Call Today for a FREE Consultation

262-923-8761

24 HOUR EMERGENCY CONTACT

911 caller facing felony after blowing fentanyl off his finger

| Dec 24, 2018 | Criminal Defense

Last August, 50-year-old Eric Weil called 911. He had taken in a friend’s son who was struggling with opioid addiction. This help was offered on the condition that the young man bring no drugs into the house, but he did. When Weil discovered a packet of white powder in the guest room, he called for help.

He didn’t expect to be arrested himself. He didn’t expect to be charged with a felony, but he was, according to the New York Times.

When the officers arrived, Weil tried to hand over the packet of powder but the officers told him to drop it on his driveway. He followed their instructions, but picked it back up. He later said he was concerned that his dog or his chickens would become exposed.

At that point, some of the powder got onto his finger, so he blew it off. The officers describe him as having blown “a large cloud” of powder in their direction. One officer was exposed to fentanyl.

Weil was accused of using a deadly weapon and was charged with reckless conduct. He’s only one of more than 10 people who have been charged in similar circumstances, according to the Times. People have been charged with crimes ranging from wanton endangerment to assault in at least 7 other states.

Is blowing fentanyl toward someone actually dangerous?

When police accuse someone of putting them in danger, the stakes are high. Yet it’s unclear that the officers were in any danger in this case or any of the others where people were accused of mishandling fentanyl.

The Times reviewed the evidence available in these cases and found that none of the incidents caused any symptoms of overdose, much less a death. Moreover, medical professionals say that the incidence of harm from contact with fentanyl and carfentanil is very low, despite numerous news stories.

“Everybody knows it’s a dangerous substance,” insists the chief of police where Weil was arrested. “I’ve seen it on the news.”

Yet for an opioid to poison someone through contact “would require extraordinary circumstances, and those extraordinary circumstances would be very hard to achieve,” according to a medical researcher. The drug would need to be either dissolved in liquid or formulated in a specific way, according to a scholarly article found by the Times.

And doctors worry that this false expectation of harm from contact with opioids could result in real harm. Opioid users — and bystanders like Weil — could easily be stigmatized. Worse, police and first responders could refuse to touch or interact with people.

Ultimately, people like Weil will continue to be charged with crimes despite having apparently had no intent to cause harm.

Archives

“I just want to say thank you for the outstanding work you have done for him and let you know how much we appreciate the time and attention you gave to his case. We are obviously overjoyed by today’s dismissal!” (Child pornography case dismissed after motion to suppress was granted)”

“After having had time to exhale, we thank each one of you and all the others who contributed to the exemplary Supreme Court presentation. We are proud of your efforts on our behalf and, equally important, on behalf of the many present and future defendants statewide.” (Client’s comment after Supreme Court oral argument)

“Thank you. Thank you. I am so pleased to hear that we won. It doesn’t seem that it was even a close call. I appreciate your efforts.” (Oconto County defendant after Buting, Williams & Stilling got his prison sentence overturned in the court of appeals) ”

“Your time and advice was appreciated more than words can express at a time when we really needed someone to guide us.” (Client)

“The outcome was amazing, one unavailable even under identical circumstances in probably 98 percent of federal courtrooms around the country. Separate and apart from the outcome, though, I am supremely impressed by your efforts on your client’s behalf. Your comments in support of the requested sentence were perfect in tone and, having now reviewed the extensive sentencing memorandum you filed, your work in that regard was exemplary as well. Your client was certainly fortunate to have you as his attorney.” (Local federal court attorney present at a sentencing)

“I can’t thank you enough, not only for all of the tireless work that you and your staff put into my case, but for telling me what I needed to hear, at a time when I absolutely had to hear it. I consider myself blessed for everything turning out the way it did, especially since I blindly picked you out of a phone book! You helped me, my family and friends in many more ways than the money ever could.” (Child pornography client)

“I think you will find that in any circles where Kathy’s name is raised, people will always respond positively and identify her as an extremely hardworking, knowledgeable and ethical lawyer who is timely and effective with any endeavor she takes on. These circles would include colleagues, friends, prosecutors, judges, professors and others who have crossed paths with Kathy. They would also include the many lawyers like me who have referred numerous cases to Kathy, invariably with positive feedback from the clients regarding her knowledge of their case, empathy, professionalism and fair-mindedness in addressing their concerns.” (Fellow attorney)

“Thank you for giving [our son] back to us. Wonderful work!” (Family of client accused of armed robbery after charges were dismissed)

“Yes, His perfect time and perfect place, you were a part of this plan. I almost didn’t hire you, but I took a step of faith trusting Him and look what happened? Praise God. Our Lord put you in your vocation for a reason, continue to help those He brings your way. May He bless you in ALL you do!” (Client who was wrongfully convicted of sexual assault in a northwestern Wisconsin county. He was released from prison after attorneys got his conviction reversed.)

“I really cannot thank you enough for your past help. You really know your stuff. It is actually funny when I think about my other past attorney’s knowledge and then when I talk with you. It’s like night and day. You’re like a walking book of knowledge with a purpose-driven life. Thanks.” (Brown County client of attorney Buting)

“A year later and I still believe your defense is the single best example of lawyering I have ever seen.” (Television reporter commenting on attorney Buting’s defense of Steven Avery)

“You have a certain brilliance that makes me sure that when you talk, it is good information and I am in good hands. You tell it to me like it is even when the things you say are not always the things that I would like to hear. You keep it REAL!!!” (Brown County client)

“Thank you, thank you, thank you! I feel like this was one of the biggest blessings that happened in my life. I put this along with my children being born healthy and when I survived that horrific shooting. I appreciate everything you have done for me. I couldn’t ask for better lawyers. I want to say thank you to everybody at your firm. I owe you more than the fee you so rightfully deserve. … You gave me back hope. Thank you, man! Out of my 36 years … I have never seen such kindness before. I don’t know what I did to deserve this; I’m very thankful nonetheless. Thank you for giving me hope again. Thank you for your generosity. There are still some really good people around.” (Federal criminal appeal client)

“There is no other attorney I’ve ever even heard of I’d rather have as chief counsel and leader of my defense/appeals than Jerome Buting. You’re the best. Period.” (Dane County client)

“Your advice and counsel were greatly appreciated. We appreciate you taking the time on your Sunday and evenings to help us. We are SO happy about the results! Thanks again.” (Waukesha County client)

“Thank you again … for everything. Five and one-half years of commitment, so many ups and downs and an outcome like that. You did a GREAT job.” (Waukesha County felony drug offense client)