Calling a foul on baseball practice as community service

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.

23 comments Add your comment


February 23rd, 2010
7:34 pm

Maureen, while I agree with your opinion on this (it’s completely outrageous), what does it have to do with education?

Maureen Downey

February 23rd, 2010
7:39 pm

Jennifer. I think it slips in under the wire because it’s a college baseball team. I define education pretty broadly. The education element here is that the courts aren’t fair.
Plus I really want to share this outrage with the group. I can only get so much outrage out of my mild-mannered husband.

@ Jennifer

February 23rd, 2010
7:57 pm

The same thing happens in the schools. Those with well-to-do parents and lawyers are treated differently than poor minority students.

@ Jennifer

February 23rd, 2010
7:59 pm

The same thing happens in our public schools. Students with well-educated parents and lawyers are treated differently than poor / minority students!

Percival Wentworth IV

February 23rd, 2010
8:19 pm

As well as it should! Little Shanequa and Qwantavious are bringing society down with their anti-social behavior.

Cobb Parent

February 23rd, 2010
8:32 pm

Maureen, check out the MDJ website ( This lady has been in the local news for the past week and there seems to be a lot more than meets the eye based on the what I’ve been reading.

In this case, I agree, baseball practice is not community service nor is it punishment! I just wonder what message we are sending to children when we literally tell them to play ball for breaking the law.

Wounded Warrior

February 23rd, 2010
9:03 pm

Enter this principle for education…baseball. Mr. Lewis gets $15K raise for striking out for the last 4 years…so he gets a signing bonus, his contract extended. He exclaims that ‘who else would go to bat for you?’. How ’bout Pat Pope. She was the heavy hitter, and now is just reassigned to a manager position. All of this with the support of the best super ever, Mr. Lewis.


February 23rd, 2010
10:56 pm

Oh good grief. The young man got busted at a PRIVATE RESIDENCE with alcohol. He was not in a bar drunk out of his mind. He was not drunk behind the wheel of a vehicle.

The young man also attends college OUT OF STATE. 150 hours is almost four times the normal community service hours for this type of offense. Believe me, the last think he wants to do is to go tell his coach he got arrested.

What makes my blood boil is when those poor, misunderstood minorities go out and rob and assault people and then are back out on the street faster than the policman can fill out the paperwork.

Northview (Ex)Teacher

February 23rd, 2010
11:39 pm

Anyone remember the Northview students who engaged in a little extracurricular activity? How do you think they would have been treated had they been minority kids from the inner-city who came to Johns Creek to rob cars? I recall the mom of one (who shall remain nameless) was distraught over the fact that having a criminal record could interfere with her child’s chances of getting into a selective college.


February 24th, 2010
5:02 am

Maureen, do you want more than mild mannered outrage? Cobb has a serious deficit in meritocracy.

Oh, why hasn’t anyone connected the dots yet? Members of the District Attorney’s office attended the party too! That’s right, Pat Head. The same public official that claimed a 15 year sentence for a first time offender was not too harsh or severe. The same guy who claimed that striking a public official should have a much harsher sentence. A first time offender with zilch priors – taken away from his family for 5 years and 10 years probation.

But … that’s not all. The Judge presiding over the case is the son of a Cobb County Football Coach. Why .. in .. the … world!!!?? was he presiding over a case where a Cobb County Football coach was the plaintiff?

Now, these same elbow rubbing cronies are slapping each other on the wrist when they do wrong?

I seriously think Nahmias needs to bust all of them. This little teen drinking party is the TIP of a very large iceberg. These public officials need to be judged by their very own standards that they judge us “peasants”.

150 hours of playing baseball ….. last year …. was this kid’s community service and the case was dismissed.

Charge the adults with contributing to the delinquency of a minor and child endangerment. . . . period!

Public Officials need to serve time when they break the law ….. just like everyone else.


February 24th, 2010
5:15 am

Just one more thing ….. Cobb is on the course that the Alapaha Judicial Circuit was on. Why is more money being considered for football turf than actual educational needs – and now there is a push for cutting school days due to the economy?

Why not put the brand new turf on hold, and invest the money in things like, oh .. I don’t know …. quality education?

V for Vendetta

February 24th, 2010
9:16 am

Or we could make the drinking age 18 like it is in the rest of the civilized world. Perhaps we could legalize marajuana, too–or at least decriminalize it. We’re not just “backwards” in our approach to education (e.g., Sunday alcohol sales).

Please Cover this AJC

February 24th, 2010
9:20 am

Looks like the teen didn’t even get ball practice – the judge wouldn’t agree so the assistant prosecutor in charge decided, who looks to be a friend of the embattled judge, decided to not charge the teen with anything at all…

[...] is the original post: Calling a foul on baseball practice as community service | Get … Share and [...]


February 24th, 2010
5:54 pm

I agree with Lee. Too much ado over drinking at an age, as V points out, that is above the age required for the rest of the world. We have read reports of assaults on teachers in schools with no consequences applied to those students. Where’s the justice in that?


February 24th, 2010
6:57 pm

Oh, but why were they popping balloons? Those balloons were inside a car as a prank – what were they doing? trying to drive away then found those balloons?

The big deal is NOT the drunk teenagers. That is a side issue. The big deal is the elected public officials a) intimidating police officers, b) the initial cover up and c) no penalty for the kid that a US Senator did not want cited in the first place.

Who could care less what they did at band camp …. its the adults who allowed the kids to get wasted that is disconcerting. Isn’t that contributing to the delinquency of a minor and child endangerment?


February 25th, 2010
3:53 pm

Baseball practice is NOT community service. Going to the YMCA/Boys & Girls club and teaching the kids to play baseball is.

This drives me absolutely crazy. Who in their right mind would think that this is a just punishment? The law is the law is the law and if you break it, you take personal responsibility for your actions and accept the APPROPRIATE consequences.

[...] an assistant solicitor who allowed baseball practice to qualify as community service. (See earlier blog on this issue and the larger question of the treatment of middle-class kids and athletes by the [...]

[...] an assistant solicitor who allowed baseball practice to qualify as community service. (See earlier blog on this issue and the larger question of the treatment of middle-class kids and athletes by the [...]


March 6th, 2010
1:09 am

why does minority have to mean less educated @Jennifer? My physician is a minority and i sure pray to god that doesnt automatically mean he is uneducated!!


March 6th, 2010
1:14 am

And Patriot, he is not a US Senator so before you join the rest of the gossipers you should probably google some stuff

give me a break

March 12th, 2010
8:49 pm

give me a break here……he was at a private residence, he is in college, making the grades at a very hard university, has never had any previous offenses, was not driving. Like many of you said, 19 is above the legal limit for most other parts of the world. Oh sorry, a 19 yr. old can vote, go to war, but he cant drink some beer at a private residence. he should not have been in trouble at all. Now however because of how ridiculous this has become, he could get kicked out of school! this is not the injustice that we need to be concerned with!

give me a break

March 12th, 2010
8:51 pm

oh yeah and patriot………..19 years old is not child endangerment!