The opinion line-up for United States v. Bell, a recent Fourth Circuit opinion ordering resentencing in a drug case, showcases a defection by two of the three judges. It reads as follows:
Judge Davis wrote the opinion, in which Judge Floyd and Senior Judge Hamilton joined except as to footnote 8. Senior Judge Hamilton wrote an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment, in which Judge Floyd joined.
The defecting-inducing footnote states, in part:
Perhaps in some future case we might be required to decide whether a defendant in circumstances similar to Bell’s bears a burden of production as to his or her personal consumption of a validly prescribed medication. But that question is not before us; in this case, whatever burden of production Appellant Bell may have had was satisfied by the very evidence produced by the government itself, along with the drug screens and evidence of her longstanding legitimate medical needs. Thus, to the extent the concurrence purports to announce a rule imposing an “obligation” on such a defendant to produce evidence of personal consumption at sentencing, it constitutes mere dicta and, in any event, was not argued by the government.