Public Drunkenness Statutes: An Insanity Defense

22 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2014

Date Written: 1975


This article first focuses on the situation of the chronic alcoholic charged with public drunkenness and on judicial treatment of the special defense of chronic alcoholism. The analysis compares identifiable lines of judicial thought about the defense with the opinions and conclusions of medical, psychological and sociological experts. The article considers case law regarding the treatment of so-called "status crimes" and case law addressing conditions arguably diminishing individual criminal responsibility. Thereafter, utilizing common-law concepts of personal accountability, a chronic alcoholism defense to public drunlkenness is formulated.

Keywords: chronic alcoholism, voluntariness, status crimes, criminal responsibility, Powell, Texas, drunkenness

Suggested Citation

Harkins, Malcolm J., Public Drunkenness Statutes: An Insanity Defense (1975). St. Louis University Law Journal, Vol. 19, 1975, Available at SSRN:

Malcolm J. Harkins (Contact Author)

St. Louis University ( email )

School of Law
100 N. Tucker Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63101-1930
United States
314 977 3998 (Phone)
314 977 3332 (Fax)

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