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Life of a Law Student, University of Houston Law Center

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Involuntary Public Intoxication, Good Facts Make Funny Law

By: Luke Gilman | Other Posts by
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Kevin Underhill’s Lowering the Bar brought this gem of a case in Court of Appeal Upholds Right to Private Drunkenness.

Like my former favorite involuntary intoxication case, Martin v. State, 31 Ala.App. 334, 17 So.2d 427 (1944), the case of In re R.K. involves officers of the law in a podunk town that can’t help but get the mental banjos twangling to the ‘Deliverance‘ theme.

Underhill is now Exhibit A in my offer of proof that there is no reason on God’s green earth that legal writing should not be funny; we await only an appropriate subject:

I. The Woodshed Was Not a “Public Place”

Based on existing precedent:

  • Public places: barber shops, the hallways of an apartment building, and front yards that anyone can just walk into.
  • A not-public place: a front yard that was fenced in, gated, and into which the defendant “released three dogs.”
  • Possible gray areas: front yards containing fewer than three dogs; woodsheds.

The court found insufficient evidence that the woodshed in question was a public place. In a sweeping decision, it held that “a woodshed needs no barrier to establish that it is not open to common or general use,” thus affirming the common-law doctrine that a man’s home’s woodshed is his castle’s outbuilding.

Just go read the whole thing. Then subscribe to his feed.

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Category: criminal law, lawyer jokes


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