SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) — Despite a drastic increase in the number of drug dealers charged with causing overdose deaths, prosecutors statewide have limited success in securing convictions on the charges, a Times-Tribune investigation found.

Since 2011 through Sept. 30, prosecutors filed 317 cases of drug delivery resulting in death, of which 189 have been resolved. Of those resolved cases, 81, or about 43 percent, ended with convictions or guilty or no-contest pleas to drug delivery resulting in death, according to the newspaper’s analysis of data from the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.

The other 57 percent resulted in pleas or convictions to lesser charges, including involuntary manslaughter, which accounted for 41 cases or 22 percent of the total, and possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, which accounted for 44 cases or 23 percent.

Prosecutors acknowledge the difficulty in proving the cases means they do not always get a conviction for drug delivery resulting in death. However, that does not mean the cases are not worth pursuing, they said.

“To me, there is an amount of criminal responsibility that needs to be taken, even if the charge is ultimately reduced,” said Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub. “We are sending a message […]

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