As soon as I get a chance, I'm going to write to Gov. Kaine and ask him to commute this sentence. Geez, I remember plenty of beer being available at various Sweet Sixteens I attended (when the drinking age was 18), and exactly no harm came of it.
UPDATE: I didn't mean to suggest that no harm can come out of serving minors alcohol, but rather that it's not such an obviously harmful activity as to justify such a draconian sentence. I doubt, for example, many first time DUIs get anything approaching 27 months.Further Update:
The couple were charged with 16 misdemeanor counts, however, it was later discovered that seven of the kids at the party had no alcohol in their system. Of the remaining nine who did have alcohol in their system, none were found to be over the legal limit for intoxication.This is a bit misleading, because the "legal limit" for minors is zero. Nevertheless, this does show that the parents weren't exactly running a wild, out-of-control drinking party. If the prosecutor, as he claims, really thinks this is the "worst case of underage drinking that he's dealt with in 15 years of prosecuting," then he either lives in a really tame county, or, more likely, underage drinking is rarely prosecuted there. But at least he recommended a much more reasonable 90 day sentence. And I don't see what Ryan's classmate's death has to do with the parents' culpability. I've never been a fan of "making an example" out of some hapless defendant who happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.
The couple pleaded guilty to nine counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, and the prosecutor had recommended they get a 90-day sentence. However, the judge was furious about the recent death of one of Ryan's classmates at the local high school from an alcohol-related crash. He decided to make an example of them and sentenced them both to eight years.