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Apache Bob

Eagle Scout or not?

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I generally agree with the posts here saying that this should have an effect on whether or not the scout becomes Eagle. I really can't say exactly what that effect should be, because that is extremely fact-intensive, and I doubt if we can get enough facts to hash it out on the internet.

 

But I did have one comment:

 

>>>>One problem we have is they way people see DUI. People don't see DUI as a serious crime.

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Interesting issue and discussion.

 

 

The standard in criminal law is that a person is innocent until proven guilty. If the Scout in question hasn't plead guilty or been found guilty and any appeals exhausted, that tends to argue to me that the issue should not be considered by Scouting ---it's premature.

 

And since juvenile court records are usually kept sealed, there is probably not going to be a definitive finding available to Scouting even if he plead guilty.

 

That suggests to me that such issues shouldn't be considered an advancement issue.

 

I'll admit this conclusion is counter intutive to me.

 

If the law and public authorities dictate that juvenile violations be kept sealed, are we being good citizens by inquiring into those issues?

 

I would think that by the time a Scout gets to his Eagle Board the adults in the troop are going to have a pretty good idea of the boy's character after observing him in difficult and stressful situations on many occasions.

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Well, there are two things going on.

 

First of all, he presumably engaged in a certain behavior, namely, drinking when he was under-aged, and then driving.

 

Hypothetically, let's say that he showed up at his EBOR and announced, "I got drunk last night, drove home, and didn't get caught!" I think most of us agree that's something that should be taken into consideration (although you would have to give him extra credit for being trustworthy).

 

The fact that he got caught and that there were criminal consequences is a separate issue. And I agree that the mere fact that he got caught and faces criminal charges really doesn't matter unless and until he is convicted. And even then, in my opinion, it's of secondary importance.

 

But whether or not he is convicted, the fact of this behavior is something that can legitimately be considered. Again, I don't think it's a deal breaker, but it is something to be considered.

 

One factor that I think is relevant is how this matter came to light. If the Scout came to his Scoutmaster or leader and 'fessed up out of the blue, then I think just doing that goes a long way to establish his integrity.

 

Again, there are a thousand things like that that I would probably consider, so I doubt if we're going to come up with a definitive answer here on the internet.

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I respect all the opinions given in this thread but I have a question for those who propose "timing" may be of importance.

 

Many (John-in-KC, skeptic, etc.) are advocating a "not now but if he demonstrates ... in his daily life" maybe later. Why? What's the time limit? I can see a waiting period of some sort but I would not make it open ended and I would properly convey the time - in concrete terms, not in an obtuse manner - to the Scout. Children of that age don't do well with "until you show better judgment" types of conditions.

 

I think most of us feel we would really have to know the Scout in question before we made a decision. I'm also troubled by the "if he got caught, he must have been doing quite frequently" type of rationalization. I don't think we have the liberty to make these type judgments if we are SMs or BOR members.

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I know we had a scout which didn't break the law, but things happened that caused the SM to choose not to sign off on his Eagle rank until he showed "Scout Spirit". He chose the time frame of 6 months.. I think this was a great time frame.. For youth that age 6 months is a long time, but they can see a light at the end of the tunnel.. Longer and it might seem like an impossible hurtle.

 

This scout did turn around too. He was the best example a scout could be. Although the decision was argued by the parents all up the chain of the council.. At the end of the 6 months the boy volunterily made a beautiful speech on scout sunday about what a wonderful learning expierience it was for him.

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acco,

 

As our Counselors at Law (one of whom is a sitting Judge) have told us, the first point is the legal process must run its course. That's gonna put 1-3 months onto the clock before anything else. The reason for letting the process conclude is we can be called as witnesses against the Scout, if he confesses in a SM conference/BOR environment. Do you really want that on your shoulders? I don't.

 

Second, our two Counselors have some experience with youthful offenders, and I trust their field experience to make the level of statement they did.

 

To answer your specific question, it depends:

 

1) I would tell the young man nothing is going to happen at all until he's been in front of a Judge and the matter has been dealt with.

