Thursday, January 26, 2017

Committee votes on "Rivers McGraw" bill today.

The tragic story of Rivers McGraw has been reported by the media over the last several months.   His mother is pushing a bill that will prevent minors under the age of 21 from posting bail when they are arrested for a DUI until a parent is notified.  Representative Andy Gipson introduced HB #1089 on behalf of Ms. McGraw.  WJTV reported:

The bill mandates that suspects who are under the age of 21 years old and are arrested for a DUI can not post bail within 48 hours unless either parent is notified of the arrest.  Section 1 of the bill provides the major change in the law:

SECTION 1. (1) In any arrest of a person under the age of twenty-one (21), for an offense under the Uniform Controlled Substances Law or a violation of Section 63-11-30, no bail shall be granted and the person so arrested shall not be released, until one (1) of the following occurs:

(a) That one or more of the parents, or a person having legal custody, of the person arrested is present at the time of release. The court specifically finds that it is an unreasonable burden on law enforcement personnel to make determinations as to parental custody rights in contested situations, and authorizes release to either parent.

(b) That, because the parents are not reasonably available to appear personally because of travel, out-of-state residence, or similar circumstances, law enforcement personnel take reasonable steps to determine that the parent or parents are notified and concur in release of the defendant on scheduled bail.

(c) That an attorney who represents that he or she is acting with the knowledge and consent of the parent or parents requests release of the defendant on scheduled bail. Such representation and request may either be made in writing or verbally, with any such verbal request to be noted in law enforcement records.

(2) If none of the conditions described in subsection (1) are met, the court shall make itself available for emergency hearing, either in person or by telephone, at the request of counsel representing the defendant. If the defendant remains in custody and is unable to meet any of the conditions of release described herein, the court shall hold a hearing within forty-eight (48) hours of the arrest in compliance with URCCC 6.03. In event that the court is unable to hold such hearing within forty-eight (48) hours of the arrest due to circumstances beyond the control of the court, the defendant may be released on scheduled bail without additional conditions.

(3) The provisions of this section do not place any additional responsibility upon the police to make calls or allow the arrested person to make telephone calls beyond the existing requirements of the United States Constitution, the Mississippi Constitution or applicable statutes.

(4) Nothing in this section shall be construed to interfere with the judges' authority, if any, to deny bail or to otherwise lawfully detain a particular defendant.
More information about the bill. This video presenting the life of Rivers McGraw was posted on Youtube.


Anonymous said...

That really makes a lot of sense and should serve to facilitate parents being able to help their kids. My understanding is that the case with Rivers McGraw has been the most noteworthy incident, but is by no means an isolated event under these circumstances. I hope our legislature has the good sense to pass this bill.

Anonymous said...

This is a sad situation, but I can't agree that this is the way to address it. Either 18 is the age of majority, or it is not. This is just another example of extending adolescence. They should be focused on expanding treatment options for folks with substance problems, instead of harsher punishments, which would stop all of this.

Anonymous said...

Violates equal protection clause.

Anonymous said...

Have you contacted your Representatives 8:46?

Anonymous said...

The age of majority in Mississippi is 21 years. Those under age 21 are minors unless they marry, join the military or otherwise obtain a court order emancipating them as adults.

Anonymous said...

There has to be an age when a person is considered by the law to be an adult. We can't vary the age for different cases. You are either an adult or you are a child.
I can see a trend to delay maturity for many reasons and another trend to lower the age of maturity. We need to pick an age and stick with it.

Anonymous said...

Agree with 9:03, the age is 21. You cannot legally drink at 18, nor can you gamble. Child support law says a parent is responsible for payments until the child is age 21.

This shouldn't require a separate law.

Harsh Reality said...

Hard cases (or, in this case, situations) make bad law. 21 is ridiculous for this. Your grandfather was killing Japs and Nazis at 18 -- 16 or 17 in some cases. Now your kids are on your insurance until 26 and you're not only paying for their 5-6 years of college, but also their graduate education and then supplementing their salaries because their first jobs don't pay them enough to maintain the standard of living that they grew accustomed to in their [many] collegiate years.

