from the Iowa District Court for Story County, Adria A.D.
Lester appeals his sentences for two counts of robbery and
two counts of burglary.
C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, (until withdrawal) and
Martha J. Lucey and Brenda J. Gohr, Assistant Appellate
Defenders, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Louis S. Sloven, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Doyle, P.J., May, J., and Carr, S.J. [*]
Lester appeals his sentences for two counts of robbery in the
second degree and two counts of burglary in the first degree.
See Iowa Code §§ 711.3, 713.3 (2017). He
appeals the provisions of his sentences that impose: fines
for his robbery charges without suspending the fines,
consecutive sentences, court costs and attorney fees, and law
enforcement initiative surcharges. We find the court did not
abuse its discretion in imposing the fines or in running his
sentences consecutively. However, the court erred in imposing
costs and fees without evaluating his reasonable ability to
pay and in imposing law enforcement initiative surcharges for
his robbery charges without statutory authorization.
Therefore, we vacate his sentences in part and remand for
Background Facts and Proceedings
January 16, 2018, Lester pled guilty to four separate counts
contained in FECR055820 and FECR055930. In FECR055820, he
pled guilty to committing burglary in the first degree and
robbery in the second degree at an Ames address on July 24,
2017. In FECR055930, he pled guilty to committing burglary in
the first degree and robbery in the second degree at a Nevada
address on July 31, 2017. The parties entered into a plea
agreement as part of the plea. For each burglary charge, the
parties agreed to recommend a term of incarceration not to
exceed twenty-five years plus costs, fees, and restitution.
For each robbery charge, the parties agreed to recommend a
term of incarceration not to exceed ten years and a $1000
fine, suspended, plus costs, fees, and restitution. The
parties also agreed to recommend running the terms of
incarceration for each burglary charge concurrently with each
related robbery charge, with the total terms of incarceration
for FECR055820 and FECR055930 run consecutively. On February
26, the court entered the sentencing order, which includes
the following provisions: terms of incarceration as described
in the plea agreement; a $1000 fine for each robbery charge,
not suspended; "restitution in an amount to be
determined at a later time" for each charge; and "a
$125 law enforcement initiative surcharge" for each
charge. Lester appeals.
Standard of Review
sentence is within the statutory limits, we review the
sentence for abuse of discretion. 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. When the defendant
claims the sentence is outside the statutory limits, we
review the sentence for correction of errors at law.
Fine for Robbery
argues the district court erred in imposing, but not
suspending, a fine for each robbery charge. He specifically
argues the court erroneously believed it had no authority to
suspend his fines. Our supreme court has not ruled on whether
a trial court has authority to suspend the fine for a
forcible felony. If there is no such authority, his argument
must fail. However, regardless of whether the court had the
authority to suspend his fines, the sentencing transcript
shows the court considered and declined to suspend the fine
for each robbery charge, on the merits, without citing any