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Tuesday, August 09, 2005

overstating the case

In "Zero Tolerance Makes Zero Sense", Radley Balko writes about some questionable prosecutions:
A couple in Virginia was recently sentenced to 27 months in jail for throwing a supervised party for their son's 16th birthday, at which beer was made available. That was reduced on appeal from the eight-year sentenced imposed by the trial judge. The local MADD president said she was "pleasantly surprised" at the original eight-year verdict, and "applauded" the judge's efforts.
I agree that it's overkill and that the parents are trying to do what they think is right, but supplying kids with alcohol? I can understand looking they other way when the kids are drinking, rather than a strict rule that might cause one's kids to go to a party and then drive home drunk, but maybe the parents were just a bit too permissive in these cases? On the other hand, it's stuff like this:
The Post reported a while back on a party in Bethesda in which there was no underage drinking at all. Police approached the parents at a backyard graduation party and asked if they could administer breath tests to underage guests. The mother refused. So the cops cordoned off the block and administered breath tests to each kid as he or she left the party. Not a single underage guest had been drinking. The police then began writing traffic tickets for all of the cars around the house hosting the party. The mother told The Post, "It almost seemed like they were angry that they didn't find anything."
that makes me wonder if we should just repeal every freaking law on the books.

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