The Iowa Supreme Court has issued a ruling that reprimands judges who fail to outline the reasons for the sentences them impose. The case at hand involved a man who pleaded guilty to possession of both meth and pot. He was fined five-hundred dollars, his driver’s license was revoked and he was sentenced to 180 days in jail. But the written order in the court record did not state any reasons for the sentence, and the man appealed, saying the judge should have put him on probation instead.
While the Iowa Supreme Court has upheld the sentence on technical reasons, Justice Mark Cady lectured the judge in this case and others for failing to “fastidiously follow” the court’s wish that the reasons for imposing a sentence be written down in the court record. Cady said by doing so, judges give higher courts, like the Supreme Court, better background if the case is appealed.