State of Utah, v. Garcia

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State v. Garcia. Filed April 29, 1999 IN THE UTAH COURT OF APPEALS


State of Utah,
Plaintiff and Appellee,


Robert Eloy Garcia,
Defendant and Appellant.

(Not For Official Publication)

Case No. 981617-CA

April 29, 1999
  1999 UT App 142 -----

Fourth District, Provo Department
The Honorable Steven L. Hansen

Dana M. Facemyer, Provo, for Appellant
Jan Graham and Christine F. Soltis, Salt Lake City, for Appellee


Before Judges Greenwood, Davis, and Jackson.


It cannot be said that the trial court abused its discretion in sentencing Garcia as it did. See State v. Nuttall, 861 P.2d 454, 456 (Utah Ct. App. 1993) (stating that we review the sentencing decisions of a trial court for abuse of discretion). The trial court sentenced Garcia within prescribed limits for the offenses to which he pleaded, a second and a third degree felony. See Utah Code Ann. § 76-3-203, -301. It was not obligated to follow the sentencing recommendation of Adult Probation and Parole. See State v. Houk, 906 P.2d 907, 909 (Utah Ct. App. 1995)(per curiam) (stating that "a trial court is not bound by the sentencing recommendations of Adult Probation and Parole or by the requests of the parties"). In fact, Garcia avowed, in his statement before pleading guilty, that he understood the penalties he could receive and understood that sentencing recommendations were not binding on the court.

In sentencing Garcia the trial court was influenced by the nature of the subject offenses (stabbing an individual in the abdomen and threatening a potential State witness), by Garcia's violent and lengthy criminal history, and by its concerns about the risk Garcia would pose to the community. The trial court felt that Garcia, in spite of his age, would better understand the severity of his offenses if imprisoned and would have more resources available to assist in his rehabilitation in prison. We cannot say that this assessment is unreasonable.

Since Garcia's sentence is within legally prescribed limits and we find no abuse of discretion, his conviction is affirmed. We further conclude that Garcia's counsel has abided by the requirements of State v. Clayton, 639 P.2d 168, 169-70 (Utah 1981) and grant counsel's motion to withdraw.

Pamela T. Greenwood,
Associate Presiding Judge

James Z. Davis, Judge

Norman H. Jackson, Judge