Monday, November 12, 2012

Party House of the long Weekend

 233 East Pleasant Street, Amherst

Unseasonably warm weather and a long holiday weekend (at least for UMass students) combined to keep the party level high enough to attract late night police response to a number of locations around town, one of them at 4:19 AM this morning.

But only one house was bad-boy enough to garner an arrest, rather than verbal warning or civil infraction $300 ticket. Late Saturday night (11:30 PM) police were called to 233 East Pleasant Street, immediate neighbor to the town owned Hawthorne Farm, for loud music and college aged kids milling about the well-traveled road just outside town center.

Between 100 and 200 guests were cleared out by multiple responding units but party house host Michael Vuona, a UMass student, was nothing if not uncooperative, attempting to pull away from an officer. Police also confirm a "live DJ" was present contributing to the noise problem, although no word if it was former UMass student, Party Poster Boy, Peter Clark.

Michael Vuona, 233 East Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA, age 22. Arrested for Noise and Resisting arrest.

About a half-hour later police responded to 338 Pine Street called by a nearby neighbor who reported to dispatch they had just counted "11 taxis dropping off students." Upon arrival police were asked by tenants for help clearing the party explaining that a simply birthday party had suddenly grown exponentially and gotten out of their control.

Because the party hosts were proactive (albeit last minute) and cooperative, police issued a verbal warning only.

A 21-year-old resident of 260 Grantwood Drive (who actually gives his legal address as so), however, garnered a $300 noise ticket after police found him and some friends loudly playing "beer pong" on the screened in porch at 4:19 this morning.

Police also paid multiple visits to houses tucked along South Prospect Street as they have done on previous weekends. In fact, an officer, as part of "community policing" visited a neighbor earlier in the day to hear her complaints about noise coming from #37. She has a small child and the late night decibels are playing havoc with sleep patterns. Sure enough, late Saturday (11:24 PM) police issued a warning to #37 South Prospect for loud noise.

The previous night police issued three residents of #55 South Prospect Street $300 noise tickets.


Dr. Ed said...

Larry, you mention decibels -- exactly what is the noise limit when measured from the property line?

There isn't one -- and some kid eventually is going to either raise that in front of the judge or (more likely) in US District Court under a "Color of Law" issue. Think about this for a minute:

The APD are arresting citizens for (a) an offense which isn't defined and (b) jailing them for an offense which has no possiblity of a jail sentence.

The real punishment is being arrested and incarcerated, not the fine -- everyone knows that -- and the problem is that the punishment is inflicted BEFORE any judicial hearing. Add in UMass Judicial (and the officer doesn't even have to show up so that is not an opportunity "to confront your accuser") - and all the punishment is inflicted prior to the kid having an opportunity to see a judge!

Throw in the fact that the definition of what constitutes an offense (not the decision to arrest or not, but the very definition of what constitutes an offense is at the whim/discretion of the officer and you have a major 14th Amendment issue here.

And the town could wind up having to compensate all these little darlings and it won't be for just $300 either -- and that could quickly exceed the town's insurance with Amherst falling into the same legal mess that the Catholic Church has with damages due victims of sexual abuse. (That's why they are having to close & sell churches....)

Anonymous said...

As regards the party at 338 Pine Street: Our neighbors in that property (eight - or more, by the number of cars in the driveway at any given time) students packed into a house that used to be the home to a single, elderly woman but was later bought by one of our local slum lords and converted to two four-bedroom units) were hardly "proactive". We watched not eleven, but eighteen, taxis arrive...all before the bars let out. Had the police not come when they did, this party would have grown even further out of control. The residents were clearly not interested in controlling the behavior of their guests, as we have spoken to them in the past and they have assured us that they would not let it happen again. The only reason that they "asked the police for help in clearing the party" is that the police were there, in their faces. At least five boys approached our shared property line to urinate. One boy attempted to put something in our mailbox.

In the future, these children will be treated like the nuisance that they are, and we will be calling the police at the first sign of a party.

Anonymous said...

(I forgot to mention that this was no party that went out of control "suddenly". They were going from around 10pm until the police arrived...taxis were showing up for two hours)

Larry Kelley said...

And I'm sure next time (sounds like there will be a next time) APD will not cut them any slack.

Neither will I.

Dr Ed said...

Mr. Morse -- if you think I am wrong, please say so, but would you want to be the one defending the Amherst noise ordinance in US District Court and/or prosecuting a violation of it in B'Town court if the kid was represented by an attorney whom you consider to be your intellectual/legal equal?

I am not saying defended by some of the schmucks that are over there defending the UM students, which is why a lot of things are the way they are in Amherst right now, but someone equal to you. Someone who would raise every defense and file every motion that you would file.

I honestly don't see why -- as something that one can be arrested for -- unconstitutionally vague. I am not saying that some of these little darlings don't deserve to be arrested, only that "we do live in a country of laws and not men."

Of course all of this pales in comparison to the UMass Star Chamber known as ACT, but I digress....

Dr. Ed said...

And I'm sure next time (sounds like there will be a next time) APD will not cut them any slack.

Which goes directly to my question of unconstitutional vagueness.

What you are essentially saying here is that next time the definition of what constitutes the offense will be more stringent for these individuals than for other concurrent incidents in town.

Larry, that is *exactly* what the 14th Amendment was written to prevent.

Anonymous said...

Ed, you always digress...

Adam Sweet said...

You know what really pisses me off about all this drinking and partying by college students? These are the same kids whining about how they can't get a job, or how bad the economy is. If they'd stop partying and getting drunk every night, and maybe crack the books a bit, they would do better.

Makes me sick