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State v. Turner

Court of Appeals of Iowa

April 17, 2019

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
SHANNON CHRISTOPHER TURNER, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Stuart P. Werling, Judge.

         Shannon Turner appeals his sentence after pleading guilty to operating while intoxicated and assault with intent to commit sexual abuse.

          JohnPatrick Brown and Katherine Drummond of Winstein, Kavensky & Cunningham, LLC, Rock Island, Illinois, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Thomas E. Bakke, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

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

          VOGEL, CHIEF JUDGE.

         On December 18, 2017, Shannon Turner drove a woman to her home while he was intoxicated. Upon arrival, Turner attempted to invite himself into the home, but the woman refused. According to the woman, he then tried to kiss her. He was able to forcefully undress her and pull his boxer shorts down around his knees. She pushed him away many times and repeatedly stated, "No," but Turner continued to attempt intercourse with her. The woman was able to discreetly call emergency services, and law enforcement intervened. Turner pled guilty to operating while intoxicated, in violation of Iowa Code section 321J.2(2)(b) (2017), and assault with intent to commit sexual abuse, in violation of Iowa Code section 709.11(3).

         The sentencing hearing was held on September 13, 2018. At the hearing, the State recommended incarceration based on the seriousness of the crime. It noted Turner's lack of criminal history but argued "when you hit it out of the ballpark in your first offense like in this case, the punishment needs to fit the crime." Next, Turner and his counsel presented many mitigating factors, including his lack of criminal history prior to this incident, his remorse, his willingness to pay any restitution to the victim, his family's dependence on him and his income, and the presentence investigation (PSI) report's recommendation of probation.[1]

         In delivering the sentence, the district court stated,

This is, in terms of criminal sentencing, somewhat of an individual and unique circumstance in that we have a crime of personal sexual assault against a person made by a Defendant who has a very minimum other criminal history.
That being said, the assaultive crime in this matter . . . has been properly described by the victim as an attempt to sexually assault her, and that's perfectly accurate. But for the intervention of law enforcement, this could have been a much, much more serious criminal charge against the Defendant.
. . . The court has read the presentence investigation, is aware that the PSI recommends probation. The Court has heard the Defendant's request for a deferred judgment . . . .
However, based on the fact that this is a crime of violence, that it was a sexually predatory crime of violence, in order to protect the public, and also based on the Defendant's substance abuse history, his treatment options available, and also his family circumstances, the court believes that the recommendation for sentencing as set forth by the State is the appropriate sentence in this matter, that incarceration is called for because of this horrific event . . . .

         The district court imposed a sentence not to exceed two years of incarceration for each offense, to ...


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