I am truly, truly sorry that McGraw took his life. I am equally sorry that he made a number of bad decisions in the months and years leading up to that sad day, but an overly-broad law is not the answer. This is a poor attempt to soothe the consciences of folks who missed opportunities to take responsibility.

Anonymous said...

I've been told that anyone who receives two DUI's before the age of 21 has a very poor chance of reaching the age of 25 without successful treatment. Not trying to "extend" adolescence but the brain does not quit developing until around 25. You make better decisions after 25 unless you have a system that has been experiencing chemical impairment over an extended period of time. Around 24 to 30 months in an adolescent. Don't know recent stats, but Mississippi used to lead the nation in single car severe accidents or deaths for those 18 to 21. The answer is illusive but if those who are using can be convinced to stop and change, their chances of a successful life are great. Without successful intervention, their chances are very low. They will be jailed or die and cause tremendous damage to themselves and others prior to these events.

Anonymous said...

The blood alcohol limit as far as a DUI is concerned is .02% for persons under 21 and .08% for someone older (parents of teenagers should note). If the law allows that, then it should be OK to pass this bill. I think it's a good one and would support it.

Anonymous said...

I agree on the pick and age and stick with it. Many marry and go to work and buy houses and are good citizens from 18 on. Many need much more time to mature. Discipline and jobs from age 14 or 15 would help develop maturity and good living habits. Maybe mandatory service of some type prior to college would help.

Anonymous said...

Unless you are emancipated, in the military or married, in this state, there is a good chance that you are still the responsibility of your parents - at least until the age of 21. This bill is obviously narrowly tailored to address college kids that have substance abuse problems and hide those problems from their parents. The bill may have to be altered to properly fit into a framework to accomplish its goal without improperly altering the age of majority framework, but the general public policy behind this bill is needed and good. Is this a complex and layered situation or policy? You bet. However, we don't need kids out there killing themselves due to fear of the legal system in view of their pathology of substance dependence. There is a way to construe this legally. Law enforcement officers are professionals and should be treated as such - they can thus be given the decision making authority to make calls on who gets out and how relative to that persons status "as an adult"...i.e., are they military, etc.

Anonymous said...

I support this bill 100%. I am writing my lawmakers to tell them so today. Parents need to know and parents need to be supportive. I also agree that we need better treatment options and options that work.

A bit off topic ... the state must decide adulthood vs. age of majority. If 18 is adult, let them drink legally. If it is 21, it is 21. There is disparity and ambiguity in the law.

It is illogical to treat a person between the ages of 18-20 as an adult for all matters but drinking. I can't weigh in on which is best practice, as I do not know the stats on what might occur if the drinking age was lowered to 18.

But, from my experience, I personally believe a younger drinking age for beer or lower volume alcoholic beverages (not hard liquor) might discourage marijuana use. Why? Because they would have a legal option (beer) available to them. In doing so, it might just keep these young quasi-adults from building a relationship with a drug dealer which might lead to the use of harder drugs.

I realize this may be unpopular. I am a realist. Go to any college town and you will see reality. College students drink. Shocker. And they use drugs - prescription and illegal (bigger shock)!

Here is the thing - drinking and using pot are similar in terms of legal consequences for an underage drinker/user. Harsher drug charges for small amounts/personal use pot are not the answer.

Respecting an 18-20 year-old as a responsible adult might just help. If we want 18-20 year-olds to be responsible adults, we should treat them as such. With parental emotional support, encouragement, etc. that is appropriate for a young adult of course.

Or, make the age 21 and treat 18-20 year olds as we treat 16-17 year olds within the legal system. Clarity is needed either way.

Tough love daddy said...

Just heard Supertalk 'news' talking about this bill, following mama's appearance on JTS show promoting bill. Have a problem with the alternate facts - came after Rivers received his second DUI. Truth is he had received his third DUI . Mama was spending dollars 'fighting' the second on so therefore he wasn't 'convicted' yet but it still counts as being received.

Mama wants the law changed so she would have been notified -AFTER he had been arrested the third time. In this case she knew about first, and second. Still provided him a nice car and the freEdom to put not just his life but others at risk.

