Prosecuting Overdose: An Exploratory Study of Prosecutorial Motivations for Drug-Induced Homicide Prosecutions in North Carolina

42 Pages Posted: 20 Mar 2023 Last revised: 6 Mar 2024

See all articles by Brandon Morrissey

Brandon Morrissey

North Carolina State University

Taleed El-Sabawi

Florida International University (FIU) - College of Law; Georgetown University - The O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law

Jennifer J. Carroll

North Carolina State University; Warren Alpert Medical School

Date Written: December 30, 2022

Abstract

Prosecutorial use of drug-induced homicide (DIH) laws (laws charging persons with criminal killings for supplying drugs that cause an overdose death) varies. We conducted a descriptive, exploratory analysis of the variation of DIH enforcement by prosecutorial district to assess whether district-level variables are associated with DIH prosecutions. We also surveyed 24 N.C. prosecutors to explore motivations in pursuing DIH cases. We did not find any associations between overdose deaths and DIH charges. Survey data suggested that perceived justice for the deceased, individual case characteristics (i.e. fentanyl-involvement and intent of the drug supplier), and the perceived need to respond to overdose deaths may influence prosecutorial use of DIH charges.

Keywords: Drug-induced homicide, prosecution, overdose

JEL Classification: i18

Suggested Citation

Morrissey, Brandon and El-Sabawi, Taleed and Carroll, Jennifer, Prosecuting Overdose: An Exploratory Study of Prosecutorial Motivations for Drug-Induced Homicide Prosecutions in North Carolina (December 30, 2022). Florida International University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 4389026, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4389026 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4389026

Brandon Morrissey

North Carolina State University ( email )

Taleed El-Sabawi

Florida International University (FIU) - College of Law ( email )

11200 SW 8th St.
RDB Hall 1097
Miami, FL 33199
United States

Georgetown University - The O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://oneill.law.georgetown.edu/experts/taleed-el-sabawi/

Jennifer Carroll (Contact Author)

North Carolina State University ( email )

10 Current Drive
Campus Box 8107
Raleigh, NC 27695
United States

Warren Alpert Medical School ( email )

Providence, RI 02912
United States

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