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Case No. 21-1891

State of Iowa
v.
Lasondra A. Johnson

Lasondra Johnson seeks further review after the court of appeals affirmed her conviction for assault causing injury and affirmed her prison sentence. Johnson argues the court of appeals erred when it determined the district court accurately instructed the jury regarding Johnson’s justification defense. Johnson further argues the court of appeals erred in finding the district court did not apply a fixed sentencing policy or rely on improper considerations.

County:
Black Hawk
Trial Court Case No.:
FECR238076

Resister

State of Iowa

Applicant

Lasondra A. Johnson

Attorney for the Resister

Bridget A. Chambers

Attorney for the Applicant

Mary K. Conroy

Supreme Court

Oral Argument Schedule

15-15-5

Apr 04, 2024 9:30 AM Neal & Bea Smith Law Center

Briefs

Court of Appeals

Court of Appeals Opinion

Opinion Number:
21-1891
Date Published:
Oct 25, 2023
Summary

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Joel A. Dalrymple, Judge.  CONVICTION AFFIRMED, AND SENTENCE AFFIRMED IN PART, REVERSED IN PART, AND REMANDED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., Chicchelly, J., and Doyle, S.J.  Opinion by Doyle, S.J. (10 pages)

            A jury acquitted Lasondra Johnson of first-degree murder but found her guilty of the lesser-included offense of assault causing a serious injury.  Johnson contends that insufficient evidence supports two of the instructions addressing her justification defense.  She argues that the facts do not support giving either instruction because the evidence did not show she was engaged in an assault when she shot the decedent.  Johnson next challenges the order requiring her to pay $150,000 in victim restitution under Iowa Code section 910.3B(1) (2020).  Finally, Johnson contends the district court abused its discretion in sentencing her to a five-year prison sentence.  OPINION HOLDS: Because a reasonable mind could conclude Johnson was engaged in an assault when she fired her gun, the court did not err in giving challenged instructions.  A jury must find the defendant caused the death of another before the court can impose restitution under section 910.3B.  No such finding was made here, so the restitution award must be vacated.  Because the sentencing court properly exercised its sentencing discretion and did not rely on an improper factor in imposing sentence, we affirm Johnson’s sentence.

Other Information

Date Further Review is Granted:
Feb 08, 2024
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