22 June 2005

It has become a prosecutorial trend over the last few years to charge people who provide others with drugs with homicide. However, I am curious as to why this one was in federal court.


Tom Lincoln said...

21 USC 841 has a provision for "if death results" from the offense, in this case distribution of the heroin to her girlfriend. This is different from the guidelines' cross-reference to the murder guidelines when a murder is committed in the course of a drug trafficking offense.

123txpublicdefender123 said...

So, the mom of the girl who overdosed thought the heroin addict girl who bought the heroin for her daugher was "nothing but scum," and didn't think she could forgive her? Was her daughter supposed to be some sort of innocent in the whole affair? Her daughter voluntarily took heroin in her house. Maybe she should spend less time blaming everyone else for her daughter's death and ask how it was that she had a heroin addict living in her home. I feel sorry for her terrible loss, but she is acting like the mother of a murder victim, which she most certainly is not. Everyone who overdoses got their drugs from someone. They are not all victims of murder.

This seems to me to be one of the most ridiculous trends in the prosecutorial arena.

Mister DA said...

How about the guy who boosts some Fentanyl patches from his mom's supply and sells them to his pals. To improve his profit margin he cuts the patches in half. To enhance the effect, he tells his customers to put the half patches in their mouths and suck on them and assures them that this is just a quick high, no problems. See this web page for some background:

One of his customers dies. Assumption of the risk? We let the purveyor walk?

Anonymous said...

Um, Mr. Da, how about talking about, you know, what everyone else is talking about? Sure, I'm sure you have a theory. But, you know, nobody is, well, talking about that theory. I'm sure you're impressive in court. I wonder about how you are in mandating justice ? I mean, like, forgive, me, but good justice?

See, as I saw it, DAs attacked dangerous people. I could be wrong about that; I know you have much discretion and all but impervious shields against liability. So I could be dumb here.

-20-life, I don't know why yet

Ken Lammers said...

Mr. DA,

The question, in the case you cite, whether the dealer knew the probable effects. If he knew it would kill people it is most assuredly a murder. If not it's probably a heck of a manslaughter case. In fact, there's an argument that many dealer to "User who died" cases could be manslaughter cases because the dealer knows the possibility of overdose or contamination. Personally, since I think the User has the same knowledge (at least with typical drugs) and chooses to use I think the User assumes the risk, but I see the argument.

The cases which drive people like me nuts are the dealer / felony murder charges. It's a felony to sell the methadone pill to User and therefore when User drinks alcohol, uses the methadone pill, and the combination relaxes his body to the point he stops breathing it's a murder (I actually saw that case). I think this is an inappropriate use of the felony murder doctrine; still, over the last few years it seems to have become one which has become a popular prosecutorial theory.