Rogers Pushes Bipartisan Bill To Crack Down On Cocaine Dealers
Recent supreme court decision weakens punishment for drug traffickers
February 08, 2017
 
[ John M. Rogers Home | John M. Rogers Press ]
 
 

State Rep. John M. Rogers (D-Mentor-on-the-Lake) today testified in the House Criminal Justice Committee in support of House Bill (HB) 4, his legislation to restore cocaine penalties invalidated by a recent Ohio Supreme Court decision. Rogers is jointly sponsoring the legislation with former Ohio supreme Court Justice- turned legislator Rep. Bob Cupp (R-Allen County).


“Ohio’s recent court decision sets a new, dangerous trajectory for our state by allowing drug dealers to buy and sell more cocaine with reduced consequences,” said Rogers. “Instead of effectively handcuffing law enforcement from keeping dangerous drug dealers off our streets, I believe that we should be handcuffing the criminals who make our state and communities less safe with dangerous drugs.”


In the 2016 case of State v. Gonzales, the court ruled in a split-decision that the legal definition of “cocaine” requires prosecutors to prove the quantity of pure cocaine, rather than the long-standing precedent of providing the total quantity of the mixture containing cocaine.


The state’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) and other crime labs are not currently accredited or may not be equipped to perform quantitative analysis for use as evidence in court proceedings because Ohio law has never previously required the disaggregation of cocaine from a filler in order to meet the quantity requirement for various penalty tiers.  


Due to the court’s decision and lack of BCI testing capability, cocaine possession—regardless of quantity—will only be prosecuted as a fifth degree felony, the lowest penalty under statute, if the current law is not amended.


HB 4 also includes an emergency measure for cocaine penalties to be restored to the previous interpretation as soon as the new law takes effect. 

 
 
 
  
Featured Posts