State v. Smith

Decision Date03 November 2010
Docket NumberNo. 10-377.,10-377.
Citation49 So.3d 1039
PartiesSTATE of Louisiana v. Kendrick Jerrod SMITH.
CourtCourt of Appeal of Louisiana — District of US

Asa Allen Skinner, District Attorney, Leesville, LA, for Plaintiff/Appellee, State of Louisiana.

Mark Owen Foster, Louisiana Appellate Project, Natchitoches, LA, for Defendant/Appellant, Kendrick Jerrod Smith.

Terry Wayne Lambright, Attorney at Law, Leesville, LA, for Plaintiff/Appellee, State of Louisiana.



**1 In December 2008, the Leesville Police Department received a call about a disturbance at the Mona Lisa Apartments. Officers encountered Defendant, Kendrick Jerrod Smith, and, thereafter, entered the residence. Once inside, police observed several clear plastic bags containing marijuana.The bags were packaged in a manner that suggested the intent to sell the marijuana at a later date.

Defendant was charged by bill of information with possession with intent to distribute marijuana. He first entered a plea of not guilty but subsequently withdrew that plea and entered a plea of guilty to the charged offense. As part of a plea agreement, another charge of distribution in a separate bill of information was dismissed. Ultimately, Defendant was sentenced to serve seven years at hard labor and to pay a fine of $1,000. His motion to reconsider sentence was denied by the trial court.

Defendant is now before this court asserting one assignment of error. He contends the sentence imposed by the trial court was cruel, unusual, and excessive in violation of La. Const. art. 1, § 20. We affirm the court below.

This court discussed the standard of review applicable to claims of excessiveness in State v. Bailey, 07-130, p. 3 (La.App. 3 Cir. 10/3/07), 968 So.2d 247, 250, as follows:

A sentence which falls within the statutory limits may be excessive under certain circumstances. To constitute an excessive sentence, this Court must find that the penalty is so grossly disproportionate to the severity of the crime as to shock our sense of justice or that the sentence makes no reasonable contribution to acceptable penal goals and[,] therefore, is nothing more than the needless imposition of pain and suffering. The trial judge has broad discretion, and a reviewing court may not set sentences aside absent a manifest abuse of discretion.
**2 State v. Guzman, 99-1753, 99-1528, p. 15 (La.5/16/00), 769 So.2d 1158, 1167 (citations omitted).
In State v. Smith, 02-719, p. 4 (La.App. 3 Cir. 2/12/03), 846 So.2d 786, 789, writ denied, 03-562 (La.5/30/03), 845 So.2d 1061 (citations omitted), this court discussed the factors it would consider in order to determine whether a sentence shocks the sense of justice or makes no meaningful contribution to acceptable penal goals:
In deciding whether a sentence is shocking or makes no meaningful contribution to acceptable penal goals, an appellate court may consider several factors including the nature of the offense, the circumstances of the offender, the legislative purpose behind the punishment and a comparison of the sentences imposed for similar crimes. While a comparison of sentences imposed for similar crimes may provide some insight, "it is well settled that sentences must be individualized to the particular offender and to the particular offense committed." Additionally, it is within the purview of the trial court to particularize the sentence because the trial judge "remains in the best position to assess the aggravating and mitigating circumstances presented by each case."

Defendant was convicted of possession with intent to distribute marijuana. The penalty for said offense is imprisonment at hard labor for not less than five nor more than thirty years and a fine of not more than $50,000. La.R.S. 40:966(B)(3). Defendant was sentenced to serve seven years at hard labor and to pay a fine of $1,000.

Defendant asserts that the record contains little or no evidence that the trial court...

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