Thursday, April 27, 2017

8th Circuit Rejects RFRA Defense To Heroin Distribution Charges

In United States v. Anderson, (8th Cir., April 28, 2017), the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Timothy Anderson's claim that his indictment on charges of heroin distribution should have been dismissed because the decision to prosecute him violated his rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.  Anderson claimed that as a student of Esoteric and Mysticism studies he created a religious non-profit organization to distribute heroin to "the sick, lost, blind, lame, deaf, and dead members of Gods' Kingdom."  The court held that even if Anderson's religious beliefs were sincerely held, the government here chose the least restrictive means to achieve its compelling interest in preventing distribution of heroin to others for non-religious uses. Vox reports on the decision.