Supreme Court Rules on School Drug Zones

Yesterday the Oregon Supreme Court clarified the laws regarding Oregon's drug free zones surrounding schools, ruling that the 1,000 foot zone applies even if dealers are unaware of a school's presence.

From the Statesman Journal:

The 1,000-foot zone around Oregon schools to protect students from drug dealing appears to have gotten a little tighter.

The Oregon Supreme Court ruled unanimously last week that prosecutors do not need to prove a dealer knew that a drug sale was within 1,000 feet of a school.

The case involved a man who was convicted in the sale of cocaine to an informant working with an undercover police officer at a high school in Portland.

The defendant had argued during his trial that the jury be instructed that a conviction required that he knew the sale occurred within 1,000 feet of school property. The trial judge rejected the argument, but it was upheld by the Oregon Court of Appeals.

The Oregon Supreme Court reversed the appeals court, saying that requiring knowledge of the distance from the school only would give drug dealers an incentive to claim they did not know how close they were to school grounds.

Justices argued that the law would be less effective if drug dealers could just claim ignorance:

Chief Justice Paul De Muniz wrote the drug zone law was clearly intended "to give drug dealers a reason to locate the 1,000 foot school boundary and stay outside of it."

De Muniz also wrote the law "leaves no doubt that the Legislature intended to protect children ... regardless of whether the dealers know they are within 1,000 feet of a school."

Laura Appleman, a criminal law professor at Willamette University, said the ruling follows the principle established in other states that have established drug-free zones around schools.

"I think that's typical with drug crimes when you're looking ... at the social harm as opposed to the mental intent of the seller," Appleman said.

Read the rest. Discuss.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)

    And effective immediately I am holding all parents personally accountable for the impact their irresponsible breeding and fetishizing of their goddamned whelps have on society and the environment, whether they are too stupid to understand it or not.

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