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Brock
07-09-2005, 11:33 AM
to paaaaaarty.

Man sues Mass. for right to get drunk

Associated Press


BOSTON - A man arrested when police showed up to break up a New Year's Eve party at a friend's house has filed a lawsuit, arguing he had a constitutional right to get drunk on private property as long as he didn't cause a public disturbance.

Eric Laverriere, 25, of Portland, Maine, was taken into protective custody by Waltham police and locked in a cell for nine hours until the effects of the alcohol wore off.

Legal experts said his lawsuit, filed this week in U.S. District Court in Boston, is the first to challenge a state law allowing police to lock up drunk people against their will for their own protection.

Laverriere argues that the Massachusetts Protective Custody Law was written to combat public drunkenness and that the police had no right to use it to take him from a private residence. He also says he had planned to spend the night at his friend's and wasn't going to be driving anywhere.

"One thing people should be able to do is drink in their own house," Laverriere told The Boston Globe. "That's the beauty of the land of the free."

Waltham Deputy Police Chief Paul Juliano declined to comment on the suit on the advice of the city's legal department.

Several lawyers said they believe police have the authority to take inebriated people into custody, but they said it was the first time the law has been challenged on the grounds that one has a constitutional right to get drunk on private property.

The Protective Custody Law, enacted in 1971, replaced a Colonial-era law that made public drunkenness a crime. It authorizes police to hold people against their will for up to 12 hours if they are drunk and a danger to themselves or others.

Attorney Leonard Kesten, who has defended police departments in civil-rights cases, said if officers are investigating a crime or responding to an incident and discover that someone is drunk and posing a danger, they are obligated to take that person into protective custody.

Police have been sued for failing to take people into protective custody who later died from alcohol poisoning or killed others in drunken-driving accidents.

Laverriere said that he drank several beers, but wasn't drunk, when officers arrived at his friend's duplex saying someone had thrown bottles at a passing police cruiser.

When the partygoers denied throwing bottles, Laverriere said, the officers became angry, prompting him to pick up a friend's camera and start videotaping. Laverriere told the Globe that Officer Jorge Orta ripped the camera from his hands and threw him to the floor, injuring his shoulder.

Laverriere said he told police he had been invited to spend the night at the house, but the officers insisted on taking him into protective custody.

One police report says that Laverriere appeared intoxicated and expressed "displeasure" at being told he had to leave the party. He was then taken into custody. The report says he fell to the floor while resisting Orta's efforts to handcuff him.

Bowser
07-09-2005, 11:38 AM
He fell to the floor repeatedly, extremely hard.

Skip Towne
07-09-2005, 11:41 AM
The police are your friends.

PHOG
07-09-2005, 11:44 AM
He fell to the floor repeatedly, extremely hard.


I guess it would depend on who told him to leave the party?

If the hostess/host had no problem with him, then why would the NAZI FASCIST PIGS tell him to leave the PAAAAARRRRTTTYYYY?




:)

Calcountry
07-09-2005, 11:47 AM
to paaaaaarty.

Man sues Mass. for right to get drunk

Associated Press


BOSTON - A man arrested when police showed up to break up a New Year's Eve party at a friend's house has filed a lawsuit, arguing he had a constitutional right to get drunk on private property as long as he didn't cause a public disturbance.

Eric Laverriere, 25, of Portland, Maine, was taken into protective custody by Waltham police and locked in a cell for nine hours until the effects of the alcohol wore off.

Legal experts said his lawsuit, filed this week in U.S. District Court in Boston, is the first to challenge a state law allowing police to lock up drunk people against their will for their own protection.

Laverriere argues that the Massachusetts Protective Custody Law was written to combat public drunkenness and that the police had no right to use it to take him from a private residence. He also says he had planned to spend the night at his friend's and wasn't going to be driving anywhere.

"One thing people should be able to do is drink in their own house," Laverriere told The Boston Globe. "That's the beauty of the land of the free."

Waltham Deputy Police Chief Paul Juliano declined to comment on the suit on the advice of the city's legal department.

Several lawyers said they believe police have the authority to take inebriated people into custody, but they said it was the first time the law has been challenged on the grounds that one has a constitutional right to get drunk on private property.

The Protective Custody Law, enacted in 1971, replaced a Colonial-era law that made public drunkenness a crime. It authorizes police to hold people against their will for up to 12 hours if they are drunk and a danger to themselves or others.

Attorney Leonard Kesten, who has defended police departments in civil-rights cases, said if officers are investigating a crime or responding to an incident and discover that someone is drunk and posing a danger, they are obligated to take that person into protective custody.

Police have been sued for failing to take people into protective custody who later died from alcohol poisoning or killed others in drunken-driving accidents.

Laverriere said that he drank several beers, but wasn't drunk, when officers arrived at his friend's duplex saying someone had thrown bottles at a passing police cruiser.

When the partygoers denied throwing bottles, Laverriere said, the officers became angry, prompting him to pick up a friend's camera and start videotaping. Laverriere told the Globe that Officer Jorge Orta ripped the camera from his hands and threw him to the floor, injuring his shoulder.

Laverriere said he told police he had been invited to spend the night at the house, but the officers insisted on taking him into protective custody.

One police report says that Laverriere appeared intoxicated and expressed "displeasure" at being told he had to leave the party. He was then taken into custody. The report says he fell to the floor while resisting Orta's efforts to handcuff him.Brilliant!

CosmicPal
07-09-2005, 11:56 AM
I read this the other day. Good for him- and that is ONLY if he was true to his word in that he'd be spending the night.

Many eons ago, some friends and I threw a party. We had a lot of peeps over and the police showed up. I was on the couch with my then girlfriend at the time while a couple of friends answered the door. They asked who the owner of the place was and they pointed me out. So, I address the police and tell them we'll keep it down and nobody's planning on leaving and all that garbage. I had given them my name and I didn't know it, but the partner had gone to the cruiser and did a check. He came back and said I had an outstanding warrant for unpaid parking tickets!! They cuffed me and threw me in the slammer for a couple of hours, dammit. They gave me one call and I, of course, called the house and convinced my friends to come get me out of jail. By the time I returned, most of the peeps were passed out, gone home, or still barely functioning...