Court processes nabbed underage drinkers

Kiera Manion-Fischer

Out of 81 total arraignments processed during Judge John Plough’s special afternoon court session yesterday, a majority were for prohibitions, that is, underage possession or consumption of alcohol.

Other charges included disorderly conduct, possession of marijuana as well as three assault charges. One person was charged with operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol after he went through a red light and a stop sign at 9 a.m. Sunday morning. Only four people failed to show up for the court appointment.

Most of those charged were not Kent State students or residents.

The atmosphere in Judge John Plough’s crowded courtroom in downtown Kent was slightly jovial as defendants answered Plough’s questions about how their nights ended. One man said he woke up in jail and didn’t remember what had happened to him.”Did everyone have fun before they got arrested?” Plough asked everyone gathered in the courtroom.

“I didn’t even have fun,” one defendant replied.

Laughter filled the courtroom.

“I try not to be too serious,” Plough said after the session. “Most of these kids are here for underage drinking”

Many were carrying alcohol that they had not had a chance to drink before they were stopped by the police.

Most first-time offenders charged with prohibitions or possesion of marijuana pleaded no contest or guilty and agreed to enter a diversion program. After completing community service, an alcohol or drug education course and paying fines and court costs, the offense is wiped from their records if the person does not reoffend after six months.

This is the third year Plough has held a court session the Sunday after Kent’s unofficial Halloween celebration, and this year saw the most arraignments: 81 compared to 57 and 63 in past years. Plough speculated that this year’s increase was because of the good weather, which brought more people downtown.

The special session shows people that if they are arrested in downtown Kent during Halloween, they will have to appear in court the next day, he said. It also helps keep his schedule unclogged, Plough said.

Contact public affairs reporter Kiera Manion-Fischer at [email protected].