Zarate v. State

Decision Date02 April 1985
Docket NumberNo. 84-398,84-398
Citation10 Fla. L. Weekly 875,466 So.2d 1176
Parties10 Fla. L. Weekly 875 Carmen Gloria ZARATE, Appellant, v. The STATE of Florida, Appellee.
CourtFlorida District Court of Appeals

Bennett H. Brummer, Public Defender, and Evan Langbein, Sp. Asst. Public Defender, for appellant.

Jim Smith, Atty. Gen., and Julie S. Thornton, Asst. Atty. Gen., for appellee.



The defendant Carmen Gloria Zarate appeals her judgment of conviction and fifteen-year sentence with no eligibility for parole. She claims that four errors were committed below which call for a reversal in this case. We do not agree and affirm.

First, the defendant claims reversible error was committed in the admission of evidence tending to show, through the defendant's own statements made to undercover police during the subject cocaine negotiations in this case, that the defendant was involved in drug trafficking generally. We conclude that the evidence was admissible as proper similar crimes evidence under Section 90.404(2)(a), Florida Statutes (1983); the defendant's statements made during the commission of the charged crimes were relevant to prove the defendant's criminal intent and knowledge in this case. See United States v. Edwards, 696 F.2d 1277, 1279-81 (11th Cir.), cert. denied, 461 U.S. 909, 103 S.Ct. 1884, 76 L.Ed.2d 813 (1983); United States v. Moreno-Nunez, 595 F.2d 1186, 1188 (9th Cir.1979); United States v. Catano, 553 F.2d 497, 499-500 (5th Cir.), cert. denied, 434 U.S. 865, 98 S.Ct. 199, 54 L.Ed.2d 140 (1977).

Second, the defendant claims error in the imposition of sentence charging that the fifteen-year, minimum mandatory sentence was excessively severe and constituted cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution. She concedes that Section 893.135(2), Florida Statutes (1983), under which she was sentenced, is constitutionally valid on its face, State v. Kaufman, 430 So.2d 904 (Fla.1983); State v. Thebeau, 405 So.2d 973 (Fla.1981), cert. dismissed, 456 U.S. 920, 102 S.Ct. 1963, 72 L.Ed.2d 436 (1982); State v. Newman, 405 So.2d 971 (Fla.1981); State v. Leicht, 402 So.2d 1153 (Fla.1981), cert. denied, 455 U.S. 989, 102 S.Ct. 1611, 71 L.Ed.2d 848 (1982); State v. Werner, 402 So.2d 386 (Fla.1981); State v. Yu, 400 So.2d 762 (Fla.1981), cert. dismissed, 454 U.S. 1134, 102 S.Ct. 988, 71 L.Ed.2d 286 (1982); State v. Benitez, 395 So.2d 514 (Fla.1981), but contends that the statute was unconstitutionally applied to her as she did not deserve such a severe sentence. Without engaging in a prolonged discussion of this issue, we are convinced that the sentence imposed does not exceed what admittedly are very broad Eighth Amendment limitations on the severity of the non-capital sentences. It is not, in our view, arbitrary, irrational or excessively vindictive for society to require a drug trafficker with no prior criminal record, as here, but who claims to be heavily involved in drug trafficking generally, to serve fifteen years in prison with no parole for her crime. Drug trafficking, after all, is a serious crime which has serious societal consequences. We therefore discern no violation of the defendant's Eighth Amendment rights against cruel and unusual punishment in these circumstances. See Carmona v. Ward, 576 F.2d 405 (2d Cir.1978), cert. denied, 439 U.S. 1091, 99 S.Ct. 874, 59 L.Ed.2d 58 (1979); McArthur v. State, 351 So.2d 972, 975-76 (Fla.1977); Banks v. State, 342 So.2d 469, 470 (Fla.1977); O'Donnell v. State, 326 So.2d 4, 5-6 (Fla.1975).

Finally, the defendant claims error in the denial of her motion for severance and her motion to suppress. We have carefully examined these contentions and...

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4 cases
  • Kendry v. State
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • December 16, 1987
    ...State v. Benitez, 395 So.2d 514 (Fla.1981); and (post-Solem ), Morgan v. Brescher, 466 So.2d 1218 (Fla. 4th DCA 1985); Zarate v. State, 466 So.2d 1176 (Fla. 3rd DCA 1985). Further, the Florida Supreme Court has consistently upheld the penalty imposed herein against a constitutional challeng......
  • Labrada v. State, 91-636
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • December 3, 1991
    ...67 (Fla.1984) cert. denied 473 U.S. 913, 105 S.Ct. 3540, 87 L.Ed.2d 663; State v. DiGuilio, 491 So.2d 1129 (Fla.1986); Zarate v. State, 466 So.2d 1176 (Fla. 3d DCA 1985); Corneiro v. Solomon, 450 So.2d 599 (Fla. 3d DCA 1984), except that as to the adjudication of guilt for criminal mischief......
  • Shackleford v. State, 89-915
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • September 21, 1990
    ...of cocaine by cutting, sorting, and transferring the cocaine, as well as accepting the money for the transaction. See Zarate v. State, 466 So.2d 1176 (Fla. 3rd DCA 1985). Additionally, the cocaine that was seized was packaged in a manner which would also evidence the defendant's intent to s......
  • Ellis v. State, s. 84-2682
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • September 25, 1985
    ...for other people who were engaged in narcotics trafficking. The statements referred to the crime charged. See Zarate v. State, 466 So.2d 1176 (Fla. 3d DCA 1985); Yesbick v. State, 408 So.2d 1083 (Fla. 4th DCA We find no merit to defendant's remaining contention. On cross-appeal the state co......

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