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State v. Alexander

Court of Appeals of Iowa

June 20, 2018

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
ANTONIO LUIS ALEXANDER, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Gregory D. Brandt, District Associate Judge.

         Antonio Luis Alexander appeals from the sentence imposed following his guilty plea.

          Michael H. Johnson of the Johnson Law Firm, Spirit Lake, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Sheryl A. Soich, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Mullins and McDonald, JJ.

          DANILSON, CHIEF JUDGE.

         Antonio Luis Alexander was charged with assaulting a bystander who attempted to intervene in an altercation between Alexander and his girlfriend in a parking lot. Alexander punched the bystander in the head multiple times and knocked him to the ground, injuring him.

         On September 21, 2017, Alexander filed a written guilty plea to the charge of assault causing bodily injury or mental illness, in violation of Iowa Code section 708.2(2) (2017). On October 2, the district court sentenced Alexander to one year in the county jail, suspended all but thirty days and gave him credit for the two days he had been in jail, and placed him on probation for a period of two years. Alexander appeals.

         "Our review of a sentence imposed in a criminal case is for correction of errors at law." State v. Formaro, 638 N.W.2d 720, 724 (Iowa 2002). "We will not reverse the decision of the district court absent an abuse of discretion or some defect in the sentencing procedure." Id.

         On appeal, Alexander asserts the court considered "one or more criminal convictions not supported in the record" and "placed undue emphasis on his past criminal history without considering his family circumstances and employment."[1]

         At sentencing, the State urged the court to order a jail sentence because:

The defendant does also have a lengthy criminal history, which would warrant the lengthy criminal sentence. Back in '99 he had a domestic abuse without intent causing injury; 2001, domestic abuse; 2001, an escape charge; a second escape charge in 2001; 2002, possession of controlled substance. All of those he was given probation on which he was later revoked. He went to Oakdale in 2003. He was discharged in 2005. In May of 2005 then he was charged with driving while barred and once again granted probation. [In] 2006, controlled substance second offense. 2007, controlled substance, third or subsequent offense, went back to Oakdale in 2008, which he was discharged in 2010.
Given the prior domestic abuse charges, given the t[wo] instances of incarceration and the multiple opportunities the defendant has been given at probation in the past and the nature of the offense, I do think a lengthy jail stay would be appropriate of 120 days.

         The trial court observed Alexander "has had things since [2007], actually, if you-I looked at his current history as ...


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