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State v. Moore

Supreme Court of Iowa

December 13, 2019

STATE OF IOWA, Appellee,
v.
DAIRRAMEY MOORE, Appellant.

         On review from the Iowa Court of Appeals.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Clinton County, Mary Howes, Judge.

         Defendant seeks further review of court of appeals decision affirming his conviction and sentence.

          Shellie L. Knipfer, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Linda J. Hines, Assistant Attorney General, Mike Wolf, County Attorney, and Amanda Myers, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee.

          WATERMAN, JUSTICE.

         When a sentencing court indicates it lacks "wiggle room" regarding whether to reduce a five-year minimum prison sentence, should we conclude that the court did not understand it had discretion to do so and thus failed to exercise its discretion? We reach that conclusion on this record and remand for resentencing.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         A jury could find these facts from the trial testimony. Dairramey Moore and a companion went to a home in Clinton to collect beer money owed them by an occupant. The home was equipped with surveillance cameras, and a witness placed Moore on the east side of the house. Shots rang out, and Moore was shown on video running away with his right hand in his pocket. The physical evidence showed shots had been fired from the east side into the home and from inside the house out towards that side. Moore was charged with (1) intimidation with a dangerous weapon, (2) going armed with intent, and (3) reckless use of a firearm. A jury found Moore guilty of the first and third counts.

         At the sentencing hearing, the State requested a sentence of incarceration up to ten years on count one (intimidation with a dangerous weapon). The State noted that count one is a forcible felony with incarceration required under Iowa Code section 907.3 (2018) and that section 902.7 imposed a minimum sentence of five years. The State noted, "[T]he Defendant stood outside of a residence in a neighborhood and shot inside of the house where people were present, so the State certainly feels that incarceration would be appropriate." The court then elicited defense counsel's response, as follows:

THE COURT: Mr. Kroeger, what would you like to say on Mr. Moore's behalf?
MR. KROEGER: Well, we don't have too much wiggle room here.
THE COURT: I'm sorry, what?
MR. KROEGER: We don't have too much wiggle ...

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