from the Iowa District Court for Story County, James C.
defendant appeals his sentence for lascivious acts with a
C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Linda J. Hines, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Mullins and Bower, JJ.
Samart Keochai appeals the prison sentence imposed following
his guilty plea to lascivious acts with a child. He contends
the sentencing court failed to exercise its discretion by not
considering the options of a deferred judgment or a deferred
sentence. Because Keochai was not eligible for a deferred
judgment and the court was not required to expressly reject a
deferred sentence, we affirm.
Facts and Prior Proceedings
State charged Keochai with two counts of sexual abuse in the
second degree, a class "B" felony, alleging he
repeatedly committed a sex act upon a child under the age of
twelve. Keochai reached a plea bargain with the State. He
agreed to plead guilty to a reduced charge of lascivious acts
with a child, a class "C" felony, in violation of
Iowa Code section 709.8(1)(a) (2015), in return for the State
dismissing the second count of the trial information.
the agreement, the State would recommend an indeterminate
term of ten years in prison; a fine of $1000 plus surcharges;
payment of court costs, attorney fees, and victim
restitution; a special sentence under Iowa Code section
903B.1; registry as a sex offender pursuant to Iowa Code
section 692A.106; a psychosexual evaluation and successful
completion of Iowa Sex Offender Treatment program; and a
no-contact order with the victim and his family. Keochai was
"free to make his own recommendations at the time of
sentencing with the exception of not being able to request a
factual basis for the guilty plea, twenty-two-year-old
Keochai admitted "fondling" the penis of his
sentencing hearing, the prosecutor recommended Keochai serve
a prison term. Keochai requested a suspended sentence and
probation instead of incarceration. He emphasized his
employment, family support, lack of criminal history, and low
risk of reoffending according to a psychosexual assessment.
sentencing judge agonized over the decision whether to send
Keochai to prison. The judge told Keochai he had given
"a great deal of thought" to the appropriate
sentence and credited defense counsel's
"excellent" argument for probation, describing the
recommendation as "a serious one that weighs heavily on
me." But the sentencing court identified two facts that
most stood out-"the familial relationship between you
and the victim and the age of the victim." The court
decided Keochai's abuse of that ...