Parents Convicted of Hosting Underage Drinking Party

There are so many things wrong with this prosecution and conviction, I'm not sure where to begin.

A jury in Lake County [IL.] weighed in ... Saturday, finding a Deerfield couple guilty of allowing their son's friends to drink in their basement one night last October. Two teenage guests were killed in a car crash shortly after leaving the Deerfield home of Jeffrey and Sara Hutsell.

The jury of seven women and five men deliberated seven hours before reaching its decision at about 7:40 p.m. They also convicted the Hutsells of one count of endangerment of a child and one count of obstruction of justice for lying to police officers on the night of the accident. The jury acquitted the couple of another obstruction charge for destroying evidence. The Hutsells showed no emotion as the verdicts were read.

Why should the parents be accountable for the intentional actions of other peoples' kids? One kid, age 18, drove drunk after leaving the party, killing himself and his passenger. Teenagers don't live in a vacuum. They know you aren't supposed to drink and drive. If you have to blame someone, why not blame the driver's parents who gave him the car to drive and didn't teach him better or monitor his activity to ensure he wouldn't abuse the privilege?

As the lawyer for the convicted mom told the jury,

"Did they provide alcohol? No.," .... "Did they come down and drink with them? No. Did they bring them chips and salsa? No."


Another factoid that has me seeing red: the prosecution forced the parents' youngest son to testify against them by granting him immunity. There should be a parent-child testimonial privilege in this country. Forcing a kid to testify against his parents or vice-versa is detrimental to the emotional health of the family unit. Where are the family values people?

And why did the Judge allow into evidence that the passenger who died in the accident, also age 18, had smoked marijuana? He wasn't driving, he didn't cause the accident.

If you look at the cause of deaths in this country, the CDC reports accidental deaths account for a small percentage -- 108,000 out of 2 1/2 million deaths. Even accepting MADD's figures that in 2006, 17,941 of the 108,000 accidental deaths reported by the CDC were alcohol related, they wouldn't make the top ten.

Let's lower the drinking age to 18 and hold those who drink irresponsibly accountable for their actions. It's not like the kids wouldn't have had access to alcohol if they weren't at the party. They just would have drank it elsewhere.

As today's article notes, the night before the jury returned its verdict,

[T]hree teens — one who testified at the trial and two others who were on the witness list — were arrested at a party Friday night for alleged alcohol-related offenses.

What a nanny state we've become, holding parents responsible for decisions made by other peoples' kids.

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    Parents convicted of underage drinking (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by disgusted on Sun Jul 22, 2007 at 05:31:57 AM EST
    Now where is the responsibility of the other parents involved, the state (worthless MORONS) then the other parents,hhhmmmm,they do not want their child drinking then WHY wasn't the parent SUPERVISING their child , I know a parent can't be with their child 24/7. I say to this BullSH*T.
    I believe the parents should start fighting back start sueing the INFORMERS then if and when your child gets injured SUE the STATE COUNTY and CITY for intefering with Parental Rights.
    I taught my children (5 of them) how to drink from the time they were of walking age, ppppsssst two of them are millionaires all have college degrees. I remember my oldest son asking me one day why his friends thought drinking was such a big thing and I explained that is because it is a taboo and a mystery to them we sat down and talked some more about it. Want to know something folks none of my children drink today and they are training their children the same way and guess what no mystery no taboo NO PROBLEM. THEY do not have to sneak a drink they are TAUGHT responsibility and some thing most wing nuts don't know ACCOUNTABILITY.

    To those parents being prosecuted I would counter sue the informant as they WERE NOT watching their child and the STATE CITY COUNTY for inteferring with your parental right then start a movement to make HEREOS out of these parents and DEMONIZE the STATE and SELF RIGHTEOUS GROUPS for the EVIL that they are.

