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Landmark Cases

Case Name: POWELL v. State of TEXAS

Date, Location, Cite: 1968 TX
392 US 514
US SUPREME COURT

Defendant arrested for public drunk; said he was alcoholic, couldn't help it, cited ROBINSON v. CALIF; Court affirmed, said ROBINSON made being alcoholic (status) a crime, POWELL only made public drunk a crime; also said alcoholism not a disease, not treatable; if decided today, probably would be different, as alcoholism is in DSM-IV, Rx centers exist; most states now don't have public drunkeness, police use disorderly conduct instead. Prosecution used no expert testimony.