Robinson v. California
370 U.S. 660 (1962)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Robinson v. California, 370 U.S. 660 (1962)

Robinson v. California

No. 554

Argued April 17, 1962

Decided June 25, 1962

370 U.S. 660

Syllabus

A California statute makes it a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for any person to "be addicted to the use of narcotics," and, in sustaining petitioner's conviction thereunder, the California courts construed the statute as making the "status" of narcotic addiction a criminal offense for which the offender may be prosecuted "at any time before he reforms," even though he has never used or possessed any narcotics within the State and has not been guilty of any antisocial behavior there.

Held: As so construed and applied, the statute inflicts a cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. Pp. 370 U. S. 660-668.

Reversed.

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