Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter
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Saturday, April 07, 2007


It is possible, I suppose, that Byron Brown is so naive that when his 16 year old son denied taking the family car and getting into an accident he really did believe him. I suppose he might have believed him even after it developed that whoever took the car had the key. And after it was learned that the videotape of the accident showed that the car was driving back towards the Brown house. And that the driver appeared to be a teenage African American who first walked back towards the scene, then fled, in the direction of the Brown house. That's pretty naive, though, and I think it odd that Brown also denied recognizing the jacket the person in the video was wearing-- what parent doesn't recognize his child's outwear? I can understand wanting to believe the boy's denial, but if the cops came to my door with any single one of those facts, I think I'd be a little more persistent in my questioning of my kid than Brown seems to have been. And I would have probably not filed a report with my insurer that denied permissive use simply on the basis of my kid's denial-- I wouldn't have believed my kid, is what it comes down to, even though my kids are quite honest with me. Instead, I would have encouraged my kid to be honest, by demonstrating to the kid that the facts established that the kid's story was false, and that the consequences of lying would be far worse-- for everyone-- than the consequences of getting into an accident and leaving the scene. Nobody was hurt in this mess, but we are left with a troubling question: is Byron Brown that naive? Or is he a liar, too? I don't like the questions, and I am afraid I am going to like the answers less. It is one thing to stand up for your kid-- everyone would have respected it if Brown had come out and said, "Hey, my kid screwed up, and he is soooo grounded." Instead, he made himself complicit, by denying that the person in the video looked like his kid, and by saying that it would have been impossible for the kid to have snuck back into the house. He didn't need to throw his son under the bus, and although leaving an accident scene is a serious offense, nobody would have accused him of being a deficient parent because his kid screwed up. Now, though, that's one of the things I think can fairly be said of the Mayor.

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