain view. Based on this, the
officers obtained a warrant to search the home. Upon its
execution, the officers discovered a second firearm and a
large amount of ammunition. At the time, Bierl was subject to
two protective orders-one for his former wife and one for a
former girlfriend. As a result, he was charged with two
counts of possession of a firearm by a domestic violence
offender in April.
November, pursuant to a plea agreement with the State, Bierl
pled guilty to one of the counts and the other was dismissed.
Additionally, the State agreed not to make any recommendation
at sentencing, and Bierl was free to advocate for a deferred
was sentenced in February 2017. At the sentencing hearing,
Bierl asked the court to defer judgment and place him on
probation. He stated that he is an avid hunter and would like
to get his gun rights back. He also stated he had completed
intensive outpatient treatment for alcohol abuse and was
attending mental-health treatment and taking his prescribed
medications. The court noted Bierl had been convicted of
harassment and had a third protective order entered against
him since the date of the possession charge.
court stated it would be adopting the recommendations of the
report from the presentence investigation (PSI) and sentenced
Bierl to a term of incarceration not to exceed five years.
The court noted:
They do give you credit in the presentence investigation
report for being involved in mental health and substance
abuse treatment and being dedicated to that.
And, frankly, I'm-I'm not focusing a lot on
necessarily what came out of the divorce decree, but I'm
looking at, instead, the nature of the offense. And I
perceive it as sort of an inability to take responsibility
for your actions and, instead, kind of take what you did
and-and blame it towards wife, girlfriend, other people
involved in your life. And it's unfortunate.
And it's unfortunate you picked up a harassment charge
following this offense date. And, again, somehow that seemed