7:28 pm February 23, 2010, by Maureen Downey
I was reading the AJC story today on the teens arrested for underage drinking in the home of a Marietta and Woodstock magistrate when I nearly fell over at this line: Magistrate Diane Busch, also an attorney, negotiated a sentence for William Maxwell, 19, that involved counting 150 hours of practicing baseball with his team at Rice University in Houston as his community service for drinking underage.
As a reporter, I have been surprised in the wide variations in treatment of teens under the law, but this pushes the limit. Unless he is using his bat to clear underbrush at a city park, I don’t see how baseball practice with his college team counts as community service.
I do get frustrated because I think the law extends a much kinder hand to middle-class teens with friends in high places and a good attorney than the poor kid being raised by his grandmother. I have seen it many times in my years covering cops and courts.
I just hate when the disparity is as blatant as this. I think community service ought to serve the community, not the wrongdoer.
If I ever get arrested and have to perform community service, I am going to suggest walking my dog for three months.
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