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State v. Thompson

Court of Appeals of Iowa

February 20, 2019

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
TRACY ADAM THOMPSON, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Jeffrey L. Harris, District Associate Judge.

         Defendant appeals his convictions and sentence for public intoxication and assault.

          Elizabeth Araguas of Nidey, Erdahl, Fisher, Pilkington & Meier P.L.C., Cedar Rapids, for appellant.

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

          Considered by Vogel, C.J., Vaitheswaran, J., and Blane, S.J. [*]

          VOGEL, CHIEF JUDGE.

         Tracy Adam Thompson appeals his convictions and sentence for public intoxication, third offense; two counts of assault on persons in certain occupations; and interference with official acts. Thompson argues the district court abused its discretion by "suggesting" or "pronouncing" the maximum sentence before trial and for considering Thompson's refusal to plead guilty as a factor in sentencing. Because the district court appropriately encouraged Thompson to consider all possible consequences before proceeding to trial, fully informed him of the sentencing possibilities, and used only permissible factors in sentencing, we affirm.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         In the late afternoon of July 28, 2017, law enforcement received a call regarding a "male subject causing some issues with traffic," including kicking trash cans into traffic and approaching vehicles. Officers Jordan Ehlers and Marc Jasper responded to the call and approached the subject, later identified as Thompson. Officer Ehlers noticed the smell of alcohol, but he testified that he and Officer Jasper "gave [Thompson] the chance to go home and sent him on his way." At approximately 8:30 that evening, the officers received a call from a bar reporting a male subject whose description matched Thompson and was "causing issues" after the establishment refused to serve him alcohol due to his intoxication. By the time the officers arrived at the bar, the individual had left.

         The officers received another call around 9:30 from a woman reporting a man punched her husband, and she described the man as "a white male that was wearing a white shirt, and he was bald." Officer Enis Mrzljak responded to the call. Officer Mrzljak approached Thompson and noticed a strong odor of alcohol, bloodshot eyes, and a staggered walk. Officers Ehlers and Jasper also arrived at the scene, and Officer Jasper asked Thompson to provide a sample of his breath for a preliminary breath test (PBT). Thompson refused and Officer Jasper informed him that he would be placed under arrest. When Officer Jasper attempted to handcuff Thompson, Thompson called Officer Jasper a "f***ing bitch" and spit in his face. A struggle ensued, which involved Thompson hitting, again spitting at, and kicking Officer Ehlers in the face. Eventually, the officers were able to handcuff Thompson, place him in a squad car, and transport him to the jail. Thompson was charged with one count of public intoxication, two counts of assault on persons in certain occupations, and one count of interference with official acts.[1]

         A trial was held on October 24 and 25, 2017, after which the jury returned a verdict finding Thompson guilty on all four counts. At a sentencing hearing, Thompson was sentenced to an indeterminate term not to exceed two years for public intoxication third offense; a term of 365 days for each count of assault on persons in certain occupations; and a term of thirty days for the interference with official acts count. All of the sentences were ordered to run consecutively. Thompson appeals.

         II. Standard of Review

         "We use the abuse of discretion standard if the sentence is within the statutory limits." State v. Seats, 865 N.W.2d 545, 552 (Iowa 2015). "[A] district court did not abuse its discretion if the evidence supports the sentence." Id. at 553.

         III. ...


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