“Len Bias” Law Sanctions Those Who Cause Drug Deaths


Adam Parks died in 2004 in Salem, Or., after letting Ellen Parks inject him with some of the $100 of smack her husband had bought from a local dealer, says The Oregonian. Federal authorities this week applied a drug law rarely used in Oregon to imprison the three people who shared responsibility for Burch’s death. U.S. District Court Judge Ancer Haggerty imposed a 10-year, 1 month sentence Ellen Parks, 23; her husband, Ethan, also 23, and Pamela Schwarzkopf, 48, who sold him the drug.

It was only the second time that federal authorities in Oregon had implemented the so-called Len Bias law to punish those whose drug distribution causes a death. The law, which provides minimum mandatory prison terms for certain drug crimes, was named after a University of Maryland basketball star who died of a cocaine overdose in 1986, shortly after signing a pro contract with the Boston Celtics. Although many states have enacted similar statutes, Oregon is not one of them. Federal authorities are using the law to punish dealers whose actions contribute to the deaths of others.

Link: http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/1157599530147710.xml&coll=7

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