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State v. Lathrop

Court of Appeals of Iowa

January 23, 2019

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
HAROLD LATHROP, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Marshall County, Kim M. Riley, District Associate Judge.

         A defendant appeals his sentence and restitution order after pleading guilty to theft and driving while barred. AFFIRMED.

          Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Ashley Stewart, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kyle P. Hanson, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Mullins and Bower, JJ.

          TABOR, PRESIDING JUDGE.

         Harold Lathrop challenges his sentence for second-degree theft and driving while barred. First, he contends the district court did not provide sufficient reasons for the sentence imposed. Second, he argues the district court abused its discretion by holding him responsible for an unknown amount of restitution without determining he had the reasonable ability to pay. Because the district court gave effect to the parties' plea agreement when imposing the sentence and had not yet issued the final plan of restitution, we affirm.

         I. Facts and Prior Proceedings

         Lathrop faced criminal charges for writing an insufficient-funds check to Menards and driving his truck to pick up the merchandise without a valid license. After reaching an agreement with the State, Lathrop pleaded guilty to second-degree theft and driving while barred. In exchange, the State dismissed several less serious charges and recommended terms of imprisonment, fines, costs, and restitution. During the plea hearing, the court heard the negotiated provisions and ensured the parties' assent to the terms. Consistent with those terms, the court imposed indeterminate two-year and five-year prison sentences to run concurrently.

         In a February 2018 judgment entry, the court ordered Lathrop to pay victim restitution of $1137.16, court costs including correctional fees "as certified by the Sheriff, "[1] and court-appointed attorney fees. In the judgment entry, the court did not determine Lathrop's reasonable ability to pay restitution. Lathrop appeals.

         II. Analysis

         A. Reasons for Sentence

         We review sentencing decisions for an abuse of discretion. State v. Crooks, 911 N.W.2d 153, 161 (Iowa 2018). "A district court abuses its discretion when it exercises its discretion on grounds clearly untenable or to an extent clearly unreasonable." State v. Hill, 878 N.W.2d 269, 272 (Iowa 2016).

         Iowa Rule of Criminal Procedure 2.23(3)(d) requires the district court to "state on the record its reason for selecting the particular sentence." Id. at 273. This requirement "ensures defendants are well aware of the consequences of their criminal actions" and "affords our appellate courts the opportunity to review the discretion of the sentencing court." Id. (citing State v. Jacobs, 607 N.W.2d 679, 690 (Iowa 2000)). Even a "terse and succinct" statement may be ...


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