United States v. Lyle

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 02-05-2014
  • Case #: 12-30389
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Berzon for the Court; Circuit Judges Schroeder and Paez
  • Full Text Opinion

Under the Federal Anti-Tampering Act, the removal of prescription drugs and re-gluing of the empty container are facts which may sufficiently allege "tampering with a consumer product."

Kenyon Lyle worked at a pharmacy where he stole Fentanyl patches by taking them from their boxes and sealing and restocking the empty containers. He was discovered when a customer reported her that her medication was missing. Lyle tried unsuccessfully to dismiss the charges by claiming that the prosecution had failed to state an offense. The district court denied the motion, and Lyle then pled guilty to tampering with Fentanyl patches. On appeal, Lyle tried to revive his earlier motion to dismiss by arguing that the prosecution had failed to prove he had ‘tampered’ with the drugs he stole. Under the charging statute, Lyle claimed that his conduct amounted to theft and concealment, but did not meet the definition of tampering. The Ninth Circuit held that the indictment sufficiently alleged the crime of ‘tampering’ under Federal Anti-Tampering Act. Although the panel agreed with Lyle that the more restrictive definition of tampering should apply, they found his conduct still fell under that meaning. AFFIRMED.

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