    No is NOT the answer accountability is, I also worked as a volunteer fireman and have pulled teen bodies from car accidents, accidents that could have been prevented if the PARENTS would have TAUGHT their children CORRECTLY, what was it drinking NO, over loaded car with the music so loud they were unaware of the danger around them, so please as these WING NUTS move in to strip parents of their parental duties under the guise of protection which is really INTRUSION, because if these same IDIOTS and DAs' cared they'ld ban radios car ove crowding and put those parents in jail also. Just a political ploy.

    disgusted (1.00 / 1) (#9)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jul 22, 2007 at 10:51:10 AM EST
    WHY wasn't the parent SUPERVISING their child , I know a parent can't be with their child 24/7.

    You seem to have answered your own question.

    One of the things I agree with that Hillary has said is:

    It takes a village....

    While your method of education may have worked for you, it won't for others. Since you provide anecdotal evidence, I will tell you that I have a friend that did the same and wound up with a problem drinker who later became an alcoholic...


    The Social Liberal Speaks (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by squeaky on Sun Jul 22, 2007 at 01:47:01 PM EST
    One of the things I agree with that Hillary has said is:

    It takes a village....

    Of course the difference between ppj and Hilary is that ppj's village amounts to a police state.

    I will tell you that I have a friend that did the same and wound up with a problem drinker who later became an alcoholic...
    Obviously your friend did not do the same as disgusted did with his children. But perhaps it was your authoritarian influence that turned the kid into a problem drinker.

    lets not get into personal attacks (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jul 22, 2007 at 01:50:28 PM EST
    on other commenters please.  You know better.

    Underage drinking (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by dakine01 on Sun Jul 22, 2007 at 01:53:10 PM EST
    My folks told my brother, sister, and I when we turned 14 to drink and smoke in front of them rather than sneaking and hiding.  One big difference was that at age 18, if there was a party, mom collected car keys at the door and did not return them until the next morning.

    Kids can be idiots (none / 0) (#41)
    by Jlvngstn on Mon Jul 23, 2007 at 10:13:14 AM EST
    25 years ago my best friends mom did the same thing to us.  You could drink in the house but no car keys.  You had to sleep over and party had to be done at 1:00 a.m.  Cots would be set out and they would check on us periodically to make sure none of us were doing drugs or getting too stiff.

    I would bring two sets and end up driving home anyway.  After about 3 times, they caught on and banned me from participating (for 6 months).  I was lucky not to have hurt anyone.

    When I was not able to drink there, I went to the park and drank and became a public nuisance and drove all the time.  When I was allowed back in, his parents told everyone in the group that all parties would end if I drove again.  My friends never let me leave the party alone after that....


    Kids Who Drink With Parents (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jul 22, 2007 at 01:55:23 PM EST
    Here's an interesting study:

    Teenagers who drink alcohol with their parents are less likely to drink heavily, according to research among 10,000 students aged 15 and 16 in 130 schools in England. The investigators, from Liverpool John Moores University's Public Health Centre, found that young people who were given some alcohol at home with parents were less likely to engage in the most dangerous types of drinking.

    I also recommend reading through the main site, Alcohol, Problems and Solutions and the page on youth issues.

    Republican = less govt intervention (none / 0) (#3)
    by Milo on Sun Jul 22, 2007 at 07:58:47 AM EST
    Yikes. Yet another case study in this country's drift towards a brave new wacky brand of republicanism that has become more and more estranged from its libertarian roots.

    OK (none / 0) (#4)
    by Strick on Sun Jul 22, 2007 at 09:57:50 AM EST
    Isn't this just an extension of the way society, starting in liberal states, has been holding bars responsible for people they overserve who cause accidents when they drive afterward.  That's hardly the result of "republicanism".  The only reason this is posted here is because of the obvious dichotomy: liberals don't hold individuals responsible for their actions, only

    Yes, I realize these parents didn't serve the teenagers, but they were responsible for them while they were in their house.  If a bartender (who represents the bar) is responsible for seeing that someone who's had to much to drink shouldn't drive, so should a parent who allowed a teenager drink in their house.  Sorry, that's the way it is, it's a simple principle.

