Homeless jailed frequently under ‘habitual drunkard’ law


The law, which dates back to the 1930s, is being challenged.
News Story (Virginia)

Denise Lavoie
Associated Press (AP)
May 17, 2018
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Tags: Housing: Homelessness

Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Aid Justice Center (Virginia)


DETAILS

The lawsuit alleges that the law criminalizes addiction and violates the 8th Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. It also says the law violates due-process rights because the cases are brought in civil court and the defendants are not guaranteed a lawyer as they are in criminal cases.

“This criminalizes the status of being a homeless alcoholic,” said Mary Frances Charlton, the lead attorney challenging the law.