WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has ruled that a dealer convicted of selling drugs to someone who dies from an overdose may not be sentenced to a mandatory 20 years in prison without proof that the death resulted from the use of the drugs.
The justices ruled unanimously Monday for Marcus Burrage, who sold heroin to a man who died after using the heroin and other drugs. A jury convicted Burrage after being told it was enough to find the heroin was a contributing cause of death.
But Justice Antonin Scalia said for the court that prosecutors must tie the death much more closely to use of the drug.
The justices threw out the 20-year term, but Burrage's separate conviction and 20-year sentence for another heroin sale remain.