from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Joseph M.
Moothart (suppression), Brook K. Jacobsen (bench trial), and
Nathan A. Callahan (sentencing), District Associate Judges.
appeals her conviction for possession of a controlled
C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Nan Jennisch,
Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Thomas J. Ogden, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Doyle, P.J., Tabor, J., and Goodhue, S.J.
GOODHUE, SENIOR JUDGE.
Marie Harper was charged with possession of a controlled
substance (marijuana), first offense, a violation of Iowa
Code section 124.401(5) (2016). She filed a motion to
suppress, which was denied. Harper then submitted to a trial
on the minutes of evidence and was convicted. Harper was
sentenced to 180 days in the county jail, but the sentence
was suspended. She was also sentenced to pay a fine of $315
plus the thirty-five-percent surcharge, a D.A.R.E. fee, and
the law-enforcement-initiative fee, and was placed on
supervised probation for a period of one to two years. The
record for sentencing was waived, and the only reasons given
for the sentence in the sentencing order were "nature of
offense" and "prior record." Harper appeals.
Her only basis for the appeal is the court's failure to
state on the record sufficient reasons for selecting a
particular sentence, as required by Iowa Rule of Criminal
Procedure 2.23(3)(d). Relevant facts will be included where
Preservation of Error
State does not contest error preservation.
Standard of Review
are reviewed for an abuse of discretion. State v.
Hill, 878 N.W.2d 269, 272 (Iowa 2016). A trial court
abuses its discretion when it exercises its discretion on
grounds clearly untenable or unreasonable. Id.
appellate courts have been called upon a number of times to
interpret the language of rule 2.23(3)(d), which requires the
court to "state on the record its reasons for selecting
a particular sentence." See State v. Thacker,
862 N.W.2d 402, 407 (Iowa 2015). The reasons for the
requirement are (1) to provide the reviewing court a record
upon which it can determine whether the trial court has
abused its discretion in sentencing, (2) to preserve a
defendant's right to challenge the court's exercise
of discretion, and (3) to ensure the defendant is aware of
the consequences of the criminal act. Id. at 409.
reporting of the sentence may be waived, and the sentence,
including the reasons for the particular sentence, can be
done in writing as a part of the sentencing order. State
v. Thompson, 856 N.W.2d 915, 920 (Iowa 2014). In doing
so the court can use a form order and check boxes indicating
the reasons. Id. at 920-21. If the
defendant waives reporting and the court fails to set out
reasons for the sentencing, the court is considered to have
abused its discretion. Id. at 921. Vague and
generalized comments are inadequate under the rules.
State v. Cooper, 403 N.W.2d 800, 802 (Iowa Ct. App.
1987). The stated reasons may be terse and succinct so long
as the statements are adequate to permit a review. State