United States v. Garth, 071119 FED8, 18-1715

Docket Nº:18-1715
Opinion Judge:PER CURIAM.
Party Name:United States of America Plaintiff- Appellee v. Frank James Garth, also known as Nitti Defendant-Appellant
Judge Panel:Before LOKEN, WOLLMAN, and STRAS, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:July 11, 2019
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

United States of America Plaintiff- Appellee


Frank James Garth, also known as Nitti Defendant-Appellant

No. 18-1715

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

July 11, 2019

Submitted: April 19, 2019

Appeal from United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas - Little Rock.

Before LOKEN, WOLLMAN, and STRAS, Circuit Judges.


Defendant Frank Garth pleaded guilty to distributing less than 50 grams of methamphetamine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B). At sentencing, the district court1 determined, without objection, that Garth was a career offender with a total offense level of 31 and a criminal history category of VI, resulting in an advisory guidelines sentencing range of 188 to 235 months and a statutory range of 5 to 40 years imprisonment. The district court sentenced Garth to 200 months in prison, based primarily on Garth's "long history of dealing drugs." On appeal, Garth argues that this "draconian" sentence violates the Eighth Amendment because it is grossly disproportionate to the severity of his crime. Reviewing this contention for plain error, we affirm.

"The Eighth Amendment, which forbids cruel and unusual punishments, contains a 'narrow proportionality principle' that 'applies to noncapital sentences.'" Ewing v. California, 538 U.S. 11, 20 (2003) (plurality opinion), quoting Harmelin v. Michigan, 501 U.S. 957, 996-97 (1991) (Kennedy, J., concurring). "An Eighth Amendment violation may be found only in the rare case in which a threshold comparison of the crime committed and the sentence imposed leads to an inference of gross disproportionality." United States v. James, 564 F.3d 960, 964 (8th Cir. 2009) (quotation omitted). "[S]uccessful challenges to the proportionality of particular [noncapital] sentences are exceedingly rare." United States v. Paton, 535 F.3d 829, 837 (8th Cir. 2008) (emphasis in original; quotation omitted); see United States v. Wiest, 596 F.3d 906, 911 (8th Cir. 2010).

Garth's sentence does not come close to violating this gross disproportionality Eighth Amendment standard. His 200-month sentence is within the advisory guidelines range and...

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