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Sentencing Review – Factors – Public Protection

State v. Eduardo Jose Trigueros, 2005 WI App 112
For Trigueros: Eileen Miller Carter

Issue: Whether the trial court erroneously exercised sentencing discretion by placing too much weight on the need to protect the public, by placing defendant on probation with one year in the House of Correction, on possession with intent to deliver one gram or less of cocaine, where the State sought a sentence of 38 months including 14 months’ initial confinement.

Holding:

¶6        The three primary factors a sentencing court must consider are the gravity of the offense, the character of the defendant, and the need to protect the public. State v. Harris, 119 Wis.  2d 612, 623, 350 N.W.2d 633, 639 (1984). … The weight given to each of these factors is within the trial court’s discretion.  Ocanas v. State, 70 Wis. 2d 179, 185, 233 N.W.2d 457, 461 (1975); see also Gallion, 2004 WI 42, ¶62, 270 Wis. 2d at 566, 678 N.W.2d at 211.

¶7        The trial court considered the appropriate factors when it sentenced Trigueros.  It considered the seriousness of the crime, describing the devastating impact drugs have on families and children.  It commented that not only do parents and children become addicted to drugs, but also that:  “Drug trafficking brings violence into the neighborhoods.  And that’s exactly what the … Neighborhood Impact Statement describes here.  It points out that there was a young man who was shot over drugs.”  The trial court also considered Trigueros’s character, noting that he had no prior criminal record and that he was involved in a drug treatment program.  In its decision and order denying Trigueros’s motion for postconviction relief, the trial court further explained that at sentencing it had placed great weight on the negative impact drug dealing has on the community.  It noted that it was aware of Trigueros’s positive character traits, but that Trigueros’s “willingness to become part of the problem by selling drugs reflected negatively upon his character and greatly influenced [its] sentencing decision.”  The trial court properly exercised its sentencing discretion.

 

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