Monday, January 25, 2010

Sue Dealers For Selling You Drugs?!

This is more civil justice, but so startling and intriguing I had to say something. According to the The Gadsen Times of Alabama, a state representative there has just introduced a bill that would provide a cause of action "for someone who has lost a loved one due to a drug overdose" against the dealer when "the person who sold the drug has been convicted of distribution, manufacturing an illegal drug, or other similar charge." The proponents, parents who lost a child to an opiate drug overdose, cite deterrence as their policy motivation.

While I'm sorry for this family's loss, this argument widely misses its target, even leading aside overarching concerns balancing free will and personal responsibility versus paternalism. As if criminal penalties, the loss of the right to liberty itself, would not deter someone who would be deterred by monetary penalties. Further, under civil asset forfeiture laws, someone already convicted of selling or manufacturing drugs is already potentially liable for basically everything they own. To return to personal responsibility, is our next step start suing alcohol producers for alcohol poisoning or drunk driving fatalities?

1 comment:

Jo said...

Geez...don't lawyers have enough silly civil suits to bring...and yes, what about personal responsibility?