Cruel and unusual punishment.
Robinson v. California, 370 U.S. 660 (1962), was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that the use of civil imprisonment as punishment solely for the misdemeanor crime of addiction to a controlled substance was a violation of the Eighth Amendment's protection against cruel and unusual punishment.
The Court ruled that the California law violated the cruel and unusual punishment clause as narcotics addiction "is apparently an illness", and California was attempting to punish people based on being in this state of illness, rather than for any specific act. A person guilty under this law, the Court noted, might never have taken any narcotics at all while in California, nor engaged in any destructive behavior.
· 9 years ago