Burrage Case Summary

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Long-time drug user Banka died following an extended binge that included using heroin purchased from petitioner Burrage. Burrage pleaded not guilty to a superseding indictment alleging, inter alia, that he had unlawfully distributed heroin and that “death resulted from the use of that substance”and subjecting Burrage to a 20-year mandatory minimum sentence under the penalty enhancement provision of the Controlled Substances Act. After medical experts testified at trial that Banka might have died even if he had not taken the heroin, Burrage moved for a judgment of acquittal, arguing that Banka’s death could only result from heroin use if there was evidence that heroin was a but for cause of death. The court denied the motion and, as relevant
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