from the Iowa District Court for Hardin County, Paul B.
Ahlers, District Associate Judge.
Knipfel appeals his sentence for operating while intoxicated,
R. Frese of Kaplan & Frese, LLP, Marshalltown, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Sheryl Soich, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and May, JJ.
Knipfel pled guilty to operating while intoxicated (OWI),
second offense, in violation of Iowa Code section 321J.2
(2018). By agreement, the parties recommended a sentence of
365 days in jail, with all but ten days suspended, and
probation. The presentence investigation report (PSI) also
recommended a suspended jail term and probation. The district
court sentenced Knipfel to a term of incarceration not to
exceed two years. On appeal, Knipfel argues this sentence
constitutes an abuse of discretion. We disagree.
undisputed that Knipfel's sentence fell within the
statutory limits. See Iowa Code § 321J.2(4)(a).
"[T]he decision of the district court to impose a
particular sentence within the statutory limits is cloaked
with a strong presumption in its favor, and will only be
overturned for an abuse of discretion or the consideration of
inappropriate matters." State v. Formaro, 638
N.W.2d 720, 724 (Iowa 2002). "An abuse of discretion is
found only when the sentencing court exercises its discretion
on grounds or for reasons clearly untenable or to an extent
clearly unreasonable." State v. Thomas, 547
N.W.2d 223, 225 (Iowa 1996). Knipfel "has the burden of
showing an abuse of discretion." State v.
Harris, 528 N.W.2d 133, 135 (Iowa Ct. App. 1994).
does not allege the district court considered impermissible
factors at sentencing. Rather, he disagrees with the manner
in which the court weighed permissible sentencing factors and
questions the court's motivation at sentencing. He
contends the court should have fashioned a sentence tailored
to provide for his rehabilitation rather than a punitive
sentence prioritizing community safety. Yet Iowa Code section
901.5 requires sentencing courts to consider what sentence
"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."
(Emphasis added). In explaining its reasons for the sentence
imposed, the court noted that the present conviction is
Knipfel's third OWI conviction. The court observed that
the punishments for Knipfel's prior OWIs-jail time and,
in one instance, probation-had not created a sufficient
deterrent. Despite those prior sentences, Knipfel continued
to endanger his community by operating a vehicle while
intoxicated. The court hoped the imposition of a more severe
sentence would prove a more effective deterrent for Knipfel
moving forward. We find nothing improper in these efforts to
protect the community by reforming Knipfel's pattern of
behavior. See Iowa Code § 901.5.
we find the court abused its discretion by placing greater
significance on certain sentencing factors than others.
Cf. Formaro, 638 N.W.2d at 725 (noting sentencing
factors include "nature of the offense, the attending
circumstances, the age, character and propensity of the
offender, and the chances of reform"). The exercise of
sentencing discretion requires each sentencing judge to
"act within legal parameters according to the dictates
of a judge's own conscience, uncontrolled by the judgment
of others." Id.
the court did not abuse its discretion by declining to adopt
the recommendation contained in the PSI. State v.
Headley, 926 N.W.2d 545, 552 (Iowa 2019)
("Moreover, we have previously held any sentencing
recommendations contained in the PSI are not binding on the
court."). Nor did the court abuse its discretion by
imposing a sentence that differed from the parties'
recommendation. In his written guilty plea, Knipfel
acknowledged his understanding that the court "may
reject any plea agreement and sentence [him] up to the
maximum provided by law," namely, "imprisonment for
not more than 2 years." See, e.g., State v.
Worby, No. 17-1832, 2018 WL 4360995, at *1 (Iowa Ct.
App. Sept. 12, 2018) (finding court did not abuse its
discretion when it considered relevant sentencing factors and
imposed a different sentence than requested by the
defendant); State v. Smith, No. 16-0700, 2016 WL
6902854, at *1 (Iowa Ct. App. Nov. 23, 2016) (finding court
did not abuse its discretion when the defendant merely
disagreed with the imposed sentence); State v.
Childs, No. 14-1950, 2016 WL 1130283, at *1 (Iowa Ct.
App. Mar. 23, 2016) (same).
court's careful consideration of pertinent sentencing
factors shows that the court thoughtfully and properly
exercised its discretion in choosing an appropriate sentence.
We decline to ...