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  1. #1
    BEB
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    Question Justice or Judicial Tantrum?

    What say you?
    This editorial is the topic of the moment on the local talk show. I'm especially interested how those in other countries view this and how it would be dealt with there. (not to base our legal system on others, for discussion)


    Justice or Judicial Tantrum?
    A 27-month prison sentence for serving wine and beer to minors
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...8.html?sub=new

    MORE AND MORE states are holding adults criminally accountable for serving liquor in their homes to underage drinkers, and with good reason. Most teens get their alcohol from adults, including parents at parties for graduations, proms and birthdays, and too many then drive away drunk, killing or maiming themselves or others. Parents who enable underage drinking, especially by young teenagers, deserve to be prosecuted and punished within reason.

    What constitutes "within reason"? Surely it depends partly on circumstances. In Virginia's Albemarle County, Elisa Kelly and her former husband, George Robinson, have begun serving 27-month jail terms for having provided beer and wine at a backyard birthday party five years ago for Ms. Kelly's son Ryan, who was 16 at the time. This despite the fact that the prosecutor originally sought a three-month sentence. And although Ms. Kelly and Mr. Robinson collected car keys from their underage guests so that none would leave the party at the wheel of a car; the idea was that most would spend the night.

    Here is an example of a sentence so harsh that it goes far beyond reasonable deterrence. We do not for a moment suppose that Ms. Kelly and Mr. Robinson are blameless in this affair. At or before the party, they apparently misled or lied to parents who asked whether alcohol would be served; they also advised the youths who were drinking on techniques for covering the liquor on their breath. But the juvenile court judge who originally imposed eight-year sentences and the appeals court that cut those to 27 months seem to have lost any sense of proportion. After all, as a letter in the adjacent column points out, there are instances of far more serious crimes, even killings, whose perpetrators face less time behind bars than do Ms. Kelly and Mr. Robinson.

    In this case, Ms. Kelly has publicly expressed remorse. The trial, appeals process and resulting media coverage have exposed her and Mr. Robinson to embarrassing publicity. The Virginia legislature has toughened its laws to crack down on adults who serve liquor to youths in their homes. What possible further purpose is served by a prison term nine times longer than the one originally sought by prosecutors?

  2. #2
    conalabu is offline Grasshopper
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    While I do believe 8 years would have been excessive, 27 months I find to be fair. This was not a singular incident, but many incidents at one time. Let us make a guess about the number of kids at this party being 20. It may have been more or less, but for the sake of this conversation, let the number be 20. We can all recall how we acted as youth, we all knew of way to escape our parents view and protection, even if we did not always use those ways. We all knew who the "cool parents" were. In knowing those two things, we also knew how to mainpulate those "cool parents" so that we could do what we wanted. Let us also bring this to worse case scenario, which is something that I am sure entered into the judges mind in sentencing. Let us say that a mere five, one fifth of the party, found a way to leave. Perhaps an extra key or knowing where the keys were being hidden. Those five all pile into a car and begin traveling down the road, intoxicated. An accident occurs. A child dies. A child is miamed. A child is paralyzed. A child has to live with knowing they participated or drove another friend to harm. Of course, the judge should consider the facts as they stand, but at least part of this crime is for the ignoring of laws designed for the protection of our next generation. Protection immediately implies to prevent an act of harm. Prevention means that the act has not occured, but has a chance of occuring that is not an acceptable level of risk. At what number of months do you value your childs life being put at risk?
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  3. #3
    BEB
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    Thanks con, and I agree, it is multiple incidents at once. That seems to get lost.

    Thought I'd share a couple comments from today's callers.

    *they're going to lose their home and their kid won't get to go to college now. This judge is punishing their child!

    *stick one in for a year and a half, let them out and put the other one in, keep doing this until they've served their sentence. The one who is out can pay the bills and take care of the kid

  4. #4
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    I'll take conalabu's concept one step further.

    Let's say (as he did) that there were 20 kids at the party.

    That's 20 counts of contributing X whatever the sentence.

    Given the aggravated circumstances of their lying to the parents of the youth and compounding the offense by obstruction (teaching them to cover it up), it sounds like 'rule of law' to me. Were I one of the parents of a guest at the party, I'd want their asses mounted on my mantle.

    "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."
    - Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

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    The opinions expressed by this poster are wholly his own, and should never be construed to even remotely be in representation of his employer, its agencies or assigns. In fact, they probably fail to be in alignment with the opinions of any rational human being.

  5. #5
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    They willfully, and knowingly provided alcohol to kids. Not 18 year olds, on the cusp of adulthood caught in the federal "21" mandate, but 16 year olds.

    They premeditated their crime, and apparently never thought twice, even after other parents asked about alcohol. They deprived those parents the right to make an informed choice about how appropriate the party would be for their child to attend.

    They advised the kids to lie about the alcohol, and gave them techniques to cover the smell.

    The only thing that makes them different then the drug pusher on the street is they worked a nicer corner.
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