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State v. Clayton

Court of Appeals of Iowa

November 22, 2017

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
JAMON DARREL CLAYTON, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Webster County, Thomas J. Bice, Judge.

         Jamon Darrel Clayton appeals his sentences for robbery in the second degree and going armed with intent.

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

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Louis S. Sloven, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Doyle and Bower, JJ.

          BOWER, JUDGE

         Jamon Darrel Clayton appeals his sentences for robbery in the second degree and going armed with intent. We find the district court did not consider impermissible sentencing factors, the sentence was proper in regard to Clayton's age, and his claim of systematic racial discrimination was not proven. We find the record is inadequate to determine if Clayton's counsel was ineffective. We affirm the district court and preserve his ineffective assistance claims for possible postconviction action.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         On May 16, 2016, Clayton, seventeen years old at the time of the offense, and Thomas Meeks met Chase Monahan and rode with Monahan to his residence. Clayton and Meeks sought to purchase marijuana from Monahan, but when the three reached Monahan's residence, Meeks reached into Clayton's bag, pulled out a gun, and demanded marijuana. Monahan chased Meeks and Clayton as they ran from the house. During the pursuit, Meeks and Clayton both fired shots at Monahan.

         Witnesses variously testified there were between one and eight shots fired. Police recovered six shell casings from the scene. Witnesses also testified both Meeks and Clayton fired the gun. Monahan was not injured during the shooting but did have a bullet hole in the leg of his pants. Clayton admitted to firing the gun but claimed it was only to scare Monahan and allow their escape.

         On May 25, Clayton was charged with first degree robbery in violation of Iowa Code section 711.2 (2016). On February 27, 2017, Clayton was sentenced to ten years of incarceration for the lesser included offense of robbery in the second degree and five years for going armed with intent, with the sentences to be served concurrently. Before announcing the sentence, the district court stated, "I'm limited, given the circumstances [of your firing] six to eight shots with a deadly weapon. This community demands that we have a safe environment." Clayton timely filed his appeal March 28.

         II. Standard of Review

         "Generally, a sentence will not be upset on appellate review unless a defendant can demonstrate an abuse of discretion or a defect in the sentencing procedure, such as the trial court's consideration of impermissible factors." State v. Cheatheam, 569 N.W.2d 820, 821 (Iowa 1997). "A trial court's sentencing decision is cloaked with a strong presumption in its favor, and an abuse of discretion will not be found unless a defendant shows such discretion was exercised on grounds or for reasons clearly untenable or to an extent clearly unreasonable." Id. However, when constitutional claims are raised, our review is de novo. State v. Ragland, 836 N.W.2d 107, 113 (Iowa 2013). Claims of ineffective assistance of counsel are reviewed de novo. State v. Straw, 709 N.W.2d 128, 133 (Iowa 2006).

         III. ...


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