Tuesday, March 9, 2010

One death, one defendant, two convictions

The federal system can often result in significantly greater penalties and consequences than in state court. One example can be found in drug distribution resulting in death convictions. Below is a summary of a case where Mr. Washington sold Fentanyl and Percocet to a young man who took both drugs. The young man died. The coroner testified that the Fentanyl amount in the young man’s system, the Percocet amount, or the combination would have been enough to kill him. That was enough to convict Mr. Washington of two criminal acts resulting in death. One for the Fentanyl and one for the Percocet. The fact that there was only one death did not matter. This should be a cause for concern if someone is engaged in selling drugs. While Mr. Washington’s sentence was a concurrent 360 months, it would have been possible for the Judge to sentence the 360 consecutively. Such a sentence would have resulted in 720 months, or sixty (60) years.
Mr. Washington made one very grave error in his case. Mr. Washington thought it would be better to represent himself rather than have a lawyer represent him. Remember, if you are accused of a crime, or questioned by law enforcement, it is extremely important that you ask for a lawyer and then remain silent. For a free consultation, call Patrick Flanagan at 763-786-5324 or at the numbers and addresses listed below:

United States v. Burl Washington, No. 08-3678 (E.D. Mo.).
Sentenced to concurrent 360 month terms.

Self-representation. The district court duly cautioned defendant (“I think it would
be a grave, grave mistake for you to try to represent yourself. . . .”).

Sufficiency/841 death. Defendant distributed Fentanyl patches and
Percocet to Justin Knox, who ingested a patch and took some Percocet. Mr.
Knox died the next day from a “mixed narcotics overdose” of Fentanyl and
Oxycodone (Percocet has Oxycodone and Acetaminophen in it.) The circuit
was satisfied that the expert testimony at trial established that Mr. Knox
had sufficient amounts of Fentanyl and Oxycodone in him to kill him, either
independently of one another or in combination. The evidence was therefore
sufficient to uphold separate convictions for distributing Fentanyl
resulting in death, and for distributing Oxycodone resulting in death. No
error in obtaining two such convictions despite only one death. “We cannot
see any reason why the fact that the distributions at issue resulted in the
same death means that Washington cannot be convicted for each

Flanagan Law Office
Patrick Flanagan
Email: Patflanagan@patflanagandefense.com

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