Justices Weigh Role Drug Played in a Fatal Cocktail

Post Date: November 12, 2013

(The New York Times) —  Joshua Banka’s prodigious appetite for drugs killed him. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court considered whether to hold a drug dealer who had sold heroin to Mr. Banka responsible for his death.

In 2010, just before Mr. Banka was scheduled to enter a court-ordered drug rehabilitation program, he decided to go on one last bender. He smoked marijuana; crushed, cooked and injected OxyContin; took a variety of prescription drugs; and topped them off with heroin he had bought from Marcus A. Burrage.

Mr. Burrage was convicted not only of selling the heroin but also of being responsible for the death. That second charge carried a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison. Read more