Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Will Senate block Rivers McGraw bill?

The mother of a Madison County teen who committed suicide last year says law enforcement is trying to kill the "Rivers McGraw bill".  Young Rivers McGraw was arrested for a dui and was bailed out by a friend in Oxford.   He took his own life shortly after his release.  His mother has been promoting a bill that would keep minors in jail longer until a parent is notified if they are arrested for a DUI.  Lauren McGraw stated:

HB 1089 is being opposed by some in law enforcement who claim that this legislation will impose an additional burden on officers. We feel that this is untrue and have taken all steps to insure the very opposite. The bill states that before a person arrested for drugs or alcohol that is under the age of 21 is released from jail that one of the following conditions be met:

1. A parent pick them up
2. If a parent is unavailable, they are notified by phone
3. The child is released to an attorney representing the parents if they so choose
4. If none of these are possible, the child be released after 8 hours just as anyone else would be. (Today individuals under the influence are already held for 6-8 hours to allow time for the individual to sober before release.) The assumption that this will burden law enforcement officers is completely untrue. In most cases the notification can be made while the officer waits for the tow truck or during transport to the jail. If this is not possible the officer could make notification during the 20 min observation period that is required before an officer can administer an intoxilyzer test.

If the officer is unable to get the needed contact information from the individual he/she documents this in their report and goes back on patrol. To take it a step further, jails will not be burdened since most, if not all, require a person remain in jail long enough to sober up (6-8 hours) before being release per the bond schedule. And if this is not enough, a judge can be contacted in person or by phone and authorize the release of the individual. Officers should not look at this as a burden but as an opportunity to PROTECT young people who may need additional help and SERVE the public by allowing parents the opportunity to intervene when their child has a problem before it's too late.

Lauren K. McGraw

Kingfish note: The Kingfish is not at all surprised some law enforcement is opposing this bill.  JJ defends cops on a regular basis but JJ is not blind either.  Things tend to change in law enforcement when one tends to get to the administrative level as all too often, chiefs and Sheriffs turn into turf-protecting government bureaucrats. Status of bill.

It is the Chiefs and Sheriffs who opposed making arrest reports public.  It is the Chiefs and Sheriffs who fought making 911 calls public.  It is the Chiefs and Sheriffs who screech whenever someone mentions asset forfeiture reform.   It is not a shock that many of them oppose this bill as it would involve something called work.

The House Committee changed the time requirement in this bill from:

(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.

to eight hours.  However, the Senate Judiciary Committee A slapped a reverse repealer onto the bill:

 SECTION 4.  This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2017, and shall stand repealed on June 30, 2017.

They were all for this bill before they were against it.  


Anonymous said...

Could be wrong but pretty sure Jud A put reverse repealers on everything.

Anonymous said...

At some point in this state / country, we are going to have to realize that our treatment of the mental illness of drug / alcohol abuse, while a crime in that laws are broken because of the acts it causes, must be treated differently than others. I have seen friends recover from this disease and I have seen friends die from this disease. I am all for personal responsibility, but treating the substance abuser as a common criminal does nothing to help their fragile emotional state soon after an event such as a DUI leads them to being in jail.

Anonymous said...

Edited to add to the above comment: I am an alcoholic and have been in the same situation Rivers was in. By the grace of God I did not harm anyone else. The weight of a DUI is a hard thing to soak in the aftermath of such an event as you know how reckless you were with other human lives. If this law would have been in place then, he and others would most likely still be alive today and be "saveable" through the various communities that are not government funded and will take these people in (if they are willing) and try to get them help. A little extra paperwork for a sheriff's deputy to save a life doesn't seem like a hard decision to me.

Anonymous said...

Is under 21 a minor?

Anonymous said...

Due to privacy laws, a parent cannot view the medical records, grades and employment history of a child who is over the age of 18 without their written consent. I cannot even call the doctor to find out the date of my 19 year old child's next appointment without a signed release. Under this same reasoning, this bill would be considered unconstitutional. You may not like it, but that is the law.

Anonymous said...

So what exactly has this legislative session accomplished? I am not aware of anything of merit that has actually passed and that will be signed by the governor. This, among other things, is common sense legislation that needs to be put into law and left alone to develop.

I cannot in my lifetime remember a more ineffectual legislative session than this one.

As to this bill, some in our Senate are very well acquainted with DUI and the stigma (here's looking at you Senator Burton). Except, Senator Burton and others are able to get off fancy free because of their elected position.

