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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Report: State senator swoops to the rescue of alleged underage drinker

click to enlarge State Sen. John Wiles
  • State Sen. John Wiles

Ah, the glory days of drinking in the basements of some friend's house in suburbia. Warm Icehouse, drunken ping pong, waking up on the floor and going to some greasy spoon the next morning to cure what we then considered a hangover. How we do not long for thee.

The AJC 's Christopher Quinn has taken us back to those salad days by digging into an investigation involving an alleged underage drinking party at  Woodstock City Court Judge Diane Busch's home.

According to a police report obtained by Quinn, cops showed up to the judge's Cobb County residence around 3 a.m. sometime during the Christmas holidays after neighbors reported hearing what sounded like gunshots (but turned out to be balloons popping). Officers found — and cited — 10 teens for drinking. Quinn reports, citing the police report, that the judge threatened to call the officers' superiors, telling them "[they] didn't want that." Busch's attorney told the paper that, yes, things could have been handled differently, but she "categorically denies ever in any fashion giving any minors alcohol or having any knowledge they were consuming it in her house."

Buried under all those details were a couple of paragraphs that caught our attention. Turns out it wasn't just the cops that showed up to the judge's home around 3 a.m.

[Woodstock City Court Judge Diane] Busch was awakened and told police that members of the Cobb police department and the district attorney's office also attended the adult party, according to police reports. While police were questioning the teenagers, state Sen. John Wiles (R-Kennesaw) of the Wiles and Wiles law firm showed up. Busch works for Wiles and Wiles when not handling the twice-weekly Woodstock traffic court.

Wiles advised the teenagers not to talk, according to police reports. He told one officer he had no probable cause to cite a teenager found upstairs, told an officer that one young man should not be charged because it could endanger his college sports scholarship, and he shushed Busch when she stated "she had allowed it," a police report says.

Wiles could not be reached.

One could argue the whole advising-teenagers-not-to-talk is OK. But for a state lawmaker to try and talk an officer out of issuing a citation to someone who's allegedly broken the law, as the police report obtained by the AJC suggests? Not exactly the type of thing for which an elected official likes to be known — particularly one who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

(Courtesy Senate Press Office)

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