Man charged with drug-related death

A Pennsylvania man will face criminal charges including manslaughter in connection with the apparent overdose death of another man. The incident occurred this past July when police were dispatched to a hotel wherein emergency personnel were attempting to revive an unconscious man lying in the hotel bed. The emergency personnel believed that the man was experiencing a drug overdose.

The man did not survive. Police then began an investigation that led to the arrest of a 24-year-old Pennsylvania man. Police believe that the 24-year-old provided the victim with the heroin that caused the victim's death. The 24-year-old has been arraigned on charges of drug delivery resulting in death, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

The accused in this case faces drug charges in addition to an involuntary manslaughter charge. The involuntary manslaughter charge alone could garner substantial jail time for the accused if convicted. Involuntary manslaughter involves the prosecutor proving that a defendant committed some act that caused the death of another. This is something short of the proof need to prove a murder charge, and normally involves an act by the defendant that unintentionally causes the death of another. The facts of this case are far from clear. The prosecutor will need to offer some concrete proof that the accused provided the drugs to the victim and that, in fact, the drugs allegedly provided by the accused actually caused the victim's death.

The charge of drug delivery resulting in death was not long ago declared unconstitutional by an appellate court in Pennsylvania. The law was amended, and the Clearfield County district attorney is confident that the current version is constitutional. However, it remains to be seen if these legal changes will stand under scrutiny.

Source: Gant Daily, "DA: Man charged for drug delivery resulting in death", October 25, 2013

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