The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Local News

February 16, 2013

Social host law to go into effect

CLINTON — Clinton County residents hosting underage drinking parties will soon find themselves facing criminal charges.

The new social host ordinance was approved during the Feb. 4 Clinton County Board of Supervisors meeting and will be in effect once it is published in the media. It will be officially published in the Clinton Herald on Monday.

Once in effect, anyone knowingly allowing underage individuals to possess or consume alcoholic beverages on the premises of his or her property could be charged with a simple misdemeanor. They would be subject to a fine between $65 and $650 and ordered to serve up to 30 days if convicted.

“Teenagers make bad decisions sometimes when they drink alcohol,” said Clinton County Deputy Sgt. Steve Cundiff, who helped draft the ordinance.

Cundiff hopes that this ordinance will deter drinking by teenagers. He pointed out that the county has seen deaths of teenagers due to alcohol and he feels it is important to change the thinking that underage drinking is acceptable.

“We don’t want to go out there and pick kids off of the pavement,” Cundiff said. The Clinton County ordinance was modeled after the Linn County social ordinance, with a few changes. The ordinance was drafted by the Clinton County Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant Collaborative Group, with assistance from Clinton County Attorney Mike Wolf.

In working on the ordinance, Wolf said he spoke to the Iowa Attorney General’s Office about the possibility of having a statewide social host law. He said he was told that while the topic has been considered, at this point it is left for each county to make its own ordinance. Wolf added that if enough Iowa counties work on these ordinances, it would be easier to make it state law.

Wolf was unsure on how many of the 99 counties in Iowa have social host ordinances, but did not feel there are many. According to the Helping Services for Northeast Iowa website, http://www.helpingservices.org/Community_Initiatives/social-hosting-laws.shtml, 15 counties and 12 cities have passed social host ordinances, not including Clinton County.

“We’re in a minority for sure,” Wolf said.

Wolf said the biggest change from the Linn County ordinance is that the Clinton County ordinance does not apply to only those above 21 years old. Teenagers who hold a party when their parents are out of town and unaware could be charged under the new ordinance.

Under the Linn County ordinance, hosting a social gathering with underage drinking is a civil penalty.  Wolf said he decided to change it to a simple misdemeanor for the Clinton County ordinance. His decision was based on the fact that county law enforcement already have these criminal forms and know how to fill them out.

“Having it as a criminal penalty, it will be easier to enforce,” Wolf said.

According to the new ordinance, a social host is defined as any “person, partnership, corporation or association of one or more individuals who aids, entertains, organizes, supervises, controls or permits an event, gathering or party.” A social host who willingly allows underage drinking on the premises can be charged even if he or she is not present.

A host who takes reasonable steps to prevent the possession or consumption of alcohol by underage individuals has an affirmative defense. The host also has a defense if he or she notified law enforcement and allowed them to enter the premises to stop the illegal activities. The ordinance makes the exception of actions legally protected by religious observances and actions permitted under Section 123.47(2)of Iowa Code, which includes cases where liquor, wine or beer is given in a private home with the knowledge, presence and consent of a parent or guardian or when it is administered by either a physician or dentist for medicinal purposes.

Wolf is unsure if the county will see many charges coming from this ordinance. He said its main purpose is to divert responsibility to those who encourage teenagers to drink.

He hopes having this ordinance will make people think twice before hosting parties with underage consumption of alcohol.

“The point isn’t to get a lot of charges. The point is to send that message,” Wolf said. “This isn’t the right time and the right place for you (to drink).”

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Theft trial for man charged in Wolfe sisters' murders

    A western Pennsylvania man accused of having robbed and killed his next-door neighbors, two sisters of Iowa Rep. Mary Wolfe, now also faces trial on charges that he stole another woman's wedding ring a year ago.

    State police in Greensburg allege that 43-year-old Allen Wade of East Liberty, Pa., stole the ring while delivering a refrigerator to a home in April 2013. Westmoreland County Common Pleas Judge Rita Hathaway on Thursday agreed to schedule the case for trial.

    April 18, 2014

  • More felonies added to sex abuse charges CLINTON -- A Clinton man already facing multiple felony charges for allegedly sexually abusing a child is now facing six more felonies for sexual exploitation of a child. Tony D. James, 45, was charged this past weekend with six counts of sexual expl

    April 18, 2014

  • Wildlife service to conduct burnings CLINTON -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will conduct several prescribed burns this spring. The burns will take place on the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge in Carroll and Jo Daviess counties. Sites planned for burning

    April 18, 2014

  • Women jailed on meth charges

    CLINTON -- Two Clinton women are currently being held in the Clinton County jail on $50,000 cash-only bonds for methamphetamine charges. Jessica L. Crabtree, 29, 215 10th Ave. North, and Tera A. Riddle, 27, 611 1/2 S. Seventh St., were arrested last

    April 18, 2014

  • Photo exhibit 2 'Hats Off' Art exhibit covers downtown (With Map & Video)

    CLINTON -- A clown. Clinton High wrestlers. An expecting mother. A young Mozart. These faces and more all peered through downtown storefronts Thursday. They're there again today, too. Looking back at them was photographer Jean Black. They are her way

    April 18, 2014 3 Photos

  • Fire alarm evacuation at Eagle Heights

    Students of Eagle Heights Elementary School were evacuated Thursday afternoon after staff smelled something being emitted in the first-grade hallway and main office areas.

    According to a press release from the Clinton Community School District, staff noticed the smell at approximately 1:10 p.m. It was then determined the fire department should be notified, and the fire alarm was pulled. The building was evacuated quickly and the Clinton Fire Department responded immediately.

    April 17, 2014

  • UPDATED: McColley found not guilty of sex abuse

    Relief showed on the faces of Russell McColley and his family Thursday as a verdict of not guilty was read in court.
    "Our prayers were answered, that's all I have to say," Tracy Hook, McColley's sister, said.
    McColley was facing a charge of second-degree sexual abuse. If he had been convicted of the class B felony, he could have faced as much as 25 years in prison.

    April 17, 2014

  • Court denies man's appeal in robbery CLINTON -- The Iowa Court of Appeals has upheld a conviction of a man who robbed a Clinton pawn shop in 2012. Darrell L. Thomas recently appealed his first-degree robbery conviction to the Iowa Court of Appeals. The court released its decision Wednes

    April 17, 2014

  • Dutch Days grand marshals Fulton couple honored as grand marshals

    Bob and Trudy Feldt have been dedicated to the city of Fulton for decades. Whether it be Trudy's 27-year commitment to teaching the children of the community at the River Bend School District, Bob's 33-year career with the Fulton-born c

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • CCDA will match funds to secure van

    CLINTON -- One local non-profit organization soon will benefit from a donation from the Clinton County Development Association but it's not their typical form of grant giving. During a meeting Wednesday, CCDA members discussed the possibility of matc

    April 17, 2014

Facebook
Clinton
Camanche
Fulton
Clinton Herald photos


Browse, buy and submit pictures with our photo site.