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State v. Banks

Court of Appeals of Iowa

January 9, 2020

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
DION BANKS, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Joel W. Barrows, Judge.

         Dion Banks appeals his sentence for delivery of heroin.

          Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, (until withdrawal) and Maria Ruhtenberg, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.

          Dion Jeremiah Banks, Mt. Pleasant, pro se appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Israel Kodiaga, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Bower, C.J., and May and Greer, JJ.

          BOWER, Chief Judge.

         Dion Banks appeals his sentence from a conviction of delivery of heroin. He claims the district court abused its discretion during sentencing. We find the court did not abuse its discretion and affirm.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings

         In a Wal-Mart parking lot on the morning of October 22, 2017, Matt Brown got out of a truck driven by Brice Bennett and got into Banks's vehicle. The two vehicles then moved to a casino parking lot, where surveillance cameras recorded both vehicles. While in Banks's vehicle, Brown purchased heroin from Banks. Brown returned to Bennett's vehicle, and they travelled to a hotel where they used the heroin. Bennett overdosed on heroin that day.[1]

         On January 30, 2018, two criminal complaints for controlled-substance violations were filed against Banks. On March 12, a trial information charged Banks with delivery of heroin. Following trial in May, a jury found Banks guilty of delivery of less than 100 grams of heroin, in violation of Iowa Code section 124.401(1)(c)(1) (2017), a class "C" felony.

         At the sentencing hearing, Banks asked for his sentence to run concurrently with his sentence imposed in a separate case. The events leading to the other sentence occurred after those underlying this case, but Banks had already been sentenced in the latter before trial here. The State requested the sentences run consecutively and alluded to the amount of narcotics involved in the other case during its recommendation. The court sentenced Banks to a term of ten years' incarceration to run consecutively to his other sentence.

         II. Standard of Review

         If a sentence is within the statutory limits, we review a district court's sentencing decision for an abuse of discretion. State v. Seats, 865 N.W.2d 545, 552 (Iowa 2015). "Thus, our task on appeal is not to second guess the decision made by the district court, but to determine if it was unreasonable or based on untenable grounds." Id. at 553 (citation omitted). "In other words, ...


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