DES MOINES — A House committee has passed legislation that supporters say would equalize Iowa’s criminal sentencing guidelines.
Representative Ann Meyer of Fort Dodge says when defendants accused of domestic abuse assault are sentenced, current law says any related conviction or deferred judgment in the past 12 years — in any state — may to be taken into consideration. “When determining whether the current violation is a second or subsequent offense,” Meyer says. That’s not the guideline in drug-related cases, when all previous conviction may be considered.
Representative Beth Wessel-Kroeschell of Ames is among the handful of Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee who voted against the bill. “I am concerned about completely eliminating this second chance,” Wessel-Kroeschell says.
The organization that represents about one-thousand Iowa trial lawyers opposes the bill. County attorneys and the attorney general support it and the Iowa Organization for Victim Assistance backs the bill, too.