November 15, 2007

Oregon high court clarifies drug-free school zone law

Prosecutor need not prove defendant's knowledge

A drug dealer need not know of his proximity to a school in order to be convicted under a drug-free school zone law, the Oregon Supreme Court has ruled. The ruling follows similar case law in other states.

Oregon's law is intended to protect children "regardless of whether the dealers know they are within 1,000 feet of a school," the ruling states.

"That's typical with drug crimes when you're looking ... at the social harm as opposed to the mental intent of the seller," commented law professor Laura Appleman.

A 2001 study by the Boston University School of Public Health found that a similar drug zone law was not effective in reducing drug sales near schools.

The full AP story is online at the Oregon Statesman Journal website.