62 F.3d 367 (11th Cir. 1995), 94-8984, United States v. Brant

Docket Nº:94-8984.
Citation:62 F.3d 367
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. John D. BRANT, Defendant-Appellant.
Case Date:August 25, 1995
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

Page 367

62 F.3d 367 (11th Cir. 1995)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,


John D. BRANT, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 94-8984.

United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

August 25, 1995

        James B. Rutledge, III, Statesboro, GA, for appellant.

        Carlton R. Bourne, Jr., Millard Darden, Asst. U.S. Attys., Savannah, GA, for appellee.

        Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia.

        Before KRAVITCH, EDMONDSON and BARKETT, Circuit Judges.

        PER CURIAM:

        Brant appeals from a 188-month sentence imposed for manufacturing marijuana. Invoking the Fifth Amendment and the Eighth Amendment, he challenges the sentence. Because the career offender provisions of the Sentencing Guidelines, which led to Brant's sentence, violate neither the Fifth nor the Eighth Amendments, we affirm.

        Brant pled guilty to one count of manufacturing marijuana in violation of 21 U.S.C. Sec. 841(a)(1). He conceded that he could be held accountable for 100 plants. His criminal record included earlier state court convictions for (i) growing marijuana with intent to distribute; (ii) selling marijuana; (iii) armed robbery; and (iv) escape. The probation office applied the career offender provisions set forth at U.S.S.G. Sec. 4B1.1 to determine his guideline range. Application of section 4B1.1 increased Brant's total offense level from 23 to 31 and his Criminal History Category from IV to VI. The low end of his guideline range under section 4B1.1 increased from 70 to 188 months.

        Brant says that the application of the career offender provisions violated the Eighth Amendment prohibition against the imposition of cruel and unusual punishment. He argues that the sentence is (i) disproportionate to the offense; and (ii) excessive when

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compared to the sentences imposed for other federal crimes and for drug trafficking crimes under state law.

        In non-capital cases, the Eighth Amendment encompasses, at most, only a narrow proportionality principle. Harmelin v. Michigan, 501 U.S. 957, 111 S.Ct. 2680, 115 L.Ed.2d 836 (1991) (upholding mandatory non-parolable life sentence imposed upon accused convicted of possessing more than 650 grams of cocaine). Before Harmelin, we considered three elements in analyzing proportionality arguments: (1) the gravity of the offense and the harshness of the sentence; (2) the sentences imposed...

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