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Court: Scottsdale Can't Prosecute Public Drunkenness

The Arizona Court of Appeals says the city of Scottsdale cannot prosecute people for being incapacitated in public because they’re under the influence of alcohol.

The court’s ruling Tuesday says Scottsdale’s law is trumped by a state law, prohibiting penalties for being intoxicated in public.

Scottsdale approved the law to help curb rowdy behavior in its entertainment district. The court ruling says state law decriminalizes public intoxication and treats alcoholism as a disease.

The decision was the result of an appeal by city prosecutors, after a municipal judge made a similar finding. A Superior Court judge had held local laws against intoxication are not barred when the offense includes being under the influence of alcohol.

The Appeals court disagreed.

In the wee small hours of the morning, when most of us are working on REM sleep, Morning Edition host and reporter, Dennis Lambert busily prepares the news and information KJZZ listeners hear as they prepare for the day. He did that for KJZZ listeners from 1996 to 2016. Dennis retired in 2016.