Decreasing Ambiguity in Ohio: A Value Based Sentencing Structure for Possession of a Controlled Substance

Ohio State Public Law Working Paper No. 539

Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, No. 18, April 2020

14 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2020

See all articles by Patrick J. Cleary

Patrick J. Cleary

Ohio State University (OSU), Michael E. Moritz College of Law, Students

Date Written: April 1, 2020

Abstract

Theft and possession of a controlled substance are similar in that both fall into the narrow category of crimes which can be quantified through an objective monetary metric. The value of the goods or services stolen for theft and the value of the controlled substance possessed for possession. Ohio uses the value metric to define their theft sentencing structure but ignores it for purposes of their possession structure. The possession structure instead utilizes a complicated system comprised of controlled substance categorization followed by a weight and unit dose metric to output punishment severity. This complicated structure inherently leads to decreased consistency which is unnecessary given the availability of a value metric, like the one used for the analogous crime of theft. This paper argues that Ohio should take an Occam’s razor approach to possession by utilizing the value-based structure of theft to create a similar structure for possession in order to decrease ambiguity and promote greater consistency in sentencing.

Keywords: controlled substance; value-based sentencing; economic sentencing; fair market value; drug weight

Suggested Citation

Cleary, Patrick J., Decreasing Ambiguity in Ohio: A Value Based Sentencing Structure for Possession of a Controlled Substance (April 1, 2020). Ohio State Public Law Working Paper No. 539, Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, No. 18, April 2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3566026 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3566026

Patrick J. Cleary (Contact Author)

Ohio State University (OSU), Michael E. Moritz College of Law, Students ( email )

55 West 12th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
United States

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