Burton's most recent DUI dismissal resulted from "mouthwash"...that he apparently drank while partying it up and drinking heavily in the presence of other law makers and bureaucrats. He drank so much mouthwash that he wrecked his vehicle on the way home.

Given his "experience" with this issue, I sure hope he is not one of the ones holding this legislation up.

Anonymous said...

in Mississippi, the age of majority is 21. in some states it is 18.

realize this is throwing cold water on a well intentioned idea, but I see some legal problems with this bill.

also, how are cops supposed to know who the parents are or how to contact them.

how to fix it: amend the DUI law to provide that all persons issued a DUI, not matter their age, must be held at least six hours and pass the intoxilizer with a legal BAC concentration before release.

Anonymous said...

If 21 is good, 26 is better. That's how long "kids" are eligible to stay on mommy and daddy's insurance, after all. Then again, lots of "kids" are waiting until 30 or later to move out of their parents' houses, so maybe 30 is a better age. If all these "kids" need to be protected from themselves so badly, how can we be so cruel as to throw them into the bad, bad world just because they were 20 years and 364 days yesterday and are 21 today? If you support this with the limit at 21 years old, you're just heartless and hate kids.

Anonymous said...

You are exactly right, KF, that a lot of the administrative heads of law enforcement try to block good common-sense reforms and hide behind the banner of "this bill would hurt law enforcement." No one is doubting they do an important job, but it's a shame they can use this retort to stand up against good public policy.

ATTN: Capt Hyperbole said...

I cannot in my lifetime remember a more ineffectual legislative session than this one.

Bigger, more intrusive government is always "common sense legislation", right?

Anonymous said...

@ 1:45 is correct. This is well-intentioned and sounds good, but it isn't necessarily practical - nor is it government's job. Government is supposed to contact 20 year old John's parents to let them know that he got a DUI in Oxford in order to protect John from himself, but his high school classmate Steve will lead an assault on a fortified compound in Afghanistan that same morning without his parent's prior approval?

Anonymous said...

With all due respect.


This kid killed himself and no phone call from a police officer was going to change that.

He should have been jailed long ago and would be alive had he been punished properly.

This is a feel good bill in a made for TV drama orchestrated by some guilty parents who realize in hindsight what an awful job they did chasing money rather than raising a kid.

Get it out of here.

Anonymous said...

At the very least, Mississippi needs DeTox clinics. Many people can get help if they just can detox from alcohol or drug abuse first.

Anonymous said...

DUI enforcement is about raising revenue, not public safety. The system abounds with perverse incentives. MS DUI offenders are required to take a class that pays the lobby that continues to lower the threshold. I can murder and am not compelled to pay to attend a murder victim impact panel so that Mothers against Murder can lobby my rulers to lower the threshold for what is considered murder or the penalties received for being convicted. Why are there roadblocks? The DUI threshold is too low to detect by the drivers' actions. We stop people at night, in an area that usually has free flowing traffic, with flashing blue lights and LEOs on foot in the roadway. After the motorist comes safely to a stop, any motorist smelling of alcohol is tested and arrested. Where is the victim? Up and until a motorist injures another or destroys property, no crime has been committed. I know it's an unpopular thing to say. If we were serious about safety, we wouldn't hamstring every attempt by the Ubers and Lyfts of the world to provide safe, inexpensive transportation.

This young man's death, while tragic, was not caused by his alcohol abuse. It was caused by a system that treats us all like revenue streams. For a young man that harmed no one, he certainly endured quite a bit of legal and financial punishment; that and the resulting damage to his reputation.

Anonymous said...

Everybody in the metro area is championing this bill because of who it is, not because of what it does.

In trying to promote this parenting bill, Mama has been saying that this was the kids 2nd DUI, although when it happened they admitted that it was #3. The difference wax that #2 and #3 were close enough together that mama was still trying to use the legal system to get her kid out of another DUI. Maybe if mama had taken away the car keys, or hadn't sent him to the drug hellhole of MS, he would not have gotten his 3rd DUI (within what length of time?) and then he wouldn't have been worried about going to prison.

Yes it is an addition. Yes it may be a disease. But mama shouldn't be calling on law enforcement to now act in lieu of parents because she thought problem was solved after an expensive treatment - that obviously didn't work. She should have known that at #2 but no..........She let him go to OM with a vehicle and I guess prayed that he wouldn't kill anybody when he did it again. Well, he didn't kill anybody, but he got caught within a year of #2. Don't know how many other times he didn't get caught.

