U.S. v. Grissom, Larry James Grissom was indicted on three counts of knowingly and intentionally distributing a mixture and substance containing cocaine base in the amounts of 28, 49, and 28 grams, respectively. He agreed to plead guilty to Count Two, charging him with distribution of 49 grams of cocaine base, in exchange for the dismissal of Counts One and Three. Regarding his sentence, Grissom also agreed to a base offense level of 32, and acknowledged his base level could be as high as 34 if the court found he was a career offender. The parties did not reach agreement concerning Grissom’s criminal history, and Grissom reserved his right to argue in favor of a downward departure from the calculated sentence range.
The parties’ sentencing memoranda accepted the Guideline calculations of the Presentence Investigation Report (PSR), which set the base offense level at 32. The District Court for the Northern District of California, however, was uncomfortable with the sentencing range advocated by the government: