CLINTON — The Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed a prison sentence of up to 15 years this week for a DeWitt man charged with unauthorized use of a credit card.

The Court of Appeals upheld the 2019 ruling of District Court Judge Mark Fowler against Jeffery Shockey, accused of one count of unauthorized use of a credit card as an habitual offender.

Fowler sentenced Shockey to up to 15 years in October 2019, with a requirement Shockey serve a minimum of three years before parole eligibility.

Without authorization, Shockey used a company gas card taken from his former employer to buy fuel 15 times, spending more than $1,400, the Court of Appeals ruling says. Shockey appealed the sentence, asserting that the District Court should have granted him probation as recommended by the Pre-Sentence Investigation Report, the ruling says.

According to the ruling, Shockey acknowledged that the 15-year sentence fell within statutory limits for the enhanced Class D felony.

The Court of Appeals would reverse the sentence if the District Court abused its discretion in picking the punishment or if the sentencing hearing was defective, the ruling says. The Court of Appeals’ role is not to second guess the selected sentence, it said.

Shockey argued that he was a good candidate for probation because he worked full time, had children to raise, would be better able to pay restitution outside prison and was not convicted of a violent crime or drug offense that would pose an imminent public safety risk, the ruling said.

Shockey cited the Pre-Sentence Investigation Report, which recommended a suspended sentence and probation under the supervision of the Seventh Judicial District Department of Correctional Services. The Pre-Sentence Investigation preparer was in a better position than the Court to gauge his potential for success on probation, Shockey claimed.

The District Court would have been justified in granting probation to Shockey but was also justified in imposing incarceration, the ruling says. The District Court noted that the crime was Shockey’s fourth felony and Shockey made no statements of remorse.

“The court did not abuse its discretion by reaching a different prediction of Shockey’s prospects for succeeding outside of prison,” the ruling says. “All in all, the court relied on appropriate factors in rejecting Shockey’s request for probation,” the Court of Appeals ruling says.

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