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United States v. Shields, 87 F.3d 1194 (11th Cir. 1996) (en banc)

Practice Area: Appeals

Outcome: The full Court vacated the panel opinion, granted rehearing en banc, and affirmed the sentence.

Description: Maurie Shields pleaded guilty to conspiracy to manufacture marijuana after law enforcement officers discovered him growing plants in a hydroponic garden. At sentencing, the court calculated Shields' sentence using the number of the harvested plants, rather than the weight of the marijuana derived from those plants. On appeal, a panel for the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a grower who is apprehended after harvest may not be sentenced according to the number of plants involved. The full Court vacated the panel opinion, granted rehearing en banc, and affirmed the sentence. The en banc Court held that a defendant who has grown and harvested marijuana plants should be sentenced according to the number of plants involved in the offense, rather than the post-harvest weight of consumable marijuana.

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