She Stole His Heroin, So She Was the Victim


A 19-year-old from Troy, Illinois, goes to St. Louis with his 17-year-old girlfriend to buy heroin, on which he promptly overdoses. While he is unconscious, she swipes the remaining heroin capsules from his lap. After he gets out of the hospital, he asks what happened to his heroin. She says she threw it out. Back in Troy, she snorts the heroin, overdoses, and dies. Her boyfriend is charged with "drug-induced homicide," a Class X felony punishable by 15 to 30 years in prison, because he "delivered" the heroin that killed her. On the second day of his trial, the judge throws out the charge. See if you can guess why. Hint: It's not because the defendant did not actually give his alleged victim the heroin (which she took from him without his knowledge), let alone kill her (since she snorted the heroin on her own).

Give up? The Belleville News-Democrat reports the judge "dismissed the case after the defense attorney filed a motion that the delivery of the drug happened in Missouri, so Illinois did not have jurisdiction."

If the boyfriend is culpable, what about the prohibitionists who create and maintain a black market in which drug purity is wildly unpredictable? And what kind of incentive does the law create by threatening the guy who calls 911 when his girlfriend overdoses with a 15-year prison term?

Addendum: Disappointed by the outcome of this case, State's Attorney Tom Gibbons wants to change the definition of "drug-induced homicide" so that it applies to drugs obtained in other states.

[Thanks to Mark Sletten for the tip.]