Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Burrage v. U.S.: Trafficked Drug must be But-For Cause of Death

Burrage v. United States, supreme court rules in defendant's favor
On 1/27/14 the United States Supreme Court decided Burrage v. United States. The opinion limits the use of a Federal drug trafficking sentencing enhancement for cases where the drug user dies. The decision considers one specific statute, but it has lot to say about legal causation in general. In the end, the high court unanimously rejects the criminal causation rule used by Maine and a handful of other states.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Harmless Error at the Portland Press Herald

Harmless Error blog is now on the Portland press Herald website:

I will be posting there at least twice a week. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Marijuana Trial to Begin for Malcolm French, Rodney Russell & Kendall Chase

This week, one of the largest marijuana busts in Maine history will go to trial in Bangor federal court. Malcolm French, Rodney Russell and Kendall Chase, all businessmen in their 50s, are accused in a marijuana trafficking conspiracy involving thousands of marijuana plants worth some $9 million. The indictment alleges that from 2006 to 2009, the men ran an outdoor marijuana grow of at least 1000 plants in rural Washington County Maine. Federal law mandates a minimum prison sentence of 10 years and a maxim sentence of life.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Bond v. United States: Infidelity, Chemical War, and a RadioLab Podcast

Bond v. United States Chemical Weapon Symbol
Bond v. United States has been to the U.S. Supreme Court twice now. Round one resolved a standing issue and the latest argument dealt with the merits of the case. Bond asks whether there are limits on the way federal criminal liability can be expanded when congress enacts treaties and legislation to enforce them. The defendant was sent to federal prison for violating an international chemical weapons ban when she tried to get revenge on her husband's lover.