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Review – Factors – Gallion – Generally

State v. Chad W. Ziegler, 2006 WI App 49, PFR filed 3/13/06
For Ziegler: Kenneth P. Casey, UW Law School

Issue/Holding:

¶32      We conclude that the trial court’s sentencing remarks satisfy Hall as to the reasons for the consecutive sentences and Gallion as to the reasons for the length of the sentence. As noted, the trial court engaged in a thorough and exhaustive examination of the relevant sentencing objectives and factors. This discourse clearly reveals that the court considered Ziegler’s character, as represented by his multiple crimes in this case and the numerous other offenses then pending against him, and the corresponding need to protect the public, as the most compelling factors in this sentencing. [7] 

¶33      … As Gallion notes, a sentencing court may use the recommendations of counsel and any PSI report as “touchstones” in the sentencing decision. Here, the trial court used the recommendations of the State and the PSI as “touchstones,” but explained why it was fashioning a sentence less than those recommendations. Given that backdrop, we are not left to wonder why the court fashioned an aggregate confinement sentence of ten and one-half years.

¶34      Distilled to its core, Ziegler’s argument that the trial court did not explain the reasons for the ten and one-half year period of confinement is really one that augurs for mathematical precision in sentencing, a proposition that Gallion expressly disavows. Instead, Gallion requires “an explanation for the general range of the sentence imposed.” Gallion, 270 Wis.  2d 535, ¶49. The trial court’s sentencing remarks well satisfy this requirement.

¶35      As to Ziegler’s complaint that the trial court did not adequately explain why it imposed consecutive sentences, we recall what we have already recited regarding Ziegler’s substantial contacts with the criminal justice system. … Based on the totality of the history Ziegler presented, the trial court reasonably chose to impose escalating consecutive penalties both by way of increased sentences for the second and third burglaries.

The court of appeals also indicates (¶27) that “the sufficiency of the trial court’s reasons to impose periods of confinement” is beyond challenge, “because the court’s sentencing remarks are a textbook example of a proper consideration of the relevant sentencing objectives and factors.”

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