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Judge gives stiff sentence in cocaine case

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CORRECTION at top of story

By The Staff

CORRECTION: The following story in the June 13 issue of the Chiefland Citizen had the incorrect name of the judge in the Julian Howard jury trial and sentencing. Eighth Judicial Circuit Judge Mary Day Coker presided and pronounced the sentence. 

EARLIER STORY

Julian Howard, 33, of Archer, was sentenced to four years in prison and a year of probation after his release following a one-day jury trial where he was found guilty of possession of crack cocaine and cocaine. 

Howard was also assessed $72,565 in fees — including $72,000 in county jail fees — while being sentenced on May 29 by Circuit Judge Stanley H. Griffis III. Another charge of cocaine possession with intent to sell was dropped. 

Howard was arrested while sitting in a vehicle in the Raleigh community on Oct. 18, 2012, on an outstanding warrant charging possession and sale of crack cocaine and unlawful use of a two-way communication device. Also arrested at the same time was Arnett Clarence Bryant Jr., 30, of Archer. 

When Howard was arrested he had 5.6 grams of crack cocaine and 0.6 of a gram of powder cocaine in his lap.  Bryant had 2 grams of crack cocaine and 2.7 grams of marijuana in his lap.

The two arrests culminated an investigation that began in February and involved the Levy County Sheriff's Office Drug Task Force and the U.S. Marshals Service Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force.

Howard's criminal record reflects 24 felony arrests with nine convictions, most of which were for drugs. His arrests include cocaine, battery on a police officer, robbery, weapons charges and homicide.  Bryant was sentenced on Dec. 19, 2012, to county jail for six months and given credit for two months and three days served plus one year drug offender probation on a charge of possession of a controlled substance without a prescription and and six months in county jail with credit for two months and three days served on a charge of possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana. He was also assessed $9,665 in fees by Circuit Judge David Glant. Bryant has previous convictions for domestic battery, child neglect and resisting arrest.