Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Barton

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

November 21, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
NATALIE BARTON

         SECTION I

          ORDER & REASONS

          LANCE M. AFRICK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Defendant Natalie Barton (“Barton”) has been charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute anabolic steroids, conspiracy to misbrand drugs, multiple counts of distribution of anabolic steroids, and multiple counts of misbranding of prescription drugs.[1] Before the Court is Barton's motion[2] to dismiss counts one, three, four, and five of the indictment on void-for-vagueness and nondelegation grounds. For the following reasons, the motion is denied.

         I.

         The seven-count indictment against Barton alleges that from sometime prior to December 18, 2014 until August 22, 2019, Barton and her late husband (“E.B.”) marketed and sold anabolic steroids and prescription drugs online and in a physical store located in Metairie, Louisiana, and that they misbranded the drugs for sale, in violation of federal law.[3] Counts one, three, four, and five charge offenses involving anabolic steroids. Count one charges Barton with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute anabolic steroids, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(E)(i), and 846. Counts three, four, and five charge Barton with the distribution of anabolic steroids, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(E)(i), and 18 U.S.C. § 2.

         Barton argues that these four counts should be dismissed on void-for-vagueness and nondelegation grounds. First, according to Barton, the federal statute prohibiting the distribution of anabolic steroids is unconstitutionally vague because it fails to provide an “ordinary person” with sufficient notice that certain unlisted substances may be considered to be unlawful anabolic steroids.[4] Next, Barton argues that the charges against her violate the nondelegation doctrine because the United States Attorney “both defined the law and prosecuted the case.”[5] The Court will address each of Barton's arguments in turn.

         II.

         Anabolic steroids were first defined and added to schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”) by the Anabolic Steroids Control Act of 1990.[6] See Pub. L. No. 101-647, 104 Stat 4789. The Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2004 (“ASCA”) modified the definition of an anabolic steroid to mean “any drug or hormonal substance, chemically and pharmacologically related to testosterone (other than estrogens, progestins, corticosteroids, and dehydroepiandrosterone), ” and included a non-exhaustive list of fifty-nine chemical substances. See 21 U.S.C. § 802(32)(A); PL 108- 358, 118 Stat 1661. ASCA also authorized the United States Attorney General to schedule additional substances as anabolic steroids pursuant to his statutory authority. See 21 U.S.C. §§ 802(41)(A), 811(a)-(c); 21 C.F.R. § 1300.01.

         In 2014, Congress enacted the Designer Anabolic Steroid Control Act (“DASCA”), which added additional substances to the list of anabolic steroids and included an “analogue provision” for substances that were not specifically listed.[7]This provision expanded the definition of an anabolic steroid by providing that drugs and hormonal substances not listed in 21 U.S.C. §§ 802(41)(i)-(lxxv) may be considered to be an anabolic steroid if:

(I) the drug or substance has been created or manufactured with the intent of producing a drug or other substance that either-
(aa) promotes muscle growth; or (bb) otherwise causes a pharmacological effect similar to that of testosterone; or
(II) the drug or substance has been, or is intended to be, marketed or otherwise promoted in any manner suggesting that consuming it will promote muscle growth or any other pharmacological effect similar to that of testosterone.

21 U.S.C. § 802(41)(C)(i).

         A.

         Under the void-for-vagueness doctrine, a criminal law is unconstitutionally vague if it “wholly ‘fails to provide a person of ordinary intelligence fair notice of what is prohibited, or is so standardless that it authorizes seriously discriminatory enforcement.'” Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551, 2556 (2015) (quoting United States v. Williams, 553 U.S. 285, 304 (2008)). “Although the doctrine focuses both on actual notice to citizens and arbitrary enforcement, [the United States Supreme Court] [has] recognized that the more important aspect of vagueness doctrine ‘is not actual notice, but . . . the requirement that a legislature establish minimal guidelines to govern law enforcement.'” Kolender v. Lawson, 461 U.S. 352, 357 (1983) (quoting Smith v. Goguen, 415 U.S. 566, 574 (1974)).

         The Supreme Court has emphasized that courts, when responding to a vagueness challenge, should consider the “strong presumptive validity that attaches to an Act of Congress.” Skilling v. United States, 561 U.S. 358, 403 (2010) (quoting United States v. Nat'l Dairy Prod. Corp., 372 U.S. 29, 32 (1963)). Thus, “the threshold for declaring a law void for vagueness is high.” Johnson, 135 S.Ct. at 2576. “‘[S]tatutes are not automatically invalidated as vague simply because difficulty is found in determining whether certain marginal offenses fall within their language.'” Id. (quoting Nat'l Dairy Prod. Corp., 372 U.S. at 32)).

         In McFadden v. United States, the Supreme Court denied a vagueness challenge to 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) as it applied to prosecutions for controlled substances defined under the Controlled Substance Analogue Enforcement Act of 1986 (“Analogue Act”), a provision of the CSA similar to DASCA as it pertains to Barton. 135 S.Ct. 2298 (2015). The Analogue Act instructed courts to treat a category of substances-known as “analogues”-whose chemical structures are “substantially similar” to those of a controlled substance in schedule I or schedule II as schedule I controlled substances for purposes of federal law. See id. at 2302; 21 U.S.C. §§ 802(32)(A), 813. The Supreme Court concluded that the scienter requirement of Section 841(a)(1), which requires that a defendant knowingly engaged in the prohibited act-that is, manufacturing, distributing, dispensing, or possessing with intent to manufacture, ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.