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Chapman v. United States

500 U.S. 453 (1991)

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Chapman v. United States

United States Supreme Court

500 U.S. 453 (1991)

Facts

Richard Chapman (defendant) was convicted of selling 10 sheets of blotter paper, each containing 100 doses of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). The amount of pure LSD in one dose is so tiny that each dose is sold separately on a carrier. Typically, pure LSD is dissolved in solution, and drops are placed on sheets of blotter paper or gelatin, or single drops may be placed on sugar cubes. The trial court used the total 5.7-gram weight of the 10 sheets of blotter paper and LSD to determine Chapman’s sentence under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Chapman and another person convicted of selling LSD appealed, arguing the blotter paper functioned only as a carrier and that street dealers who sold blotter-paper doses of LSD containing tiny amounts of drugs received longer sentences than distributors who sold either pure LSD or other drugs, violating equal protection. The appellate court affirmed. Chapman and the other dealer appealed to the Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Rehnquist, C.J.)

Dissent (Stevens, J.)

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