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Sentencing Guidelines-“Analogue of Fentanyl”

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//July 8, 2024//

Sentencing Guidelines-“Analogue of Fentanyl”

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//July 8, 2024//

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7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: United States of America v. Millard Williams

Case No.: 22-3179

Officials: St. Eve, Jackson-Akiwumi, and Pryor, Circuit Judges.

Focus: Sentencing Guidelines-“Analogue of Fentanyl”

Millard Williams was convicted for organizing the shipment of a package containing furanyl fentanyl, classified as a Schedule I controlled substance, while incarcerated in a Georgia jail. Williams was found guilty of conspiring to possess and possessing over 100 grams of furanyl fentanyl. The jury also determined that furanyl fentanyl qualifies as an “analogue of fentanyl,” triggering a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years under 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(A)(vi).

Williams appealed his conviction, arguing that furanyl fentanyl does not meet the statutory definition of an “analogue of fentanyl,” and that the district court’s interpretation of “analogue” renders the provision unconstitutionally vague.

The Seventh Circuit disagreed with Williams. The court clarified that “controlled substance analogue” differs from “analogue of fentanyl,” and thus interpreted the term “analogue” according to its ordinary meaning. The court found no constitutional vagueness issues with this interpretation as applied to furanyl fentanyl. Additionally, the Seventh Circuit rejected Williams’s other challenges to his conviction and sentence, including his contention that the district court should have suppressed the evidence discovered in the intercepted package. The court concluded that the district court had not committed any errors necessitating resentencing.

Affirmed.

Decided 07/02/24

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