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Brooks pitches more time to bring drug delivery death charges

Michele Brooks

One of Warren County’s state senators wants to give prosecutors more time to prosecute crimes involving drug delivery that results in someone’s death.

State Sen. Michele Brooks, R-Erie/Crawford/Mercer/Warren, has introduced legislation that will give prosecutors an additional three years to file charges in such cases. Under current law, charges must be brought within two years. Brooks wants to change state law to make the statute of limitations five years.

“According to the Mercer County District Attorney and the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association, this two-year time limit has interfered with the prosecution of an egregious case in northwestern Pennsylvania and is undoubtedly affecting prosecutions throughout the Commonwealth,” Brooks wrote in her legislative memorandum.

“By extending the statute of limitations from two years to five, this legislative oversight will be addressed, and we will be better able to bring parties who are responsible for a fatal overdose to justice. Given the serious nature of such an offense, it is important that we are able to prosecute those charged with this crime, without the limitation of a tight two-year time frame.”

Senate Bill 61 was introduced Wednesday and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

According to the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania, drug delivery resulting in death charges statewide have increased by 356% between 2015 and 2019. In Pennsylvania, a drug delivery resulting in death charges charge is issued to a person who intentionally administers, dispenses, delivers, gives, prescribes, sells or distributes any controlled substance or counterfeit controlled substance, and another person dies as a result of using the substance.

There were 13 such charges over four years in Erie County, five in Crawford county and three in Warren County. York and Lancaster counties have the highest numbers of offenses in the state, according to the court system report.

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