    I do have some sympathy for these parents, there but for the grace of God and all, but they're still the parents.  Someone has to act like a grown up; the whole point of the laws these parents were ignoring is that these teenagers were too young to drink and act responsibly. A parent who allows this sort of thing has accepted that responsibility.

    Bullsh*t.... (none / 0) (#6)
    by kdog on Sun Jul 22, 2007 at 10:06:25 AM EST
    regardless of what the law says...an 18 year old is more than capable of being responsible for themselves.

    If an 18 year old can go to war, or go to adult prison if they commit a crime, then an 18 year old can face the music when they cause harm to others by drunk driving.  

    Alcohol laws have created a grey area between 18-21...we need to make the drinking age 18 and teach our kids personal responsibility from an early age.


    kdog (1.00 / 1) (#7)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jul 22, 2007 at 10:41:06 AM EST
    The problem with 18 year olds being able to buy booze is that they know too many 14, 15, 16 and 17 year olds and they can find themselves under great pressure to "help out a friend."

    I have written this before.

    Walk in that room. Do the identification. And then walk outside puking and crying.

    Then tell me that teenagers should have ready access to alcohol.


    then an 18 year old can face the music when they cause harm to others by drunk driving.  

    That doesn't bring the dead teenager back to life.

    That doesn't mean that there won't be a murder trial to go through.

    That doesn't mean that families won't be torn apart.

    That doesn't mean that other teenagers who lived won't be scarred for life, mentally and physically.

    kdog, you know that I have said that I would rationalize the drug laws and get rid of most. So I am not a prude and I'm not into controlling what people do with their bodies.

    But if we do that then we must be willing to be sure that when they use these "drugs," and alcohol is a drug, they are mature enough to handle them.

    Some are at 18, most are not. Some are not at 50, or 99...


    Better to give them a gun (none / 0) (#8)
    by Edger on Sun Jul 22, 2007 at 10:47:30 AM EST
    and send them to Iraq first.

    Then they'll have good reason the get drunk.

    After all the puking and crying.


    edger - I wrote (1.00 / 1) (#10)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jul 22, 2007 at 10:58:51 AM EST
    Some are at 18, most are not. Some are not at 50, or 99...

    Obviously you are in the second category.

    If you want to argue that an 18 year old who is in the military may buy and consume alcohol I would agree.


    in the second category? (5.00 / 0) (#14)
    by Edger on Sun Jul 22, 2007 at 11:36:54 AM EST
    No, ppj.

    I have no interest in sending 18 year olds to die in my place so I can stay comfortable and in denial, thanks.


    edger - the subject is (1.00 / 1) (#26)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jul 22, 2007 at 02:40:02 PM EST
    under age drinking.

    I wrote:

    If you want to argue that an 18 year old who is in the military may buy and consume alcohol I would agree

    So your interest is not in discussing the subject, but in changing the subject and trying to smeat.


    Alcohol (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by squeaky on Sun Jul 22, 2007 at 02:51:35 PM EST
    Strictly forbidden by the American military in Iraq and Afghanistan....

    Seems like what you advocate here has been causing some big problems.


    And your point is?? (1.00 / 1) (#30)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jul 22, 2007 at 04:05:56 PM EST
    The subject was underage teen drinking.

    My comment was that we could make military 18 year olds legal.

    Alcohol being banned in combat zones is nothing new, although the ban has been ignored in past wars.

    Contractors working for the old Aramco company, living in compounds in SA could make some pretty good Screech... Sailors have even been known to drain the fluid from an olive glass container and replace with vodka or gin... instant martoooonis...


    Yes I Saw MASH (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by squeaky on Sun Jul 22, 2007 at 04:27:32 PM EST
    squeaky (1.00 / 1) (#34)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jul 22, 2007 at 05:28:24 PM EST
    Too bad you have to use TV shows as your basis for judging.

    Hint: It aint real.


    Maybe Not (none / 0) (#39)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 23, 2007 at 12:35:43 AM EST
    But it was depicted in Mash as you describe. Is that where you get your info about the military?

    squeaky (none / 0) (#42)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jul 23, 2007 at 02:35:47 PM EST
    I know of no stills ever in the military..