Mama - take the damn car away. Don't send an addict off to OM where drugs run rampant. (They run rampant on many campuses these days, but this is one case where OM wins the championship.)

Hope they kill the bill. All it will do is allow mama's to bail their kid out, but as proven by this case, that doesn't solve the problem. The kid goes right back to the same crime.

Anonymous said...

Mississippi needs DeTox clinics

Any number of rehab joints already available. Next.

someoneinnorthms said...

Thank God (praise Allah, etc. etc.) somebody wants to protect me from my own bad choices. And step in to correct the failures of my parenting. How in the hell did we ever manage to evolve into a functioning society before government existed? No wonder all those cave men died before they were 30; no government to protect them from the adterated medicines and impure butter

Anonymous said...

That is a more delusional statement than when you stated that Mississippi Judges should be prepared for and accept threats and abuse.

Anonymous said...

To everyone that is opposed to this bill because you believe it coddles young people and to those that have all but said that this young man got what he deserved because of his poor choices, I have a question:

Would you feel the same way if this had been your son that had committed suicide?

Anonymous said...

Let's look at some facts. The parents let him drink. They drank all the time. They send him off to rehab and what did they do when he got out? Throw a party with alcohol and took pictures of all of them drinking. Then 4 people, some minors and relatives leave said post rehab party and get a DUI. This is the family this kid grew up in. These parents should be in jail.

Anonymous said...

KF - Breaking C-L story on Drudge home page right now!

Anonymous said...

Bill Chandler is an idiot. He's radioactive now. He used Vargas and now nobody here illegally is going to get caught even talking to him.

Anonymous said...

"...Would you feel the same way if this had been your son that had committed suicide?"
March 1, 2017 at 5:04 PM

I'd be feeling RELIEF, knowing I wouldn't have to be footing any more rehab bills. When you're stuck with a kid like that, you're facing a lifetime of bailing him out.

Anonymous said...

"She would ask her son, Rivers McGraw, the same question every morning, as far back as his elementary school days: “Are you going to be a leader or a loser today?” " (

I think I see the origin of his problems.

Anonymous said...

I agree their is a parenting aspect in this but you can't parent a mental illness. I also agree it's not the government's job to correct an individual's mental problems. Bottom line, you are leaving sick people with sick minds up to their own devices to make a decision about whether or not they have a problem when you toss them back on the street 8 hours after they just committed a crime that will likely cause them to spend $10,000 or more getting resolved. A county sheriff / judge good ol boy trying to raise revenue can't see past that. Possibly a court order to seek treatment with some type of probationary period for first offenders to at least allow them the chance to help themselves. We have enough people in the jails in this country as it is. Locking up people with mental illnesses doesn't seem like a good use of jail space.

Anonymous said...

I think many of you are missing the point here.

To whom is law enforcement releasing a minor that is drunk? How does that minor get home? Where do they take him? Did the parents own the vehicle? Did they hand back the keys thinking he's " sober enough"? Did they let a " friend" come get him and give that " friend" a test for alcohol consumption...or were the breath mints and fabric freshener and not being knee walking drunk good enough to pass muster?

Are they leaving it up to the teen to tell his parents or are they going to blindside them when a summons comes in the mail?

I am very grateful that a law enforcement officer called me when my minor was not drinking but was in the car that a drunk teen was driving. I'm glad I was the one who went to the police station to get her so I could parent. And, yes she knew better from us but needed a reality check and she got one. And, I needed to know her judgment was not as well developed as I had thought.

Thank God, as she's lived to be an exceptionally successful adult in every way when she might have not realized someone was drunk again and died for it!

The law demands that parents are legally responsible for their minors in countless ways but then the law doesn't give them the opportunity to know a life threatening problem has occurred? They rob them of the chance to parent and keep their child safe in the future?

And you dummies that think it's an age problem should know that for this bill, the Sheriffs could have asked and the legislators could have put in " any person under the age of 17" if that was a legitimate concern!

The Sheriffs needed an issue to hobnob , flex muscles and stay visible to their hometown legislator. This must have been all they had this year!

someoneinnorthms said...

