June 17, 2005
More on the Sugar Land Kiddie Roundup

The Chron picks up on the Sugar Land Kiddie Roundup story that we read about last week, and the main piece of news is that Sugar Land Mayor David Wallace is on board with the "it's not okay for a minor to be at a party when alcohol is present, even if they're not drinking" school of thought.

A parent, Rene Woodring, said she is fighting the charges because her daughter was not drinking.

"The police came in. They didn't check to see which kids were drinking. They just said everybody is getting a minor in possession" citation, she said.

Woodring went to the house in the 800 block of Sugar Creek shortly after the 10:47 p.m. raid and asked police to give sobriety tests to determine who had been drinking.

"They said, 'No, everybody is getting a ticket and you just have to go to court and we will sort it out there,' " Woodring said Thursday.

Woodring and other parents are also angry because those who received citations were not allowed to take part in extracurricular activities at school.

Sugar Land Mayor David Wallace said despite the view of defense attorneys and some parents, city officials think the officers had legal cause to enter the house and issue citations.

"We take a very strong stance on minors in possession and we take a strong stance on illegal and underage drinking," he said.

Wallace said some of the teens and their parents have filed complaints against police for what they call unprofessional or abusive behavior.

"We are working those and continuing to investigate those" complaints, he said.

Just one question, David: If your son or daughter had been at this party, and swore to you afterwards that he or she had not had anything to drink, would you agree that he or she deserved to be ticketed and to lose extracurricular privileges as a result? Being proximate to a crime is not the same as committing that crime. I don't understand why that point isn't uncontroversial.

The cases come to court on June 30. I'll be very interested to see what the judge thinks.

UPDATE: Here's what Jim Thompson thinks.

This parent sees two different issues there. First, the police behaved irresponsibly by simply issuing citations to all without trying to determine who had been drinking. In this situation I would fight the ticket on the grounds that there was no evidence of guilt.

The other issue, though, would mean loss of privileges. My daughters know they are not to even hang around where alcohol is being consumed and no responsible adults are present to supervise. They know they are not to hang around where drugs are being used, period. (And if there was any doubt, Summer and Bryn, let there be no doubt now.) Breaking these rules would indeed result in loss of privileges. Period. End of story.

I agree completely. What punishment, if any, is to be handed out to the kids who were there but sober should be up to the parents, and that's because what they did might have been dumb, but it was not a crime. The police should not have gotten involved with those kids.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 17, 2005 to Crime and Punishment | TrackBack

Let me get this straight: we should punish kids who go to parties but do the right thing and don't drink?

So, you get punished whether you drink or don't? Hmmm, what incentive are we creating with this brilliant policy?

Posted by: joey jo jo shabadoo on June 17, 2005 3:27 PM

Yeah Right!

Daddykins and Mummykins to spoilt brat:

"Did you drink, honey?"

"NOOOO, Daddykins, the cops are LIARS, we were just hanging around while evrybody else was drinking!"

"OHHHH, my poooooorr babykins, Johnson, get my attorney on the line..."

"Sir, immediately ..."

Get Real!!!!

Posted by: ttyler5 on June 17, 2005 3:54 PM

some of us didn't drink in high school and actually drove other drunk kids around so they wouldn't get killed/kill anyone.

besides, shouldn't there actually, i don't know, be some freaking evidence before handing someone a ticket?

Posted by: joey jo jo shabadoo on June 17, 2005 4:43 PM

joey, there was no adult present at the party and under Texas law, all the kids who were on the premises are technically guilty of MIP.

The parents who have hired attorneys have done so because of school district rules on EC activities, their kids can be excluded from EC for getting in trouble like this (which may or may not be a good thing depending on the kid) but that is really why this set of parents is fighting it in court. It doesn't have a thing to do with "legal rights" issues, etc.

You would have been hit with MIP in Texas too, of course, back in high school, if you'd been pulled over while trying to help your friends and it turned out there was beer in the car, (unless the local cop decided to take you home to your folks or call them to come get you, etc.)

From my own personal experiences, I can tell you it's also very likely that had you been pulled over, one of your "friends" carrying the beer or whatever ( like pot or lsd or something kids can really get in trouble for) would probably have tossed it on the floor board or under the seat, thus implicating everybody in the car and getting all of you arrested, and thus paying you back in spades for "helping" them!

To put it another way, these kids were acting like morons and they got caught... :^D

Posted by: ttyler5 on June 17, 2005 6:17 PM

Man, I'm 22. Welcome to the last 4 years of my life. Even at 20, I had to deal with that. I'm surprised everyone is surprised. That's the law as very often enforced.

Posted by: matth on June 17, 2005 9:52 PM

Ok first of all, the "minors can't be around alcohol" rule has so many damned exceptions its ridiculous. The rule on the books is that "Minors shall not be admitted to restaurants, public social gatherings, or business premises on which hard liquor is available for purchase consumption". And its a regulation, not a statute. The TABC made the rule, not the lege. I bartended in college and was on the job when all those Dram-Shop rules went into effect and the TABC was created.

So Texas cops cannot, I repeat CANNOT search private property or administer MIPs without a warrant or permission from the owner/manager of the property. Public areas such as restaurants are and have always been open game. Private property was not. But were the kids doing something for which they should have been busted? Hell no. I was drunk a lot my senior year in high school and was never arrested. (granted, nobody cared back then)

Remember what Tip O'Neill said, that all politics is local. I think for some reason, the police WANTED to bust this party. I think they had some sort of "townie" grudge against these folks and thought that it would be just hilarious if their kid got in trouble. Has anyone checked to see whether mommy and daddy have 6-figure incomes and/or live in a 6,000-square-foot house with 4 garages, a pool, and 3 cars? Perhaps dad has harassed the cops before with legal matters or got off on the crime that Office Krumpke arrested him for? And I'm not one to make generalizations, but is daddy a doctor? They often have lawsuits coming out their asses because people beleive "they can afford to pay so they should".

Thats just my theory. Feel free to shoot it down.

Posted by: knapper on June 17, 2005 11:05 PM

I was looking on the Internet to try and find something in Sugar Land to do with my 2, 4 and 7 year old! I ran across this article. I am SHOCKED parents would defend their kids in this situation. Those parents are FOOLED and are raising BRATS that have their parents wrapped around their pinky- One of these parents will be in for a VERY rude awakening someday- then they won't be defending.
I am 36 and grew up in The Woodlands when the Woodlands was just getting started... We all knew that we would be "guilty by association". There was not 1 kid at these parties that was NOT drinking. I had my parents snowed! I was not spoiled and would have been in DEEP trouble if they knew I was there and/or drinking.
If you did not drink in High School you may have kids that are. I knew several kids that died leaving these parties and/or killing other people.
I think that kids should be able to experience (with a limit) drinking with some friends (whos parents agree) at home with parents and the kids spend the night. Letting them know this is to experience it. Possibly they won't be so anxious to go blow it out at a party. If anything at least, let your kids know that if they do drink they are putting themselves at risk of being in trouble with the law and IF they do take this chance to PLEASE call mom or dad to come and get them!

Posted by: Srooney on March 18, 2006 5:07 PM