Judicial Action on Underage Drinking:

Judicial E-News header October 2009 Judicial Action on Underage Drinking:

Judicial & Probation Outreach Project:

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On behalf of the Judicial and Probation Outreach Project team, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) would like to thank you for your interest in underage drinking-related issues and best and promising practices to create safer and healthier environments for our nation’s youth; and encourage you to engage in discussions about the topic to identify promising court practices and community engagement that will not only impact the individual youth, but will have long lasting effects in changing community norms and responses to this complex public health and safety issue.

Jeff Slowikowski

Office of the Administration

Acting Administrator

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention


Inside this Issue

Case Spotlight on Underage Drinking

Upcoming Electronic Seminars

Connecting to the News

Useful Data



Please visit our enhanced website at www.udetc.org for the latest information on underage drinking and judicial resources.



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San Diego County Community Assessment Team (CAT) Case Study

How do courts and diversion/probation programs work with youth and young adults charged with underage drinking offenses? Are the interventions assigned by the court and/or diversion or probation worker appropriate for tackling this often multi-faceted problem?

Courts, diversion, and probation programs across the nation employ different strategies in working with youth and young adults charged with underage drinking and related offenses. However, no matter the diversity in strategies used, almost all practitioners agree that effective interventions begin with good assessment practices. Reliable and validated assessment practices support effective case management of the underage drinker, regardless of the charged offense. Accurate assessments of the offender’s alcohol use, risk level, and need for services provide objective information that can be used to target interventions and allow for better resource allocation in difficult economic times. In addition, by targeting identified needs with the right resources, courts and diversion/probation programs have the potential to redirect a youth from a negative path onto a positive life path. The Community Assessment Team (CAT) in San Diego, California offers an example of how screening and assessment practices have been implemented within a diversion program to better target interventions to young offenders and their families.

To read more about San Diego’s efforts to address underage drinking in the courts and probation, click on https://www.udetc.org/documents/judicial/0909eNews/SDCaseStudy.pdf or copy and paste the link to your internet browser.

Case Spotlight on Underage Drinking:

Judge Neal LemeryCity Defends Its Underage Drinking Law

(Published August 25, 2009, FL)

Alachua County Circuit Judge Robert Roundtree heard arguments Tuesday in a case challenging Gainesville’s newly enacted ordinance aimed at curbing underage drinking by punishing bars with excessive violations.

Rob Zeller, owner of Grog House, a bar across from the University of Florida campus, challenged the law enacted in April on the grounds that it was unconstitutional and discriminatory.

After an hour and a half of arguments, Roundtree closed the hearing and said he’d have a ruling by Friday on whether the city’s ordinance is constitutional.

To read the entire article and discussion, click on, https://www.udetc.org/documents/judicial/0909eNews/CityDefends.pdf; or copy and paste the link to your internet browser to access the article.

Judge Upholds Drinking Law

(Published September 2, 2009, FL)

An Alachua County judge has upheld the majority of a Gainesville ordinance that punishes bars that have “excessive” underage drinking, but struck down a clause in the ordinance prohibiting bar owners from using a fake-ID defense.

The ordinance, which took effect on April 1, prohibits patrons under the age of 21 from entering bars after 9 p.m. that have exceeded a set threshold for the number of underage drinking arrests in a three-month period.

To read the entire article and discussion, click on, https://www.udetc.org/documents/judicial/0909eNews/JudgeUpholds.pdf; or copy and paste the link to your internet browser to access the article.

Upcoming Electronic Seminars:

Past Electronic Seminars are Available Online

If you were unable to participate in past Electronic Seminars, we invite you to visit our project website and download any of the audio presentations and companion materials that may be of interest.  We recognize how busy schedules make it impossible to attend every session, so our website makes it easy for you to listen online or download past programs for future listening.  You may also download the companion materials provided by our outstanding presenters during their live presentations to get the most out of your educational experience.   To listen online please double click the tape icon to play the presentation or right click on the icon to “save” the presentation to your computer for later playback.  Past teleconferences include:

  • Judges to Judges: What is the Impact of Underage Drinking on the Courts’ Caseloads? (September 30, 2009)
  • Communities Working with the Judiciary to Address Underage Drinking (July 22, 2009)
  • The Probation and Judicial Response: Moving Down the Continuum for the Enforcement of Underage Drinking Laws (May 27, 2009)
  • Looking Through the Glass Darkly on Underage Drinking (March 26, 2009)

Be on the lookout for future electronic seminar announcements, and feel free to let us know if there are specific topics you’d like featured during future calls.  You may email topic recommendations to Aidan Moore at [email protected].    Thank you for your interest in our electronic seminar series.

Connecting to the News:

D.A. Murphy warns hotels over underage drinking (Published June 27, 2009, NY)

Alcohol Fuels Youth Crime: Report (July 17, 2009, Ireland)

Cobb county mother sentenced to jail in teen alcohol trial (August 6, 2009, GA)

Useful Data:

Judge Lucinda MastertonThe Amazing Teen Brain: What Every Child Advocate Needs to Know (Child Law Practice: Helping Lawyers Help Kids, Vol. 28, No. 2, April 2009)

…Research on the impact of alcohol on the teen brain has led to some startling discoveries:

  1. Teens are more likely to blackout (conscious but can’t remember) than pass out and are less likely to succumb to the sedative effects of alcohol. As a result, they are less sensitive to the warning signs of inebriation and can continue consuming alcohol and engaging in other risky behaviors, such as driving while intoxicated, without recognizing their level of impairment.
  2. The hippocampus is approximately 10 percent smaller in heavy teen drinkers. Young drinkers have more long-term memory impairment.

To view the entire article, click on https://www.udetc.org/documents/judicial/0909eNews/TeenBrain.pdf or copy and paste this link to your internet browser in order to locate the information.

We Want to Hear from You:
We recognize that judges play a vital role in educating underage youth and adults who appear before them, and heavily influence community norms around the complex issues of underage drinking. Our project seeks out judges, courts, and judicial initiatives that can be held up as models for the rest of the country, and research that would be useful to the Courts when addressing these cases. We are looking for examples to highlight in our “Judicial Action on Underage Drinking” section to document how a judge, court, or judicial initiative has developed and implemented successful strategies on the complex issues around underage alcohol problems. We are also looking for media features about court responses to underage drinking that can be placed in future Judicial E-News communications and posted to our website as a resource for others in the field who may find the information of interest. If you would like to share your successes with us, please contact Aidan Moore at [email protected], or Holly Torske at [email protected]. We look forward to working with you and expanding our outreach to the judicial and probation communities about best and promising court practices on underage drinking-related issues.
The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent the views of the Office of Juvenile Justice for Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) or the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE) and are solely those of the author/source.
Judicial Action on Underage Drinking:
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