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State v. Koppes

Court of Appeals of Iowa

January 9, 2020

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
TASHA LYNNE KOPPES, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dubuque County, Mark T. Hostager, District Associate Judge.

         Tasha Koppes appeals her sentence following her guilty plea to interference with official acts resulting in bodily injury.

          Christopher C. Fry and Alyssa M. Carlson of O'Conner & Thomas, P.C., Dubuque, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Genevieve Reinkoester, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Mullins and Ahlers, JJ.

          VAITHESWARAN, PRESIDING JUDGE.

         The State originally charged Tasha Koppes with the aggravated misdemeanor crime of "assault on persons in certain occupations-bodily injury." See Iowa Code § 708.3A(3) (2017). Koppes pled guilty to interference with official acts resulting in bodily injury, a serious misdemeanor. See id. § 719.1(1)(c). The district court adjudged her guilty and sentenced her to 365 days in jail with all but ninety days suspended.

         On appeal, Koppes contends the court relied on impermissible factors in sentencing her. Specifically, she asserts the court "improperly considered the aggravated misdemeanor offense with which [she] was originally charged when issuing its sentence for the serious misdemeanor to which [she] pled guilty" and "improperly based [her] sentence on unprosecuted and unproven substance-related offenses."

         "A court may not consider an unproven or unprosecuted offense when sentencing a defendant unless (1) the facts before the court show the accused committed the offense, or (2) the defendant admits it." See State v. Gonzalez, 582 N.W.2d 515, 516 (Iowa 1998). Where a court considers an unproven or unprosecuted offense without a showing of or admission to the underlying facts, we will vacate the sentence and remand the case for resentencing. See State v. Sinclair, 582 N.W.2d 762, 765 (Iowa 1982).

         "A person commits interference with official acts when the person knowingly resists or obstructs anyone known by the person to be a peace officer . . . in the performance of any act which is within the scope of the lawful duty or authority of that officer." Iowa Code § 719.1(1)(a). "If [the] person commits interference with official acts, as defined in this subsection, which results in bodily injury, the person commits a serious misdemeanor. Id. § 719.1(1)(c).

         The State offered a document reflecting Koppes' criminal history. Koppes' attorney did not object to consideration of the history and made reference to Koppes' "two prior OWI's." In sentencing Koppes, the district court also referred to Koppes' prior operating-while-intoxicated offenses but went further. The court stated:

[T]his is the third time now that some alcohol- or drug-related-I don't know what the facts were of the prior OWI's but it's the third time that there has been an offense related to substance abuse and, again, I can't chalk this up to youthful inexperience. You've had the prior OWIs. You're on probation for the last OWI.

(Emphasis added.)

         The crime to which Koppes pled guilty contained no substance-abuse related element. Nor are there facts showing Koppes committed a substance-abuse related offense or admitted to such an offense. At most, the record contains defense counsel's statement that Koppes and the group she was with "knew that they'd probably be drinking" and Koppes took an Uber and booked a hotel to avoid getting "another-any kind of drinking-and-driving charge." Koppes herself ...


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