Published on: Friday, June 4, 2021

Three friends inject heroin in the bathroom of a West Philadelphia KFC. One dies and another is convicted of distributing drugs resulting in death and sentenced to 21 years in prison (one year above the 20-year mandatory minimum). Third Circuit (non-precedential): "We hold that the definition of “distribute” under the Controlled Substances Act does not cover individuals who jointly and simultaneously acquire possession of a small amount of a controlled substance solely for their personal use." Conviction overturned. Dissent: Handing drugs to someone else is "distributing" drugs.

The case is United States v. Semler, No. 19-2319 (3d Cir. Jun. 1, 2021).