    The "Screech" was in civilian compounds in SA.


    BTW (1.00 / 1) (#32)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jul 22, 2007 at 04:20:50 PM EST
    Your link demontrates the types of problems that alcohol can cause.

    If you want some sadness for breakfast, walk around downtown Anchorage some cold morning and see what alcohol has done to some of the NA population.


    Got stats? (none / 0) (#12)
    by Sailor on Sun Jul 22, 2007 at 11:25:34 AM EST
    The problem with 18 year olds being able to buy booze is that they know too many 14, 15, 16 and 17 year olds and they can find themselves under great pressure to "help out a friend."
    Since you stated this as a fact I assume you have stats to back it up with.

    sailor (none / 0) (#27)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jul 22, 2007 at 02:44:06 PM EST
    If you want to argue that 18 years do not know more teenagers than 21 year olds, be my guest.

    so you don't have any stats (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Sailor on Sun Jul 22, 2007 at 08:01:20 PM EST
    Usual, nothing to back up your baseless allegations.

    There are stats in Iowa they do a survey (none / 0) (#38)
    by JSN on Sun Jul 22, 2007 at 09:05:03 PM EST
    of grade school and high school students every year. The results
    are very consistent they say anyone who wants alcohol can get it. Usually from an older sibling or friend of an older sibling. Sometimes they steal it but not from their parents. Sometimes the alcohol is provided by the parents.

    Most of our juvenile arrests for PAULA (poss. of alcohol under the legal age) are by the Sheriff either at parties or kids drinking in a car. If the city police get a call about someone on the unconscious on the ground it usually it is one of our frequent fliers at the jail but on occasion it is a juvenile. They have to arrest a juvenile to take them to the emergency room but they don't arrest adults to do the same.

    A lot of the juveniles arrested on an alcohol charge a run through the juvenile diversion program with good results in the majority of the cases. When that does not work the consequences can be very serious I have seen files for juveniles at thick as a phone book and most of them have lots of PAULA  and DUI charges.

    A good book on the subject is "Alcohol From Cradle to Grave" by Eric Newhouse he won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for a series of articles which he then published in a book.

    The problem with teenagers is their central nervous system is being rewired and there are 100,000 lose screws even when they are sober. Adding alcohol does not help.


    Both Disgusted and kdog are Right On (none / 0) (#21)
    by squeaky on Sun Jul 22, 2007 at 01:59:13 PM EST
    But if we do that then we must be willing to be sure that when they use these "drugs," and alcohol is a drug, they are mature enough to handle them.

    Great idea ppj! Disgusted has been successful at educating his children. YOur authoritarian methods are not education but turn drug and alcohol use into a taboo. That only encourages binge and irresponsible use of intoxicating substances.

    Just say no has the opposite effect as intended.

    A friend of mine's family sat down with them when they reached puberty and explained all the contraceptives and std prevention methods available. The parents explained that sex is fine but there is responsibility involved. Clear, frank and informative they were.

    My friend did not have sex until she was 20 when she was madly in love. And that result of abstaining was not out of fear but out of understanding due to good parenting.

    Disgusted is right on.


    squeaky (1.00 / 1) (#25)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jul 22, 2007 at 02:18:43 PM EST
    Again. You have no idea as to my "methods," and your comment is jut a smear.

    Disgusted's anecdotal comments are just that.

    Note that is all I said.


    Anecdotal? (5.00 / 0) (#28)
    by squeaky on Sun Jul 22, 2007 at 02:47:05 PM EST
    Statistics favor Disgusted's approach.

    And while it is true that I know nothing of your 'methods' I am only responding to what you have said here and in the past.


    squeaky (1.00 / 0) (#31)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jul 22, 2007 at 04:10:23 PM EST
    Drinking is a cultural thing.

    Using an English study to talk about the US proves nothing.

    As for "here and in the past."

    1. Show here.

    2. Show past.

    And yes, I still maintain that without the right to own and protect private property no can be free.

