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Quote of the Day - Our constitution protects aliens, drunks and U.S. Senators. - Will Rogers
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Do You Have A Constitutional Right To Get Drunk On Private Property?

We've had a lot of talk about the constitution lately, but we're about to have one more discussion. Do you have a constitutional right to get drunk on private property?

The government can take your property, but what about the circumstance where you're drunk on your property? Can they take you?

That's what happened to twenty-five-year-old Eric Laverriere last New Year's Eve. He started the night at a friend's house, and was invited to spend the rest of the night there. Until, that is, the cops arrived. Apparently, someone had thrown champagne and beer bottles at a passing police cruiser, Waltham Police claimed.

Right. We've all done some pretty dumb things after a few drinks, but throw bottles at a cruiser?

The police paid the party a visit, and after discovering an allegedly inebriated Laverriere, they invoked the Massachusetts Protective Custody law, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 111B, 8 and invited him back to the drunk tank.

I've checked the Constitution, and it doesn't mention anything about drinking or getting drunk. It does, perhaps not surprisingly, protect Senators and Representatives from arrest while in Session (Art. I, 6). So, our Congresspeople can get drunk on the floor of the House or Senate and they can't be arrested, but heaven help you if you're in Waltham. I don't know.

Maybe Mr. Laverriere is claiming he has the right to pursue life, liberty and happiness. Seriously, though, I'm not far off. His lawsuit claims a constitutional right of "privacy and liberty right founded in the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution."

Not everyone agrees, however. What say you?

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Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Friday, July 08, 2005 at 21:55 Comments Closed (0) |
 
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