I didn't see the trial, so I don't have an opinion whether the verdict was justified on the facts. But more pertinent to me is what strikes me of the infantilization of people who should be considered adults. According to this news report, the "kid" holding the party was 18 years old. Two "teens" who died in a crash by the parents' driveway were also 18, and they apparently left the party, smoked pot, and then got into an accident when they returned, which surely makes it seem like these kids had access to intoxicating substances regardless of what their friends' parents did:
"This is a case about the disturbing lack of parental responsibility," Fisz said. "These defendants want you to believe they had no idea what was going on in the basement, despite the fact that they were one staircase away the entire night."
Fisz and lead prosecutor Christen Bishop spent much of their closing arguments on blasting the Hutsells for allowing drinking in their home.
"These are not kids who are flying under the radar screen," Bishop said. "These are parents who turned the radar off. They were the weak link in the parenting chain that night."
The Hutsells' defense attorneys, Robert Gevirtz and Elliot Pinsel countered these claims by telling the jury that their clients did not know the teens were drinking and that they never saw alcohol.
Gevirtz told the jury that his client, Jeffery Hutsell was an upstanding person and would not idly sit by and allow kids to drink.
"The only question is did he know (they were drinking)? It's not what he should have done. It's not what he could have done," Gevirtz said. "The kids made their own decisions. They made the decision to drink, they made the decision to go to the car and smoke dope."
You would never know from the quotes from either the prosecutor or the defense attorney that the "kids" involved were eighteen. I recognize that for many purpose, the age of majority is twenty-one, and of course responsible parents shouldn't allow underage drinking in their home, not least because it's illegal and can get them in trouble. But spare me the notion that eighteen year-olds should be considered "kids," passing off responsibility for their actions to "parents."