The D.C. Bar will be closed for the holidays December 24–January 1
 

Connect

2014 Youth Fair Problem
Stand Tall Against K2 and Alcohol

Property of the D.C. Bar

Darrell Jones, an extremely popular student at Rosa Parks High School in the District of Columbia, was turning 18 on December 1, 2013. He had plans to attend a prestigious college on a full academic scholarship. To celebrate his upcoming birthday he wanted to have a party at the "Whatz Happenin' Room" in the District, which was large enough to allow him to invite his many friends with plenty of room for a DJ.

When Darrell and his cousin Tyesha Jackson mentioned the party to his father Sam Jones and asked him to rent out the party room, Mr. Jones had mixed feelings. "Son, in many ways you deserve a big party to celebrate your birthday because you have worked hard to get that scholarship. But in the last month you have disappointed your mother and me twice by coming home late on a Saturday night with alcohol on your breath… and telling us that all your friends drink is no excuse.I'm not so sure that we should have a big party for you."

"Ah, come on Dad!" Darrell replied."I only turn 18 once and besides if you allow me to have the party I promise that there will be no alcohol. I will tell all of my friends that they absolutely cannot bring alcohol to the party." Mr. Jones was still a bit reluctant but it was always difficult for him to say no to his son. He contacted the club and rented it out for the party. The party was planned and invitations were sent out over the internet. At the insistence of Mr. Jones at the bottom of each e-invitation were the words in bold: "ABSOLUTELY NO ALCOHOL OR DRUGS. VIOLATORS WILL BE SENT HOME."

Although he did promise his son that he and his wife would not hang out at the party and "kill all the fun," Mr. Jones did tell his son that he would be passing through the party at some point to check on things.

An hour before the party was to start Darrell and Tyesha persuaded Tyesha's 23-year-old brother Robert to buy two kegs of beer for them. The kegs were hidden by Darrell and Tyesha in the alley in back of the club. After the party started, word soon got out that there was a surprise in back of the club and eventually many of the party goers were drinking large amounts of beer and becoming intoxicated.

Because he had rented the club, if he had known of the drinking Mr. Jones would have had the authority to stop the party and call the police, who would have prevented all the drunken students from driving.

As soon as Darrell saw his father leave the club he spotted Maria Rodriguez, a young lady who he had been trying to hang with for some time. Maria had been drinking non-alcoholic punch and not the beer. Darrell went up to Maria, who was with her older sister Martina, and said "Hey Maria how is it going?' Maria shrugged her shoulders and said "I'm okay but it's kind of hard for me to relax and enjoy myself when I'm around a large crowd of people." Darrell responded "Maria, I've got just the thing for you." He took her by the hand and led her and Martina outside to the rear alley.

Once outside he pulled out a small brightly colored packet labeled "spice" that he had purchased at a gas station convenience store. He opened it up and emptied the herb-like contents onto a piece of paper. "What's that?" said Maria.

"You've never seen spice before?" said Darrell. "Some people call it K2. It's a nice sweet smelling herb that is synthetic marijuana. It will give us a nice mellow high and help you relax."

"Wait a minute!" exclaimed Martina."I've read about that stuff on the net.It's really nasty chemicals sprayed on vegetable material that's really bad for you. It can make you really sick and worse it can make you fearful and paranoid and cause you to have hallucinations. It can really fry your brains. It's not some harmless buzz."

"Ah come on," responded Darrell, "where are you getting that mess from?" I've read those same stories on the net and it's just older folks trying to create urban legends just to scare younger folks and spoil our fun. K2 is just synthetic marijuana that never harmed anyone. I've tried it before and none of those bad things happened to me."

Darrell rolled a joint with the K2 and passed it to Maria who was reluctant to smoke it."Come on Maria try it. It will just relax you.Your sister is just uptight." Maria shrugged her shoulders took several hits off the joint and immediately began to vomit. Apparently this particular K2 was not like anything Darrell had previously used and was much stronger. Maria became extremely agitated and began yelling "I hate this place. I need to get out of here and go home."Maria's Cousin Joseph Santiago, age 18, who was also at the party, seeing his cousin's distress, offered to take her home in his car. By the time that Joseph got Maria into his car she was hallucinating.