 

2) If he comes to me afterward saddened, chastened, and contrite, and the light seems to have turned on, I'd be looking at moving to SM Conf for advancement and EBOR in short order.

 

3) At the other extreme, if he's defiant or refuses to talk about it, well, I can set a fixed date for an EBOR: Seven months after his 18th birthday (where National has to give permission).

 

The Scout is cutting his own trail right now, and he's hit a fork point. It's time for him to make decisions about who he is.

 

Does that make sense? Does it answer your question?(This message has been edited by John-in-KC)

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Even without confessing to the troop his guilt or insisting he is innocent. I would console the young man to put into practice now the "living the scout oath & law" with detail to being in high gear about showing it..

 

Consider it similar to someone sitting in jail before their trial. If they are found innocent.. "Oh well".. If they are found guilty, they the time they spent in jail is considered part of the sentence already served..

 

Showing he is an Eagle scout by living the scout oath & law now, will not hurt him any, even if he is found innocent.. Much better then rotting in a prison cell for 6 months then being found innocent, by then you may have lost your job and housing and other things..

 

Not saying he is choosing between the two, because he isn't.. Just comparing the two..

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Honestly, the chances of a Scout leader's being called as a witness to testify as to a confession, while theoretically possible, are pretty close to zero. Realistically, the only way that it's going to happen is if the person hearing the confession approached the police or prosectutor. Again, it's a theoretical possibility, but as a practical matter, it ain't gonna happen.

 

And even if it does happen, IMHO, it's just a natural consequence of the youth's behavior. If the scout takes responsibility for his actions and confesses, then it seems to me that he really ought to face the criminal consequences for his behavior.

 

Yes, I am assuming that the Scout is guilty of the offense he is charged with, at least partially. If he's not, then it's an easy case. He just tells the SM and the EBOR that he is absolutely innocent of the charges against him. It was a case of mistaken identity: He didn't have a single drop to drink that night. If that's what happened, then the case is very easy.

 

But if the Scout was drinking while under age, and/or he was driving after drinking any amount of alcohol, then he needs to face up to that behavior, __whether or not__ he was arrested or charged with it.

 

While very unlikely, it's possible that taking responsibility for his behavior within Scouting might have a negative impact on his criminal case. If that is true, then he has to decide which is more important--making Eagle, or reducing the criminal penalties. That's the Scout's decision to make.

 

If you were on the EBOR, which would you find more compelling: "I pleaded guilty because I was guilty", or "they weren't able to convict me, because I kept silent, as was my right, and my lawyer was able to show that the breathalyzer might not have been properly calibrated." Or, "I was drinking at the party, but I was acquitted, because I was slightly below the legal limit for DUI."

 

I wouldn't take anything away from the Scout who was aquitted. But the Scout who pleaded guilty and took responsibility for his actions, I would probably be more inclined to believe that he learned from this experience and won't repeat it.

 

The Scout who was acquitted, or who wasn't caught in the first place, will have more 'splaining to do about how he has gotten past this incident.

(This message has been edited by clemlaw)

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The standard in criminal law is that a person is innocent until proven guilty. If the Scout in question hasn't plead guilty or been found guilty and any appeals exhausted, that tends to argue to me that the issue should not be considered by Scouting ---it's premature.

 

Yah, hmmmm...

 

I think we all have to make a distinction in our mind between what's appropriate for the government when it is arguing for a citizen to be deprived of liberty, and what's appropriate for a parent or youth development program that's trying to help a lad learn a lesson.

 

Yes, when the state proposes a criminal penalty that involves the loss of liberty, we want da threshold to be innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

 

But when we're tryin' to raise and teach a child, no parent or youth program should ever set such a restriction, eh? Heck, a good parent or scout leader might well penalize a lad for mouthing off with profanity, somethin' that would be protected free speech in the eyes of the state. :)

 

We're not talkin' about jailin' the lad. We're talkin' about not giving him an award for meritorious conduct. There is a difference! And the proper answer for the latter is not "innocent until proven guilty" it's "no award until yeh convince us and the community yeh interact with every day that you meet the requirements for such an award."

