In Need of a Fix: Reforming Criminal Law in Light of a Contemporary Understanding of Drug Addiction

39 Pages Posted: 3 May 2013

See all articles by Patrick Eoghan Murray

Patrick Eoghan Murray

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law

Date Written: May 2, 2013

Abstract

This Comment challenges the assumption that actions associated with drug addiction can be easily classified as either voluntary or involuntary. As an alternative to this black-and-white distinction, this Comment advances the concept of a semi-voluntary act category to describe more accurately a drug addict’s choice to use drugs. When limited appropriately to drug addicts rather than all drug users, this category provides an avenue for a partial affirmative defense that would result in a verdict of not guilty but responsible. This verdict would more fairly treat drug addicts who commit crimes while intoxicated by reducing the stigma of a finding of guilt and by demanding that the defendant take responsibility for their drug addiction and seek effective treatment.

Keywords: Addiction, affirmative defense, verdict, prison, rehabilitation, deterrence, intoxication, drug addict, drug, criminal law, punishment, model penal code, Powell, Robinson, Egelhoff, tracing, responsibility

JEL Classification: K10, K14, K42, I10, I12, I30, K41

Suggested Citation

Murray, Patrick Eoghan, In Need of a Fix: Reforming Criminal Law in Light of a Contemporary Understanding of Drug Addiction (May 2, 2013). UCLA Law Review, Vol. 60, No. 4, 2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2259917

Patrick Eoghan Murray (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law ( email )

385 Charles E. Young Dr. East
Room 1242
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1476
United States

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