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State v. Bierl

Court of Appeals of Iowa

October 25, 2017

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
ARON JON BIERL, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Floyd County, DeDra L. Schroeder, Judge.

         The defendant appeals his sentence for possession of a firearm by a domestic violence offender. AFFIRMED.

          Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Maria L. Ruhtenberg, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Sharon K. Hall, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Potterfield and Mullins, JJ.

          POTTERFIELD, JUDGE.

         Aron 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).

         Local 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.[1]

         In 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 judgment.

         Bierl 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.

         The 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 ...

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