    Whatever you say... (none / 0) (#22)
    by Strick on Sun Jul 22, 2007 at 02:02:55 PM EST
    Though there appears to be room for disagreement.

    Teen Drinking in Illinois

    More than 10 million of America's youth under age 21 drink alcohol, and most of them are binge or heavy drinkers. Underage drinking is a major factor in nearly all the leading causes of death for youth: automobile crashes, homicide, suicide, and fatal injures. More than two out of every five college students are binge drinkers, with excessive drinking accounting for a staggering 1,400 deaths, 70,000 sexual assaults and 600,000 assaults on campuses every year.

    The Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (ICAAP) has initiated a multi-year effort to combat alcohol abuse among children through creating the statewide Illinois Coalition for Reducing Underage Drinking with the American Medical Association (AMA) and other advocate groups.

    BTW, on the "republicanism" comment: Lake County appears to be overwhelmingly Democratic.


    BTW... (none / 0) (#23)
    by Strick on Sun Jul 22, 2007 at 02:04:36 PM EST
    I do tend to agree with many of the comments.  If you teach your children about such things I think they'll have fewer problems.

    But that makes you responsible for them if they're doing them at your home while you're there.


    The ABA policy on over reliance on incarceration (none / 0) (#5)
    by JSN on Sun Jul 22, 2007 at 09:59:53 AM EST
    is that incarceration should be reserved for offenders who
    are a threat to public safety or are habitual offenders. In this case
    they were not either. A fine, community service and probation
    were the appropriate sanctions.

    In my view this was abuse of power by the county attorney  and the judge. The voters can fix the problem of the county attorney if they want to. I don't know if the judge has to run to be retained in this case.

    had to delete a comment becuase (none / 0) (#11)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jul 22, 2007 at 11:08:58 AM EST
    it had a url so long it skewed the site. Please use the html link button at the top of the comment box to post urls. Thanks.

    There are six countries in the world (none / 0) (#16)
    by InsanityRules on Sun Jul 22, 2007 at 01:12:53 PM EST
    that have a drinking age of 21:  Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Tunisia, Egypt, and the U. S. of A.  It appears fighting "them" over there has failed, and Muslim fundamentalists have infiltrated our legal system - in 1980!

    When did our government usurp our authority as parents to teach our kids to drink responsibly?  Instead, we force them into their cars to drink, or to travel to remote locations where they can hide their drinking.  Then they get into cars and drive home.

    No wonder teens die in alcohol-related accidents.  Our laws are geared to promote teen drinking and driving.  I for one would rather have my kids safe in someone's home with adult supervision and their car keys in an adult's pocket!

    Underage drinking (none / 0) (#35)
    by sab on Sun Jul 22, 2007 at 05:45:29 PM EST
    As the step-parent of a prevoiously underage drinker whose whole family knew that genetically his chances of being an alchoholic were about 95%, I have a huge problem with other peoples' parents allowing any underage drinking. Maybe their kid doesn't have a problem, but ours did. The whole point of the kids being under-age is that they are not deemed responsible, so any adult who allows underage kids to drink in their home deserve some bad consequences. They are the only responsible adults around. I feel especially strongly about those who allow other peoples's underage kids to drink in their homes and then drive away. I suppose we could have locked our kid up every weekend until he was eighteen and deprive him of any social life, but it seems more fair to enforce the laws on the books, and say our kid could leave the house on week-ends, and other peoples parents would not assist him in breaking laws to drink (and drive) underage.

    sab - Very well said. (none / 0) (#36)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jul 22, 2007 at 07:18:02 PM EST
    If I lend my gun to someone (none / 0) (#40)
    by Deconstructionist on Mon Jul 23, 2007 at 08:39:16 AM EST
      I KNOW intends to commit a crime with it, I am guilty of being an accessory before the fact to that crime and my punishment will likely be more severe if the crime committed results in death or serious harm to someone than if not.  I think almost all would agree that makes sense.

