Friday, July 06, 2007


(Each "Question of the Week," an idea which I gleaned from A Republic If You Can Keep It, will remain toward the top of the blog until the next question appears. The previous Questions of the Week are HERE. Please scroll down for recent postings)

Experts inform us that our society is witnessing an epidemic of underage drinking. Therefore, most states have on the books statutes making it illegal for adults to buy alcohol for or to serve alcohol to minors. Some states have stricter statutes than others. Excerpt from this article in the July 4, 2007 edition of the Washington Post:

When police showed up recently at a Walt Whitman High School graduation party, three young people were drinking in a vehicle parked outside the Bethesda home. Then three more teenagers walked up with a six-pack in a bag. While the police were dealing with them, the mother came outside, saw the officers and ran back in.

Montgomery County police wrote dozens of citations against the minors who were found to have been drinking at the party. The party-hosting parents were given two civil citations each, carrying fines of up to $1,500 per infraction.

The outcome for the Bethesda parents was considerably less severe than for a Charlottesville area mother and stepfather who recently began serving 27-month jail sentences for hosting an underage drinking party. In Virginia and the District, parents who host such parties can be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a misdemeanor that can carry jail time. In Maryland, hosting an underage drinking party is punished with a civil penalty, payable with a fine, even for multiple offenses.

The stark contrast in punishments is just one inconsistency in a patchwork of conflicting legal practices and public attitudes about underage drinking parties. Even at a time of strong concern about youth drinking and drunken driving, police and prosecutors say parents in the Washington region are rarely held responsible -- criminally or civilly -- for allowing teenagers to gather at their homes and consume alcohol....
Read the entire article.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: How stringent should laws be with regard to serving alcohol to minors?


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posted by Always On Watch @ 7/06/2007 05:00:00 AM