from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Mark D. Cleve
(sentencing) and Joel W. Barrows (probation revocation),
defendant sentenced to prison for theft and assault
challenges the revocation of his deferred judgment, the
sentencing process, and his counsel's performance.
C. Smith, Appellate Defender, and Stephan J. Japuntich,
Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kelli A. Huser, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Tabor and Bower, JJ.
pleading guilty plea to theft in the first degree and assault
resulting in bodily injury, Jordan Pierce received a deferred
judgment. Pierce repeatedly violated the terms of his
probation, eventually resulting in the revocation of his
deferred judgment and the imposition of a prison sentence.
Pierce now contests his convictions and sentences, claiming
the district court failed to give proper reasons for revoking
probation and imposing a prison term, failed to consider
mitigating circumstances, and denied Pierce's right to
allocution. Pierce also claims his counsel was remiss in not
challenging the State's alleged breach of the plea
we find no error in the district court's handling of the
probation revocation and sentencing hearing and no deficiency
in defense counsel's performance, we affirm.
Facts and Prior Proceedings
September 2014, Pierce confronted a pedestrian on a Davenport
street, assaulted him, and took his cell phone and Bluetooth
headset. The victim told police Pierce was displaying a knife
during the encounter. The State charged Pierce with four
counts: robbery in the first degree, theft in the first
degree, assault while displaying a weapon, and assault
resulting in injury. Pierce's plea bargain allowed him to
plead guilty to first-degree theft, in violation of Iowa Code
section 714.2(1) (2014), and assault resulting in injury, in
violation of Iowa Code section 708.2(2), while the State
agreed to dismiss the robbery and
assault-while-displaying-a-weapon counts. The State agreed to
make no recommendation as to sentencing.
April 24, 2015 sentencing hearing, the court granted Pierce a
deferred judgment and placed him on probation at a
residential correctional facility. Just four months later,
the judicial department of correctional services filed a
probation violation report against Pierce involving problems
with his assigned employer. The district court found Pierce
in contempt but did not revoke his probation. Then in April
2016, the State applied to revoke Pierce's probation
after he engaged in a series of disruptive activities at the
residential facility. In June 2016, the district court
declined to revoke Pierce's deferred judgment but again
held him in contempt.
January 2017, Pierce's probation officer filed another
report of violations, alleging Pierce had not secured
full-time employment, made only one monthly $10 fine payment,
used Xanax without a prescription, tested positive for THC
after consuming a marijuana brownie at a party, and pleaded
guilty to disorderly conduct. At an April 6, 2017 hearing,
Pierce stipulated to violating those terms of probation.
Noting Pierce had already been held in contempt twice and had
already been placed at the residential correctional facility,
the court commented, "No one wanted to get to this
point, but here we are." The court revoked Pierce's
deferred judgment and imposed judgment and sentence. The
court sentenced Pierce to an indeterminate ten-year term for
the theft offense and a 364-day term for the assault to run
concurrently. Pierce appeals the judgment and sentences.
Scope and Standards of Review
review the revocation of probation for an abuse of
discretion. State v. Kirby, 622 N.W.2d 506, 508
(Iowa 2001). We review sentencing proceedings for the
correction of legal error. State v. Formaro, 638
N.W.2d 720, 724 (Iowa 2002). But "[w]e will not reverse
the decision of the district court ...