Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Drink at Home? Be Careful!!

From Massachusetts:

A man arrested when police showed up to break up a New Year's Eve party at a friend's house has filed a lawsuit, arguing he had a constitutional right to get drunk on private property as long as he didn't cause a public disturbance.

Eric Laverriere, 25, of Portland, Maine, was taken into protective custody by Waltham police and locked in a cell for nine hours until the effects of the alcohol wore off.

Legal experts said his lawsuit, filed this week in U.S. District Court in Boston, is the first to challenge a state law allowing police to lock up drunk people against their will for their own protection.


Several lawyers said they believe police have the authority to take inebriated people into custody, but they said it was the first time the law has been challenged on the grounds that one has a constitutional right to get drunk on private property.

The Protective Custody Law, enacted in 1971, replaced a Colonial-era law that made public drunkenness a crime. It authorizes police to hold people against their will for up to 12 hours if they are drunk and a danger to themselves or others.

Attorney Leonard Kesten, who has defended police departments in civil-rights cases, said if officers are investigating a crime or responding to an incident and discover that someone is drunk and posing a danger, they are obligated to take that person into protective custody.


This is TED KENNEDY'S state, right?

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