This is an audio case brief of State v Martin, 17 So. 2d. 427 (Ala. Ct. App. 1944) The audio brief provides a full case analysis. However a written summary of the case is provided below.
Defendant Martin was convicted of being drunk on a public highway. He appealed his conviction to the Alabama court of appeals.
Martin was in his home when officers of the law arrested him. They then took him onto the highway. There he manifested a drunken condition by using loud and profane language.
Alabama law prohibited a person from manifesting a drunken condition while in public.
Does the Alabama law in question require that the defendant be voluntary present in a public place while intoxicated?
The Statute reads;
“Any person who, while intoxicated or drunk, appears in any public place where one or more persons are present, and manifests a drunken condition by boisterous or indecent conduct, or loud and profane discourse, shall, on conviction, be fined”
The statute presumes that the defendant’s appearance in public must be voluntary.
The court stated that “The rule has been declared, and we think it sound, that an accusation of drunkenness in a designated public place cannot be established by proof that the accused, while in an intoxicated condition, was involuntarily and forcibly carried to that place by the arresting officer.”
Because Martin’s did not voluntarily go to the highway, but instead was arrested and brought to the highway by police officers, the court ruled that his conviction cannot stand.
The court reversed his conviction stating, Conviction of appellant was contrary to this announced principle and, in our view, erroneous. It appears that no legal conviction can be sustained under the evidence, so, consonant with the prevailing rule, the judgment of the trial court is reversed and one here rendered discharging appellant.
Martin’s conviction was reversed.