Unfortunately, Joseph had been drinking a great deal of beer at the party and could hardly walk any less drive a car. As a result, Martina refused to get into the car. Less than a block from the club Joseph lost control of the car and it crashed into a tree, killing Joseph instantly as well as Mary Jones, an elderly woman who tragically was walking past the tree at the time of the crash. Miraculously, Maria was able to "walk away" from the crash but she was still hallucinating and she walked onto a nearby bridge, jumped off and died.

Police after investigating the three deaths arrested Darrell Jones on charges of "manslaughter" in connection with the death of Maria Rodriguez. He was also charged with "alcohol related manslaughter" in connection with the deaths of Joseph Santiago and Mary Jones. The police also arrested Darrell's father Sam Jones on charges of "alcohol-related manslaughter" in connection with the deaths of Joseph Santiago and Mary Jones.

For purposes of this trial father and son will be tried together and the following criminal statutes apply.

Manslaughter

A person who intentionally commits an act that results in the death of another person and who knows or should know that the act poses a high degree of risk of serious injury or death is guilty of manslaughter.

(Here, the act that results in death is the sharing of the K2 with Maria and it is the prosecutor's position that Darrell knew or should have known that the K2 posed a high degree of risk of serious injury or death. The defense will argue that Darrell had no reason to believe that K2 posed a serious risk of injury to Maria.)

Alcohol Related Manslaughter

A person who undertakes unreasonable actions that he knows or should know pose a high degree of risk resulting in the alcohol related death of another is guilty of Alcohol Related Manslaughter.

Here, the prosecutor will argue that the following acts on the part of Sam Jones were unreasonable and posed a high degree of risk:

1. Knowing that your under-aged son and his friends were previously using alcohol

2. Renting a hall for an unchaperoned party for teenagers.

3. Not checking to determine alcohol consumption when he had the opportunity.

The defense will argue that Mr. Jones undertook a number of measures to keep alcohol out of the party and when he visited the party he had no reason to believe that alcohol was being consumes.

The prosecutor will also argue that Darrel Jones knew or should have known that bringing two kegs to a party involving minors poses a high degree of risk that someone will become very drunk and cause a fatal car accident.

WITNESSES

DARRELL JONES: WITNESS SCRIPT

1. My name is Darrell Jones and I am a student at Rosa Parks High School in the District of Columbia. I am 18 years old and I hope to attend college on a full academic scholarship next fall.

2. I know that I promised my father that there would be no beer at the party but I just wanted everyone to have a good time. I was hoping that everyone would just get a beer buzz and enjoy themselves. I did not think that anyone would get so drunk that they would drive a car into a tree. I just never thought that anything bad would happen because of a bunch of kids drank some beer and were having a good time.

3. Before the night of the party I had smoked a little K2 and it just made me a little high like some kind of marijuana. I know that I had read and heard before that night that not all K2 is the same and it can make you really sick and worse it can make you fearful and paranoid and cause you to have hallucinations. But I thought that that was just older folks trying to create urban legends just to scare younger folks and spoil our fun.

4. Who would ever think that something that comes in a colorful packet and can be bought at a gas station could be bad for you? I just thought Martina was uptight and wanted to spoil our fun when she tried to warn Maria and me about K2.

5. I never wanted anything bad to happen to Maria.I just wanted her to relax and have a good time.

6. I am so sorry that any of this happened. I never thought for a second that something like this could ever happen.

MARTINA RODRIGUEZ: WITNESS SCRIPT

1. My name is Martina Rodriguez and I am the sister of Maria Rodriguez who died on December 1, 2013.

2. On that date I was at the birthday party for Darrell Jones at the "Whatz Happenin' Room."

3. Maria and I were drinking non-alcoholic punch when Darrell came up to my sister and started talking.

4. Maria told Darrell, "I'm okay but it's kind of hard for me to relax and enjoy myself when I'm around a large crowd of people." Darrell responded, "Maria, I've got just the thing for you." He took her by the hand and led the two of us outside to the rear alley.