Did the car given to this kid - who already had been caught twice driving intoxicated - have interlocks required not by law but by mother? Hell no. He was free to endanger us all. But after being caught this third time she wanted law enforcement to tell her so she could take care of her troubled son.

I truly feel sorry for her and others that have had to deal with this - the others not related to having been caught by law enforcement for their endangering other folks lives. A child's suicide is one of the absolute worst things to deal with. But this nanny state law isn't the solution - don't give the child the tools to get his third DUI. Take away his car when you send him away to an atmosphere where he is free to drink. At least that way he won't drive home and mama won't be called to get him out of jail.

Anonymous said...

If the mother wants her son to be treated like a child she should have treated him like a child. There is no way she didn't know about his drinking and his DUIs. Does she really need a law to remind her that he is a child and should be treated like one?

It is very sad that he decided to take his life. This didn't happen over night. Parents should not need a law to make them take care of their children.

Anonymous said...

10:20 Mr Tough Love. Lauren on radio right now telling background. Told about first DUI. Said this tragic case was his second. What are you talking about claiming this was the kids third DUI?

Anonymous said...

Folks talk about government overreach, but support trash legislation like this.

10:20 Good post, man.

Anonymous said...

white rich kid runs afoul of the law..we change the law....poor black has problems..we blame the parents and say throw the thug away

Anonymous said...

It's painful to let your children suffer the consequences of their actions, but it only gets worse for them and for you if you shield them into early adulthood. Two of the best things my parents ever did for me was make me pay the speeding ticket I got shortly after getting my license (with money I had to go out and earn) and let me run out of groceries in college when I busted my budget. Children want to stand on their own two feet and be independent, productive members of society, but you have to teach them. And it's not usually fun for them or for you.

Anonymous said...

I am deeply saddened by this young man taking his own life.

He did so with a gun. One can buy a gun other than a handgun at 18, yet this law isn't addressing that, nor do I wish to. I would like for everyone to look at the situation and say, either one is old enough to buy a gun sans parental permission, join the military, or vote...or one isn't. 18 year olds can be drafted. And if it were a, let's not even get into that.

I grieve for the family, but frankly this legislation, while it may assuage a Mother's grief is awful. Tough on crime BS pushed this poor young man to suicide. Did he harm a hair on one single person's head in any of his DUI's? What was his BAC in each of the DUIs? Did he have to pay money to MADD in his fines so they could in turn lobby for stiffer penalties and lower BAC thresholds? Fine, please tell me "It was only a matter of time until he hurt someone," because if and until he did, he was an inconsiderate asshole and not a criminal. No victim, no crime. But it's not popular to say that. I mean nobody lobbies for drunk driving, nor am I. But let's be completely honest about DUI. It's about cashing that $1000 check for the jurisdiction, not safety.

While we're at it, the jurisdiction that gave him the final DUI got in more than a little trouble for forcing minor possession drug offenders into being Confidential Informants...had to disband their little task force. They put kids lives in danger only to confiscate money and property. We've got a world of Barney Fife's squeezing us for every dime when what we need is a handful of Andy Griffiths.

Over moralize. Over judge. Humor is that at some point it comes for you. That's what buried this poor kid. As long as three jurisdictions, MADD, the insurance companies, and the lawyers all collected their pieces of silver.

Anonymous said...

11:15 - according to the news stories that came out at the time of young Mr. McGraw's actions - including quotes from mother - this was the third time the kid had been arrested and the reason he took his life was that he couldn't imagine spending several years in prison (a requirement of DUI laws after third conviction). Mama said that he 'didn't realize' that he wasn't facing prison, at least not immediately, because the second DUI had not been adjudicated 'yet'.

But there lies the problem with this case, and the sympathy that is driving this poorly thought-out legislation.

IF mama had not tried to protect this young man by hiring a high priced lawyer to get him out of trouble with the second DUI, he would not have had a drivers licencse. And if it had been my kid, he certainly would not have had a vehicle, even if the court had allowed him to keep his license.

But no. Mother, concerned about her young son, tried to help him out. Hired a lawyer who was delaying the court date on second DUI. Sure, they claim that they might find a way around it, but that generally involves delaying long enough to where they can get a friendly judge to dismiss, or else pleading to some other lesser charge.

