from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Carla T.
defendant challenges his sentence, arguing the district court
should have granted him probation instead of sentencing him
to a term of imprisonment.
Tabitha L. Turner of Turner Law Firm, PLLC, West Des Moines,
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Linda J. Hines, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Tabor and Bower, JJ.
POTTERFIELD, PRESIDING JUDGE.
Reynolds pled guilty to possession of a controlled substance
with intent to deliver (marijuana), second or subsequent
offense; failure to affix a drug tax stamp; and possession of
a controlled substance (heroin), third offense. The district
court ordered Reynolds to serve three concurrent sentences
for a total term of incarceration not to exceed fifteen
years. On appeal, Reynolds maintains the court abused its
discretion by imposing a term of incarceration rather than
granting his request for probation.
as here, a defendant does not assert that the imposed
sentence is outside the statutory limits, the sentence will
be set aside only for an abuse of discretion." State
v. Thomas, 547 N.W.2d 223, 225 (Iowa 1996). To establish
an abuse of discretion, "the defendant must demonstrate
the court's sentencing decision was based on clearly
untenable grounds or reasons, or the court exercised it
discretion to an extent clearly unreasonable." State
v. Adams, 554 N.W.2d 686, 693 (Iowa 1996). The sentence
imposed by the district court is "cloaked with a strong
presumption in" its favor. Thomas, 547 N.W.2d
maintains the court abused its discretion because its
decision to impose the long prison sentence rather than grant
his request for probation "focuses more on the
punishment factor than any rehabilitation or deterrence
factor." The sentencing court is charged with
determining the sentence that "will provide maximum
opportunity for the rehabilitation of the defendant, and for
the protection of the community from further offenses by the
defendant and others." Iowa Code § 901.5 (2018).
Additionally, "[i]n exercising discretion, the district
court must 'weigh all pertinent matters in determining a
proper sentence, including the nature of the offense, the
attending circumstances, the defendant's age, character,
and propensities or chances for reform.'" State
v. Thacker, 862 N.W.2d 402, 405 (Iowa 2015) (citation
the State urged the court to impose a term of incarceration,
noting that according to Reynolds's admissions to the
preparer of the presentence-investigation report, he
continued to use opiates daily after his arrest in September
2017 until February 8, 2018. Reynolds missed his original
plea date of February 5, claiming he was entering inpatient
drug treatment, which he did not do on that date. He entered
treatment on February 8 and was later discharged as
unsuccessful. He did not complete a substance-abuse treatment
program before sentencing on April 27, 2018. The State argued
a prison term was the best option for Reynolds's
rehabilitation as it would provide him "a long period of
pronouncing sentence, the court stated:
Sir, this is a tragic case, there is no doubt about that, but
I am required, sitting on this bench and deciding what the
sentence should be, to consider not only what's good for
you, good for your child, good for your family, but also what
is most protective of individuals, citizens of the state of
This is not the first time you've been in here. This is
not your first go-around with drug addiction-or addiction.
And I find, looking at what you have attempted to do since
your arrest, at least in my estimation, is insufficient to
address the problems that you have.
I want you sober, I want you not using, and I want you with
your son, but I have a lot of ...