Warrants issued in connection with underage alcohol party

Warrants issued in connection with underage alcohol party
Arrest warrants were issued on Friday, May 19 for James and Mason Hedeen of rural Beresford as a result of an investigation into an underage alcohol party on April 21, when Deputy Kevin Noble of the Clay County Sheriff's Office discovered the party taking place at 30243 467th Ave. in rural Beresford.

He approached the residence and numerous subjects ran away, including the renters of the residence. Following a traffic stop of a vehicle leaving the residence, two subjects under 21 were found to have been consuming alcohol and were ticketed.

Deputies had been observing this residence due to suspected underaged alcohol parties in the past. The renters of the residence, James Hedeen, 24, and Mason Hedeen, 21, were charged by criminal complaint with the offense of maintaining a common nuisance and the warrants were issued for their arrest.

In a similar situation, on Dec. 31, 2005 (New Years Eve), deputies responded to a noise complaint at 8 Turner St. in Wakonda and discovered an underage alcohol party taking place. Numerous individuals ran from the residence but seven juveniles and one 18-year-old person were found to have been drinking. Also present in the home was the 18-year-old girl's mother, Susan Peterson, 47.

Investigation revealed evidence that Peterson was aware of the alcohol being consumed at the residence by the teenagers. She was charged with maintaining a common nuisance and seven counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. She later pled guilty to the offense of maintaining a common nuisance and the rest of the charges were dismissed.

The Sheriff's Office has received information about two underage alcohol parties which were reported to have taken place over the weekend of May 12 and 13. One suspected party was south of Gayville while the other was near Burbank. Investigation is continuing into those parties and the possibility that parents were either present or knowledgeable of the underage alcohol consumption.

The maintaining a common nuisance statute (35-10-17) states: "Place used for violation of beverage laws as common nuisance � maintenance as misdemeanor. Any structure, conveyance, or place where alcoholic beverages are manufactured, sold, kept, bartered, given away, found, consumed, or used in violation of the laws of the state, relating to alcoholic beverages, and all alcoholic beverages and property kept and used in maintaining the same, is hereby declared to be a common nuisance, and any person who maintains such a common nuisance is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor."

The statute is often used when underage alcohol parties are discovered where there isn't certainty that any one person actually provided the alcohol. There is no burden to show who provided the alcohol, only that a person permitted its consumption at the residence by underage persons.

The law permits a parent to provide alcohol to his/her own child at the child's home but they can't provide to or permit the consumption of alcohol by children other than their own. It is no longer legal for a parent or spouse of legal age to allow a child to drink alcohol in a bar or restaurant, it must be in the child's home.

"Many parents dismiss alcohol consumption as a rite of passage they went through themselves and feel they came through it fine but they seem to forget those who didn't come through their teen years okay because of drinking," said Clay County Sheriff Andy Howe. "So often, people forget without prompting the stories each of us knows of when a friend or family member was killed in an accident. Besides fatal accidents, parents must worry about other problems caused by underage alcohol use such as unplanned pregnancies can occur. Even though so many adults drank as teens and nothing happened, some weren't so lucky."

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