Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Burrage v. U.S: When Does Drug Trafficking Cause Death?

.:[ Melissa ]:. via flickr
Next term, the Supreme Court will consider when a drug dealer can be held criminally liable under a federal law punishing distribution of drugs that cause death. 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(C) sets a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years and a maximum sentence of life for drug trafficking "if death or serious bodily injury results from the use of such substance." So what does that mean?

Monday, April 29, 2013

Boyer v. Louisiana: SCOTUS Decides Not to Decide Speedy Trial Case

Supreme Court Decides not to Decide Boyer v. Louisiana
This sucks. The Supreme Court granted certiorari in Boyer v. Louisiana to consider if delays caused by Louisiana's underfunding of indigent defense should be attributed to the prosecution for speedy trial purposes. They heard argument in the case but today dodged the issue and dismissed the Petition for Certiorari as improvidently granted. Wait, what?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Missouri v. McNeely: Trouble for Implied Consent Laws?

Under McNeely drunk driving blood test will now require a warrant
In Missouri v. McNeely the United States Supreme Court held that police must normally get a warrant before taking a non-consensual blood sample to test a driver's blood alcohol level. The decision could have a major impact on the way that police obtain blood samples. It could also create problems for implied consent laws which are essential to drunk driving prosecution in all 50 states.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Federal Drug Trafficking Conspiracy, Dismissed Twice

Portland Maine Federal Court
Defendants Dellosantos and Szpyt were indicted in U.S. District Court in Portland, Maine in on several counts. The most serious charge was count 1, a drug trafficking conspiracy to sell both cocaine and marijuana. The evidence at trial showed that there were really two separate conspiracies, one involving cocaine only and and one involving cocaine and marijuana. Dellosantos and Szypt were connected to the cocaine only conspiracy but not the other marijuana and cocaine scheme. After a trial joined with several other co-defendants, they were convicted anyway. Dellosantos got a 121 month sentence, Szpyt got life.