385 U.S. 909 (1966)

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BUDD v. CALIFORNIA. , 385 U.S. 909 (1966)

385 U.S. 909

Thomas F. BUDD, petitioner,
No. 91, Misc.

Supreme Court of the United States

October 17, 1966

George F. Duke, Marshall W. Krause and James B. Schnake, for petitioner.

Thomas C. Lynch, Atty. Gen. of California, Albert W. Harris, Jr., Asst. Atty. Gen., and William D. Stein, Deputy Atty. Gen., for respondent.

Public Defender of Sacramento County and Eugene I. Lambert, for the Washington, D.C., Area Council on Alcoholism and others, amici curiae.

Petition for writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court of California.


Dissenting opinion by Mr. Justice FORTAS:

This case presents the important question whether punishment may constitutionally be inflicted, pursuant to 647(f) of the California Penal Code, upon a person suffering from the disease of alcoholism-as distinguished from drunkenness or periodic, voluntary overindulgence in intoxicants. The California statute provides, in part, that any person 'found in any public place under the influence of intoxicating liquor ... in such a condition that he is unable to exercise care for his own safety or that of others' is guilty of a misdemeanor. Petitioner

Page 385 U.S. 909 , 910

challenges the statute on the ground, among others, that its application to him, allegedly an alcoholic, constitutes 'cruel and unusual punishment' in contravention of the Eighth Amendment of the Federal Constitution.

I believe that we should grant the writ. The trial court made no finding as to whether petitioner suffered from alcoholism, presumably because of its legal conclusion that alcoholism affords no defense to the statutory charge. The trial record squarely presents the issue whether alcoholism is, as a matter of law, a defense to the charge. There is abundant evidence in this record to impel a finding that petitioner is an alcoholic, that he suffers from an illness which results in inability to control either his drinking or certain aspects of behavior after he has been drinking. And the constitutional questions sought to be raised here were presented to each of the state courts through which this case has passed. [Footnote 1]

It is time for this Court to decide whether persons suffering from the illness of alcoholism and exhibiting [385 U.S. 909 , 911]

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