Donnelly v. Municipality of Anchorage, 041520 AKCA, A-13257

Docket Nº:A-13257
Opinion Judge:HARBISON, JUDGE
Party Name:CARLTON WILLIAM DONNELLY, Appellant, v. MUNICIPALITY OF ANCHORAGE, Appellee.
Attorney:Matthew Michalski, Attorney at Law, Anchorage, for the Appellant. Sarah E. Stanley, Assistant Municipal Prosecutor, and Rebecca A. Windt Pearson, Municipal Attorney, Anchorage, for the Appellee.
Judge Panel:Before: Allard, Chief Judge, and Wollenberg and Harbison, Judges.
Case Date:April 15, 2020
Court:Court of Appeals of Alaska
 
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CARLTON WILLIAM DONNELLY, Appellant,

v.

MUNICIPALITY OF ANCHORAGE, Appellee.

No. A-13257

Court of Appeals of Alaska

April 15, 2020

UNPUBLISHED See Alaska Appellate Rule 214(d)

Appeal from the District Court, Third Judicial District, Trial Court Nos. 3AN-16-09671 CR, 3AN-17-08670 CR, & 3AN-17-09182 CR Anchorage, Douglas Kossler, Judge.

Matthew Michalski, Attorney at Law, Anchorage, for the Appellant.

Sarah E. Stanley, Assistant Municipal Prosecutor, and Rebecca A. Windt Pearson, Municipal Attorney, Anchorage, for the Appellee.

Before: Allard, Chief Judge, and Wollenberg and Harbison, Judges.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

HARBISON, JUDGE

Carlton William Donnelly pleaded no contest to fear assault, resisting arrest, and unlawful contact.[1] He received a composite sentence of 2.5 years with approximately 6 months suspended, or approximately 2 years to serve.

On appeal, Donnelly argues that his sentence violates the Neal-Mutschler rule. Under the Neal-Mutschler rule, "where consecutive sentences for two or more counts exceed the maximum sentence for any single count, the sentencing judge should make a formal finding that confinement for the combined term is necessary to protect the public, "[2] or to serve other sentencing goals.3 Here, the maximum sentence for the most serious counts was 1 year, 4 but Donnelly received a composite sentence of approximately 2 years.

Donnelly points out that the sentencing judge did not make a formal finding that confinement for longer than the maximum sentence for the most serious count was necessary. But even when the sentencing court fails to make a formal finding, this Court may affirm a composite sentence that exceeds the Neal-Mutschler ceiling if the sentencing record contains "ample evidence" that the longer sentence was justified.5

The sentencing record in Donnelly's case contains ample evidence that the longer sentence was justified. The district court found that Donnelly was a worst offender with respect to the fear assault (a finding that is not challenged on appeal). The court also noted that Donnelly had sixteen prior convictions over the previous two decades, and that this was Donnelly's sixth conviction for assaultive conduct and his fourth conviction for unlawful contact. Finally, although Donnelly's three convictions were factually connected, they concerned three separate criminal incidents that occurred over the course of...

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