4:52, no wonder you hide behind anonymity. I could just as easily say you believe judges are above the law and should be immune from criticism. Learn to read better or stop engaging in logical fallacies; I'm not sure which of these is your problem. Of course, it could be both.

5:04, yes. The beauty of having a consistent theory of government is that it is applied exactly the same across the board without regard to whom a policy is applied and what kind of emotion it evokes. Conservatives aren't truly conservative if they want to change the law because somebody got sad. If any of my children committed suicide under any circumstances it would make me sad and make me question my choices as a parent. I would never seek to limit your rights or liberties to salve my emotional wounds. I do not believe the government should save me from my failings as a parent.

Somebody wise once said that if a bill is named after a person it's a good bet that it's gonna be bad law. I tend to agree.

Anonymous said...

7:24, was your child 17 or under? The law already says they are a juvenile and must have a parent or guardian contacted.

What if the person caught (who is between 18-21) is married? Do cops call their parents? What if they are active duty military? Do cops call their parents?

Anonymous said...

This bill doesn't account for the fact that not all people that age have parents, or parents that give a damn.
It's discriminatory. What's the remedy in this legislation for when there are NO PARENTS to be called?

Has that crossed anyone's mind?

Anonymous said...

2:37 marriage emancipates a he is no longer "suffering" under the disability of minority.

He's an adult.

Anonymous said...

Read the Bill!! You Bunch of dumb asses! You never read it! It's a good bill! Have not met a parent yet who does not agree that they want to be called! Not one! I would not comment if I had not read the bill! I favor House Bill 1089! Rivers Law!

GMS said...

Have you ever received a call from a friend, a relative, a parent who tells you their only child is dead? Then proceeds to share the most unimaginable heartbreaking, horrific details of a drug induced suicide. How their 19 year old saw no way out of a dui so he took his own life. How his friends opened the door of the apartment to the smell of gun powder and found their friend. How they cried through cleaning up the mess so that his mother wouldn't have to see it. Can you even imagine going through this nightmare?

Have you ever helped a mother pick out a casket, make funeral arrangements and view the body of her 19 year old son? Her son who was very popular, well liked, energetic and full of life. Have you ever heard a mother whisper in her dead sons ear, "baby, you didn't have to do this, momma was on the way." Have you ever seen 18, 19, and 20 year old young men fall to their knees sobbing because they have lost their friend? Lauren McGraw was and is an amazing mother but Rivers had one demon he could not beat...addiction! However, if she had known of his arrest there's a chance she could have saved him, gotten him help for the disease of addiction. If she had only known...

I beg you to put yourself in her high heels and consider how you would feel going through the tragedy of losing your only child to addiction. This mother, Lauren McGraw, is my best friend and I have walked with her in these dark, devastating days. Everyone with children should support this law. As Lauren has said, it can't help her, or Rivers however it could ensure that other parents don't experience what she has. If this bill is passed and saves one life it will be worth it!

To the people who find it necessary to make derogatory comments, pass judgement, and hide behind "anonymous" you could learn from my friend. What purpose has been accomplished with hateful, hurtful comments? Lauren has stood tall, been honest, faced tradgedy, shared her heartbreak in an effort to save lives and make a difference. She hasn't hidden behind anonymity...she has taken a stand and spoken out. She is trying to make a difference...trying to help...trying to save a life. What have you done today to make a difference? What have you done to make Mississippi a better, safer place? Thank goodness Judge Dale Danks sees the value of this law. Thank goodness Mayor Mary Hawkins-Butler sees the value of this law.

If we all focus our energy, wisdom, and words on the positive ways we can make a difference this would be a much better Mississippi! May we all!

Anonymous said...

Age of Majority in Ms is 21, period.
A kid is drinking and driving and kills someone in your family, who are you coming after? The parents. They need to be able to fix a problem they can be held accountable for.

someoneinnorthms said...

2:59 a.m., it's a heartbreaking story. But emotion rarely makes for good law.

I've seen what goes on in county jails first-hand. They love it when they get something new and fresh. How many kids will kill themselves because they got out of jail before their mamas could rescue them? Probably just the one. Maybe another one in the next decade or two. How many kids will be beaten or raped during the extra time they have to wait until mama can rescue them? I would bet it's at least one a day. Whatever the number, it's more than the number of kids saved from suicide.

This is a crazy world when a 18 year old can go to Iraq to shoot people but isn't allowed to bond out of jail without his mama being there.

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