When just being near alcohol lands you in jail

Virginia advocates and public defenders have been fighting the law for years, saying it targets homeless people suffering from alcoholism and jails them without full due process.

News Story (Virginia)

Christie Thompson
Washington Post
September 7, 2018

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


Manning is one of the lead plaintiffs in a class-action suit filed by the Legal Aid Justice Center in Virginia, claiming the statute is unconstitutional. But an August decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit upheld the law.

“It just seems really ancient,” said Elaine Poon, the managing attorney at the Legal Aid Justice Center. “Alcohol is legal for all of us, except for these people who have been deemed undesirable by the district attorneys.” Poon notes that the law doesn’t specify what makes someone a drunkard, or how many previous offenses they need to have committed.