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Resource ID: #20309
Subject: Criminal Justice System
Source: Los Angeles Times
Date: 21-Apr-96


"Like many other communities, St. Clair Shores, Mich., responded to increasing teen crime by passing a 'parental-responsibility' ordinance. But the first prosecution is raising troubling questions." The Times delves into the case of a father charged with abdicating his parental responsibility. His teenage son was smoking dope and drinking in the house, stealing from neighbors and even the local church. However, a closer look revealed a mild-mannered father who had lost control of his son. Once the son, who at 6' tall towered over his father, began using drugs, he gradually became more violent to the point where he essentially took control of the household. His parents lived in fear of their son, and the father even had to call the police after one incident where the boy gouged his eyes and threatened him with a golf club. Given such circumstances, the article examines whether the father truly deserved punishment by the city for being an irresponsible parent, and looks at the larger issue of whether such 'parental ordinances' can really work at all.

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