       If I merely know someone intends to commit a crime and do nothing to stop him by taking his gun from him or calling the police  I am guilty of no crime-- regardless of how severe the crime is that is committed. I'm not even liable in a civil action absent some special duty created by positive law.

      If I give my gun to someone without knowledge he intends to commit a crime with it, I am not criminally liable although I may be liable in a civil action for negligent entrustment depending on the circumstances.

      Those are all common law priciples and, very generally speaking, the further statutory law deviates from common law principles the more dubious it can be considered.

      To me the issue is not whether under some  cirumstances adults should be held criminally liable for harm caused by children committing crimes, but where the lines should be drawn.

      I  have no problem with a statute establishing an offense where an adult provides alcohol and a car to child. An adult who says "here's a fifth and the keys"  should be punished if the child then drives drunk even if it's not his kid. At the other extreme if a kid enters my house without my knowledge or permission, drinks my booze and takes my car and drives drunk, I should not be held liable for his actions even if it is my kid.

       Now, somewhere between those extremes is where it gets more difficult to decide what is right.


    Apparently, in Illinois, (none / 0) (#43)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Jul 23, 2007 at 03:15:46 PM EST
    it's illegal for kids under age 21 to drink.

    I don't see the problem with adults being responsible if they knowingly allowing underage kids to drink illegally in the parents home.

    Having said that - despite the truly asinine things I did while drinking and driving as a late-teen and my, now, total embarrassment at those actions - I'm starting to think I'm leaning toward supporting returning the legal drinking age to 18...

    Yeah (none / 0) (#44)
    by Deconstructionist on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 07:51:39 AM EST
      one of the things that struck me reading about this thread was the number of posts implying this was some esoteric subject that requires "studies" to understand.

      As we were all teens and many are parents, I think we can all grasp reality pretty easily without studies and reports.

      The drinking age was 18 when I was a kid and it hhad little to no  effect on keeping me and just about everyone I knew from drinking prior to that. Not only were there the ever present older brothers but obviously it's easier for a 16 year old to pass as 18 than 21 and make direct purchases. Saying we need a study to establish the point that a lower drinking age makes it easier for younger people to get alcohol is absurd.

      It's also hardly news that young people, especially young males, are very often foolish and reckless and do really dangerous things either just for the thrill of it or to "impress" others.  We used to have competitive drinking and people would brag about how much they could drink. You don't hear much of that from 35 year olds by when abnormal tolerance is recognized as symptomatic of a problem and not evidence of toughness or "coolness."

       There can be NO QUESTION that wider availability of alcohol for young people  will lead to more problems caused by alcohol. That's a given and disputing the point just destroys all credibility.

      The question is (as it usually is) at what point the balance should be struck between restricting everyone because a certain number will cause problems.

       Should the 20 year old female who just wants a glass of white wine at the coffeehouse hootenanny be forbidden because her idiot 18 year old brother is likely to do 15 shots of tequilla and get behind the wheel and buy his 15 year old brother a 12 pack?


    Well said Decon (none / 0) (#47)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 12:20:14 PM EST
    The question is (as it usually is) at what point the balance should be struck
    well said.

    When did liberals (none / 0) (#45)
    by Pancho on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 11:25:16 AM EST
    start believing that people are responsible for their own actions? I'm 100% with you on this if you will agree to apply this simple concept more consistently.

    I don't know that "liberals" (none / 0) (#46)
    by Deconstructionist on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 11:37:50 AM EST
     ever felt that children should be considered as simply small adults responsible for their own actions in the same way as adults.

    It's so hypocrite! (none / 0) (#48)
    by RogerF on Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 12:19:10 PM EST
    Tell me the percentage of young people drinking under the age of 21?
    I can tell you it's a lot. It's so hypocrite, just pretend they are not drinking but you know they are. Let them drink somewhere else and let them drive home `DRUNK', because they are to afraid to tell there parents to pick them up. The drunk driving accidents in the US are one of the highest of all western countries. This makes me so mad. She goes to prison but for all I know she maybe saved one little child that could have been killed because of a drunk driver.
    What is happening in this country, let us please open our eyes.