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Abuelhawa v. United States

Abuelhawa v. United States, 556 U.S. 816 (2009), was a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held that a defendant who used a cellphone for the misdemeanor purchase of cocaine could not be charged with a felony for using a "communication facility" to facilitate the distribution of an illegal drug under 21 U.S.C. ยง 843(b). In a unanimous opinion delivered by Justice Souter, the Court reasoned that the Government's interpretation of "facilitate" exposed a first-time buyer using a phone "to punishment 12 times more severe than a purchase by a recidivist offender and 8 times more severe than the unauthorized possession of a drug used by rapists," and was clearly not in line with Congress's intent, since it conflicted with the classification of the drug sale itself as a misdemeanor.