Whether he would have gone to prison or not for this third DUI - that appears to be the third within a year - the enabler in this case is the one that now wants law enforcement to have to act ---- next time. I truly feel sorry for Ms. McGraw as well and cannot imagine the grief that she has and will go through. But all this effort at trying to protect other people's kids is a cover (although I am sure she doesn't see it this way) for the mistakes that she knows she made in allowing her problematic addicted son to continue with his self-determined lifestyle.

I am just glad she does not have to live with the fact that had he been allowed to continue in this habit and eventually killed someone ELSE'S child while he drove under the influence of whatever substance he was abusing.

Anonymous said...

Many, oh so many, begin drinking and drugging between 11 and 13. They do graduate from high school, they do go on to college, they do get married. BUT, they do not mature like the non-substance abuser. Life is not easy for them and they try everything but stopping. Someday, society is going to realize how much this costs us all, but particularly the user and the user's family and sometimes your own family.

Anonymous said...

KF, instead of the "Rivers Law" bill, why don't they amend it to take care of all the concerns noted here and deal with this like the state deals with organ donors. There, anyone who wishes to donate their organs upon death can have a notation added to their drivers license.

Here, we can have it so that a parent can request, as long as they are providing the youngster's insurance or automobile, that their license be emblazoned with a heart shape with blood dripping out (bleeding). That would notify law enforcement that they wish to be called if the youngster gets stopped for driving under the influence, or maybe it can be expanded that the parent gets called for any number of driving infractions (reckless, speeding, or just being out after curfew.)

Anonymous said...

Oh, we should DEFINITELY allow teens to be gang-raped and otherwise brutalized in jail, because their parents want to "teach them a lesson". That almost happened to my old boss, when he was 19. His creep of a father let him sit in jail, after his first DUI. Luckily, a friend came to bail him out.

He's stuck by that friend, ever since (despite the friend's being a con-man, a loud-mouth, a jackass, and a general burden). On the other hand, he SPITS on the grave of hit "dad" (He may do worse than that. This is just what he tells people about.)

Not everybody has responsible, caring, loving parents. Some people have demented, narcissistic parents, who are incapable of empathy, and who subconsciously want their children to be hurt (which is exactly what can happen in Mississippi's jails).

Anonymous said...

OK @3:33 Let's keep the discourse on this side of hysteria... The bill is not intended to address dysfunctional family relationships. It just requires minors incarcerated for DUI be released to the custody of a parent(s). The real (missed) opportunity here is to address the wide-spread teenage alcoholism/addiction issue. Like many others, this poor mother was focusing her resources on legal help instead of emotional and/or medical help. This was not the first or second strike - it was a downward spiral. "Treatment" should not be a scarlet letter...

Anonymous said...

If this bill can prevent second offenders and/or save 1 life, then it's worth it, in my opinion. Some people can get 1 DUI and that's it, or smoke 1 joint and walk away. No more. No problem. It's not so simple for an addict. I think this bill is directed at those with a substance abuse problem--not the average Joe or Jane College. So many kids get to college and lack the necessary tools (maturity) to deal with life. They have been pushed so hard by a parent or a coach and then, for the 1st time, they feel like a failure. So many kids today are raised with a sense of entitlement. With addicts, It's much worse. Environment is 50% of it. If a kid never experiences failure; never suffers consequences; always gets what he or she wants; and has poor communication skills due to technology, then they are probably going to have trouble dealing with real life. A kid who is an addict, which makes up the other 50%, will usually turn to drugs/alcohol when they can't cope. I'm not a parent, but I don't see how bringing parents into the loop is a bad thing. Maybe it would allow them to face facts and finally get help for their kid, if help is needed. Some parents (and I mean the best and worst of parents) never know their kid has a substance abuse problem until it's too late. Parents who know what's going on with their kids, but choose to ignore it, probably aren't going to care or believe that their little angel is a drunk or drug addict. Athletic coaches turn a blind eye to drug use, as long as the team is winning. They have to know that many of their players are taking steroids. It's not that difficult to notice. Kids can't help having crappy or stupid adults in their life. Parents need to realize that all of the coddling, money and ignorance is not going to help their child deal with real life. Too many young people are dying due to substance abuse problems and it bothers me!

