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April 29, 2013

SCOTUS grants cert on federal criminal law causation issues

The Supreme Court, despite having one of it members on the DL, gets a new week started with some notable criminal justice action.  First and foremost, it has granted review, via this order list, in Burrage v. United States (12-7515).  Here is how the SCOTUSblog folks describes the questions on which cert was granted in Burrage:

First, whether the crime of distributing drugs causing death is a strict liability crime without a cause requirement.

Second, whether a person can be convicted of that crime under jury instructions which allow a conviction when the heroin contributed to death but was not the sole cause of the death.

The way these issues matter in Burrage can be figured out from the Eighth Circuit decision from last year, which can be accessed at this link.  And, thanks to the SCOTUSblog folks, now the cert petition can be accessed at this link.

April 29, 2013 at 10:12 AM | Permalink

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7th Cir. addresses the issue here:

http://media.ca7.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/rssExec.pl?Submit=Display&Path=Y2013/D07-03/C:10-2176:J:Williams:aut:T:fnOp:N:1163150:S:0

No strict liability, rather "a district court
must make specific factual findings to determine whether each defendant's
relevant conduct encompasses the distribution chain that cause a victim's
death."

Posted by: Brian Fahl | Jul 5, 2013 1:16:36 PM

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