Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

Local News

June 11, 2014

Smith sentence affirmed

Des Moines — The Court of Appeals of Iowa has upheld the conviction and vacated a portion of Jake Christian Smith's sentence. 

Smith pled guilty to sexual exploitation of a minor and third degree sexual abuse in May 2013. Smith, with Jordan Donovan Cowman, secretly recorded an underage girl performing oral sex on Smith. The video was spread to others, including Smith's ex-girlfriend. The ex-girlfriend attacked the victim in response, which is what led the Knoxville Police Department to the crime. 

Judge Randy Hefner sentenced Smith to 10 years per count, with the sentences running concurrently. The court also entered a no-contact order preventing Smith from having contact from minors under age 18 for five years and he was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of his court-appointed attorney fees. 

According to Smith's appeal, he accused the court of relying on his "lack of focus in life. The Court of Appeals disagrees.

"The record clearly shows the court considered Smith's age, criminal record, employment circumstances, family circumstances, educational status, substance abuse history, mental health issues and risk to re-offend," the appeals court writes. "The court also considered the nature of the offense and the goals of sentencing to protect the community, and to maximize Smith's opportunity for rehabilitation. Accordingly, we find the court properly exercised its discretion." 

Smith's appeal also challenges the five-year no contact order. The appeals court agrees and has vacated the portion of the order which prohibits his contact with all juveniles under age 18. Smith's challenge to restitution did not have sufficient basis for the Court of Appeals to consider. 

"The sentencing court considered statutory and other relevant factors and did not abuse its discretion in selecting the sentence of imprisonment, so we affirm that decision," the Court of Appeals writes. "The breadth of the no-contact order was unreasonable and exceeded statutory authority by covering persons not defined as victims. Accordingly, we vacate the no-contact order entered as part of the sentence and remand for entry of a no-contact order that complies with statutory authority." 

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