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State v. Jacobs

Court of Appeals of Iowa

January 9, 2019

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
SHANE MICHAEL JACOBS, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Hancock County, Gregg R. Rosenbladt, Judge.

         The defendant appeals from his sentences for willful injury causing bodily injury and domestic abuse assault by impeding airflow.

          Jeffrey M. Lipman of Lipman Law Firm, P.C., West Des Moines, for appellant.

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

          Considered by Potterfield, P.J., Doyle, J., and Danilson, S.J. [*]

          POTTERFIELD, PRESIDING JUDGE.

         Shane Jacobs appeals from his sentences for willful injury causing bodily injury and domestic abuse assault by impeding airflow-both class "D" felonies. Jacobs was sentenced to two terms of incarceration not to exceed five years, and he was ordered to serve the sentences concurrently. He maintains the sentencing court abused its discretion by placing more weight on negative factors and failing to consider properly the mitigating factors.

         "[T]he decision of the district court to impose a particular sentence within the statutory limits is cloaked with a strong presumption in its favor, and will only be overturned for an abuse of discretion or the consideration of inappropriate matters." State v. Bentley, 757 N.W.2d 257, 262 (Iowa 2008) (alteration in original) (citation omitted). "Abuse of discretion occurs only when 'the decision was exercised on grounds or for reasons that were clearly untenable or unreasonable.'" Id. (citation omitted).

         Here, both of Jacobs's sentences are within the statutory limits. See Iowa Code §§ 708.4(2) (2016) (defining willful injury causing bodily injury as a "D" felony); 708.2A(5) (defining "domestic abuse assault committed by knowingly impeding the normal breathing . . . and causing bodily injury" as a "D" felony); 902.9(1)(e) (providing a "class 'D' felon, not an habitual offender, shall be confined for no more than five years"). We acknowledge that Jacobs's therapist and the preparer of the presentence-investigation report encouraged the court to suspend Jacobs's terms of incarceration and impose probation, but we note that the court did not impose the most severe sentence at its disposal. See, e.g., State v. August, 589 N.W.2d 740, 744-45 (Iowa 1999) (upholding the court's use of discretion to impose consecutive, rather than concurrent, sentences). And the State urged the court to impose the sentence Jacobs ultimately received.

         Additionally, before sentencing Jacobs to two five-years terms, the court explicitly considered a number of factors, stating:

All right. And I wanted to explain . . . that I saw [the character references] come in yesterday, and I knew that I had a sentencing hearing coming up today, and so I went through all those yesterday afternoon when they came in. I just started at the beginning, and I read through all of them. . . .
. . . .
And so, Mr. Jacobs, you know, the court has considered a lot of factors in terms of this sentencing, and I've also considered the recommendation made in the presentence investigation report. And the court is aware that you're 41 years of age. The court is aware of your employment history and the fact that you are presently employed at Landus. And you do have a home that you own and that you're maintaining. The court is aware that you do have a daughter at home that lives with you.
Your prior record was summarized by [the prosecutor], and I don't believe there were any objections to that portion of the PSI. But you do have a prior assault back in Linn County; fine for that. That was over 20 years ago, 1996. Possession of controlled substance in Cedar Rapids; that was in 2012. You were granted a deferred judgment for that and received probation. And then that deferred was later revoked, and you were sentenced on that and served two days in jail and were given a fine. Then in 2003, Cedar Rapids, operating while intoxicated, first offense, and two days in jail and thousand-dollar fine. Hiawatha, Iowa, 2006, operating while under the influence, second offense. And you received 67 days in jail, all but seven days suspended. And probation in that matter and a fine. Then ...

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