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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Drinking age

This doesn't seem right:

Charges will not be filed against a University of Notre Dame hockey player suspected of supplying alcohol to underage students at a weekend party, according to a release sent out from the St. Joseph County prosecutor's office.

Joe Lavin, a junior defenseman on the Irish hockey team, and another person were arrested Saturday at Lavin's home on suspicion of providing alcohol to minors. Forty-two other people — primarily Notre Dame athletes — also were arrested on suspicion of underage drinking.

According to the release, the prosecutor's office has determined no charges will be filed against Lavin and the other person because Indiana statute requires that the minors furnished with alcohol be under the age of 18. All of those arrested Saturday were 18 or older, according to the release.

I mean in a legal sense, not a moral one. Indiana defines "minor" as anyone under the age of 21, and I found lots of places in the code where furnishing alcohol to anyone so defined seemed clearly illegal. There is an exception for "contributing to the delinquency of a minor" where it is specified that the guilty party must be at least 18 and the victim younger than 18. But the prosecutor's claim seems at least debatable. Any help from a lawyer out there would be appreciated, Doug.

But it seems wrong in the moral sense, too. How can it be illegal for those 18 to 20 to drink but not illegal to provide them with the alcohol? (Whether it should be illegal for them to drink is another question.) I thnk you could also defend a judgment call to let something go if all the kids know each other (as college athletes tend to) and are about the same age with one of them just happening to have hit the magic number 21. But that's not what the prosecutor did.


Bob G.
Tue, 07/20/2010 - 9:14am

Interesting thing about that BLINDFOLD on the statue of "justice"...she can't see all those "double-standards" such as this one.

I'm just sayin'...