Local Lawmaker Co-Sponsors Drug-Death Jurisdiction Bills
October 1, 2020
By Jessica Mathews / email@example.com
A local lawmaker is co-sponsoring legislation that would allow a prosecutor to bring charges in the drug-overdose death of a county’s resident, even if the illegal drugs were purchased in another county.
Republican State Senator Lana Theis of Brighton Township is co-sponsoring Senate Bills 20 and 21 that would broaden the potential for prosecution of delivery of a controlled substance causing death to three possible venues: The county where the drugs were delivered, the county where the drugs were consumed, or the county where the victim died from using the drugs. The bills are sponsored by Republican State Senator Dale Zorn and passed the Senate on Wednesday.
Theis says opioid abuse is devastating Michigan communities. She says the drugs are harming families, ruining lives and taking away people’s futures. Theis says the legislation will better enable law enforcement to prosecute the drug dealers who are preying on communities - no matter where they are.
The bills are said to be the result of a case involving the heroin-overdose death of a man in Monroe County in 2016. The cause of death was toxicity from fentanyl, which is sometimes used by dealers as a cutting agent to make heroin more potent. A press release states the dealer was charged in Monroe County with one count of delivery of fentanyl causing death. However, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that the Monroe County Circuit Court lacked jurisdiction because the delivery of the drug occurred in Wayne County.
The bills now go to the House of Representatives for consideration.