United States v. Levesque

546 F.3d 78 (2008)

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United States v. Levesque

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
546 F.3d 78 (2008)

  • Written by Patrick Speice, JD

Facts

Tammy Levesque (defendant) was pulled over for speeding while under surveillance for suspected participation in a marijuana-distribution operation. During the traffic stop, state troopers found 94 pounds of marijuana in Levesque’s car. Levesque admitted to transporting marijuana to numerous eastern states several times per week for the prior eight months. Levesque was arrested, charged, and pled guilty to conspiring to possess marijuana with intent to distribute the marijuana. The government sought forfeiture of more than $3 million from Levesque, based on an estimate of how much marijuana Levesque had transported and the estimated value of that quantity of marijuana. Levesque objected to the government’s forfeiture claim, arguing that the Excessive Fines Clause of the Eighth Amendment required a much lower monetary penalty proportional to Levesque’s culpability considering Levesque’s relatively minor role in the marijuana-distribution operation, limited earnings from the operation, and lack of other assets to satisfy the forfeiture claim. The district court disagreed, finding that forfeiture of the reasonably foreseeable proceeds of the entire marijuana-distribution operation was not grossly disproportional under the Excessive Fines Clause. Levesque appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Lynch, C.J.)

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