5. Once outside he pulled out a small brightly colored packet labeled "spice" that he said he had purchased at a gas station convenience store. He opened it up and emptied the herb-like contents onto a piece of paper. "What's that?" said Maria." You've never seen spice before?" said Darrell. "Some people call it K2. It's a nice sweet smelling herb that is synthetic marijuana. It will give us a nice mellow high and help you relax."

6. I became upset and said to Darrell and Maria that I had read about that stuff on the net. It said that it's really nasty chemicals sprayed on vegetable material that's really bad for you. I also said that I learned that can make you very sick and worse it can make you fearful and paranoid and cause you to have hallucinations. I told them that it's not some harmless buzz."

7. "Ah come on," responded Darrell, "Where are you getting that mess from?" He said, "I've read those same stories on the net and it's just older folks trying to create urban legends just to scare younger folks and spoil our fun. K2 is just synthetic marijuana that never harmed anyone. I've tried it before and none of those bad things happened to me."

8. Darrell then rolled a joint with the K2 and passed it to Maria who was reluctant to smoke it. "Come on Maria try it. It will just relax you. Your sister is just uptight," he said. Maria shrugged her shoulders and took several hits off the joint.

9. Maria quickly became ill and vomited on the sidewalk. She became extremely agitated and paranoid and began yelling, "I hate this place. I need to get out of here and go home."

10. Our cousin Joseph Santiago, age 18, who was also at the party offered to take Maria home in his car. By the time that Joseph got Maria into his car she was hallucinating.

11. I refused to get to get into the car because Joseph had been drinking a great deal of beer at the party and could hardly walk no less drive a car. Less than a block from the club I saw him lose control of the car and it crashed into a tree and hit an elderly woman.

12. I ran to the car and saw Maria "walk away" from the crash. I saw her walk onto a nearby bridge. She jumped off and I never saw her alive again.

SAM JONES: WITNESS SCRIPT

1. I am the father of Darrell Jones.I work as an accountant for a federal government agency.

2. I agreed to rent the "Whatz Happenin' Room" for my son's birthday but only after he promised that he and his friends would not drink any alcohol at the party.

3. I ordered that at the bottom of each e-invitation for the party were the words in bold type: "ABSOLUTELY NO ALCOHOL OR DRUGS. VIOLATORS WILL BE SENT HOME."

4. On the day of the party, I went to the "Whatz Happenin Room" to make sure that a "NO ALCOHOL OR DRUGS PERMITTED INSIDE" sign was placed on the front door.

5. As I promised, I visited the party scene for a short time in order to see whether there were any problems. When I walked into the club, I heard the loud beat of "go go" music that I hate and which actually hurt my ears. Because of the loud music I decided to stay in front of the club so that I would not get close to the speakers. From what I could see of the partiers everything was going along okay without any problems. I did not see any beer or other alcohol. After a few minutes I left because everything seemed to be going fine.

6. Later that night I heard the terrible news about the car accident and that girl jumping off the bridge.It was all so terrible but it was not my fault. I had no idea that the kids at that party were drinking beer.

WITNESS SCRIPT: TYESHA JACKSON

1. Darrell Jones is my cousin and I am 17 years old.

2. I was with Darrell when he asked his father Sam Jones to rent the "Whatz Happenin' Room" for the party.

3. I heard Mr. Jones say "Son, in many ways you deserve a big party to celebrate your birthday because you have worked hard to get that scholarship. But in the last month you have disappointed your mother and me twice by coming home late on a Saturday night with alcohol on your breath… and telling us that all your friends drink is no excuse. I'm not so sure that we should have a big party for you."

4. I was with Darrell and Mr. Jones when Mr. Jones rented out the club and I heard him agree to be responsible for keeping the students from drinking alcohol at the party.

5. On the day of the party Darrell and I talked my 23-year-old brother Robert into buying two kegs of beer for us for the party.

6. Before the party started, Darrell and I hid the kegs in the alley in back of the club.

7. We let everyone know about the beer and many of our friends drank lots of beer out of those big red cups that you see at parties.

8. A lot of us got very drunk at the party which became very loud and wild. A lot of us had blood shot eyes and were slurring our words and just talking silly.

9. Sometime after things really became wild, I saw Darrell's father enter the front of the club. He never actually walked through the club which was kind of dark but rather stayed in the front for few minutes and then he left.