May Defendant be Sentenced as 'Major Drug Offender' When No Detectable Amount of Illegal Drug Recovered?
Court Asked to Interpret 2006 Decision In Case Involving Counterfeit Drugs
Oliver Lucien Garr v. Warden, Madison Correctional Institution, Case no. 2009-1323
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio
ISSUE: In a 2006 decision, State v. Chandler, the Supreme Court of Ohio ruled that a defendant convicted of drug trafficking based on his offer to sell a large quantity of cocaine to an undercover police officer was not subject to an enhanced sentence as a "major drug offender" (MDO) because the substance that he offered for sale turned out to be counterfeit, and the MDO sentencing statute requires that the substance an offender offered for sale must contain "some detectable amount" of an illegal drug.
In this case, a federal judge has asked the Supreme Court to determine whether its ruling in Chandler also bars imposition of an MDO sentence enhancement in a case in which the defendant offered to sell a large amount of cocaine but the substance offered for sale was never observed, tested or recovered by the police to determine whether it contained any detectable amount of cocaine. _072425