Abuse of Discretion Sentencing.


Byline: Derek Hawkins

WI Court of Appeals District I

Case Name: State of Wisconsin v. Angela L. Staten

Case No.: 2018AP1506-CR

Officials: Kessler, P.J., Brennan and Brash, JJ.

Focus: Abuse of Discretion Sentencing

Angela L. Staten appeals from a judgment of conviction and an order denying her postconviction motion for sentencing relief. She seeks a new sentencing hearing. Staten and two codefendantsher sisters Sharon and Tawandawere charged in connection with a tax fraud scheme carried out over a period of three years that cost the State of Wisconsin $234,390. Pursuant to a plea agreement, Staten pleaded guilty to one felony count of theft by false representation and four felony counts of identity theft, each with a felony repeater enhancer. Thirty-five additional felony counts were dismissed and read in. She was the first of the three codefendants sentenced. She seeks resentencing on two grounds: first, that her sentence was unduly harsh because it is longer than the sentences the trial court later imposed on her codefendants; and second, that the trial court erroneously exercised its discretion by failing to articulate a basis for imposing prison time rather than probation on counts four and five.

We conclude that Staten is not entitled to resentencing because she has not met her burden to show that the trial court "based its determination upon factors not proper in or irrelevant to sentencing, or was influenced by motives inconsistent with impartiality." See Jung v. State, 32 Wis. 2d 541, 548, 145 N.W.2d 684 (1966). As to her first claim, although the codefendants all participated in the same scheme, they were not similarly situated for sentencing purposes: Staten's codefendants had fewer prior convictions, fewer open cases, pled guilty to fewer counts, had fewer dismissed counts read in, and had only misdemeanor repeater enhancers rather than felony repeater enhancers. Staten has...

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