Anonymous said...

3:33 --- The bill doesn't stop the kid from being bailed out. I believe it only requires the parents to be notified, and if the parents say let 'friend' put up the bail money (be that his frat brother, an attorney, or whoever happens to be available) then he can go home. But, the parent can say to hold him until they personally get there. Either way, the kid gets to spend at least one night in the hooky, at least in every jurisdiction in MS that I know of. Interesting question - on what basis do you think your boss would have been gang-raped if his friend had not bailed him out? Or is that just your hysteria speaking trying to invoke emotions? I realize that the sentiment for this bill is emotion but don't you think that is going overboard? While Dad let him sit in jail it wasn't on the farm in Parchman, or at Central Miss in Rankin County - it would have been in a city or county jail overnight or at worse for a day or two. While I guess GANG-RAPE may occur in those facilities, haven't been seeing any reports on that any time in my recent history.

And to note, the mother here did focus resources on treatment the first time. She appears to have focused resources on legal help on the second one - although I am sure the first one cost a few thou on its on.

Anonymous said...

Federal law prohibits putting kids under 18 in same jail as adults. Some exceptions but this is not one of them. Most counties do not have juvenile detention centers.

Anonymous said...

I knew Rivers and I know his family. He was a troubled young man, and his family wasn't shy about seeking treatment. They may have spoiled their kids, but who with the means to do it doesn't spoil their kids a little? Their kids also have been through a lot that would make it hard not to brighten up their lives now and then if you had a chance to do so. Walk a mile...

We shouldn't need this law. Local jurisdictions should already have the policy to call a minor's parents whenever he is arrested for anything. I know that's the policy where I live, because I've gotten that call. Law enforcement can voluntarily do this without a law, and I hope Rivers' death will cause some of them to make it their policy.

Book Him Danno.. said...

If the kid is white, drives a BMW with an Ole Miss tag and wears a fraternity logo on his golf shirt, his parents will probably be called.

If the kid is black, has nappy hair and wears a hoodie, he will be printed, wardrobed in orange and his ass will be put on a concrete cot for the night and most of the next day.

But this is a fact in only 82 Mississippi Counties.

Anonymous said...

Rivers' family did seek treatment for him, so those of you that assume this is some case of entitlement ought to realize that you are, in fact, drawing assumptions. I come from a family of adicts, young and old, and like anyone else in such a situation can tell you that it is exceedingly complicated and not solely dependent upon parenting, love, or any other single factor. My children are young. I drive to parent them in a way that they will be equipped with healthy coping skills, but I also live with the reality that they will make their own choices. I would want to be called. If it isn't appropriate for this to be law, I agree with the commenter who hopes it will at least become departmental policy. I also agree that a jail with adults is not an appropriate place for someone who is still very much a child from a scientific, developmental standpoint, conscription into military service notwithstanding.

Anonymous said...

Book him Danno...Rivers was white, affluent and at Ole Miss...his parents were not called...his buddies bailed him out...when he was left alone by said buddies to go to class, he killed himself. That was a great projection though and I am sure it felt good placing it on a blog for all to see. That does not mean your post was based in any sort of reality. If it were the case, this very topic on kingfish would not exist.

Anonymous said...

To often we want the police to parent our children. It is not their job!

Anonymous said...

No "assuming" here...I'm glad to see that people see the big smoke screen!!! Rivers had actually had 3 DUI's with 1 being expunged. With that kind of problem long term tx for at less a year....& aftercare for 2 yrs. ...WHY.... it takes a year to get your system cleaned out so you can think why did he have a truck still... why didn't somebody put one of those lock systems on the steering wheel & why wasn't he at home instead off at new university???! Everyone needs to get educated about addiction including your family doctors NOT write another check for another high dollar tx. If Rivers felt "hopeless" it sure wasn't because a 3 x offender may have alittle jail time...PLEASE! The facts are there! I am truly sorry when a life is wasted like this but don't smoke screen the facts so another one dies! Educate yourself, be your ON advocate,take responsibility for your role & stop blaming everyone for EVERYTHING...prayer works!!!!

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