 

Then just be honest. If your son took your car and drove it drunk, how long would it be before he was off probation for you as a parent? What would he have to do in the mean time? If yeh were asked to write a parent rec. letter for Eagle rank, when would yeh be ready to say "yep, he's now demonstrated the character required for such an award?"

 

Don't try to think like da court or do the court's job. Do the job of a scout leader. Tell the boy straight up what it will take before you will again consider his character and judgment worthy of the highest award in Scoutin'. I'd suggest as a test it's sometime after yeh agree to let your youngest child ride home with the boy driving some evening. ;)

 

Beavah

 

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Innocent and guilty are legal terms. If I get mistakenly identified as a bank robber and a jury convicts me of the crime - I'm guilty. Doesn't matter if I robbed the bank or not - by definintion, I'm guilty if convicted by a jury of my peers.

 

So, for a Scout I wouldn't wait for a judicial decision before making my own.

 

John-in-KC, so I would agree with everything you stated in #2 on but not necessarily #1. Not because I think the Scout may be wrongly convicted (rare) but they could easily be considered "innocent" and still have done a "bad" thing. I would try and make the determination in the Scout arena, not legal arena.

 

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acco,

 

Again, my reason for #1 is what Counselor Beavah and Hizzoner nlds the Judge have told us in the past. It's not that we don't want the Scout to advance. It's that we should not put him in harms way by obtaining knowledge for which we may be subpoenaed and called to testify against him in open court.

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By now I would hope he has spoken to an attorney, whom I would bet has told him in no uncertain term to keep his mouth shut and not talk about what happened.

 

But human beings what they are people have in inate need to talk. You cannot believe when they are standing on the other side of the bench that they spout off about something incriminating and their attorney says SHUT UP! But nope, on they babble some more, some you can't shut up

 

So ask yourself, Why would you want to put possibly put him in a worse situation. The time to ask is when the issue is settled.

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Man, this is a tough one and there is no easy answer.

 

You don't want to look the other way or push aside the seriousnes of what has happened here, but at the same time, you goot a step back and look at yourself first.

 

Before I judge somebody else, I first ask myself: What about me?

 

For example: If I had to judge this scout, I would remember a time when I was 18 years younger than I am now and just started dating my future wife.

 

Where I live, there wasn't a whole lot to do growing up except set a pile of logs on fire, turn up the Hank Jr, drink a beer and holler.

 

And that's exactly what we did. Sometimes, we would go four wheeling in a big ole mud hole too. Sometimes we fought. Sometimes we'd fight with our lady friends, Sometimes we'd make up for fighting with those lady friends.

 

Sometimes, we;'d drive to the store and buy another case or two...or at least the ones who were legal age.

 

So there it is..in black and white: Scoutfish drank alcohol while underage, then drove a motor vehicl in the mud ( and between trees) at night, engages in pre marrital sexual activity and bought beer at the store knowing some of his underage friends just might get a drink or two of that alcohol.

 

Amazingly, I never got caught.

 

Now, I am not proud of it, do not look fondly on it, and sure wish I done things differently back then.

 

BUT...that doesn't change the fact that I did it then. even though I wouldn't think of doing it it now for a split second.

 

Matter of fact, I can count the number of times in the last ten years that I have drank alcohol on one hand......and still have fingers left over.

 

My point is: while not ignoring or blowing off what the scout has done...let's don't forget that - AT THAT AGE ( or close abouts)- We screwed up too. Some of us may have done it occasionally, other more than had their fair share of screwing up.

 

Before you judge that scout based on scout oath, scout spirit, and scout law, look at yourself in the mirror, look at what you have done, should have done, and could have done in the last few years, then decide if he has earned Eagle - but judge him based on the same standards you use to judge yourself and hwat you have done.

 

 

Again, not saying anybody should dismiss his actions away to just being young or dumb, nor should it be waived based on "boys will be boys", Just saying that he is human like the rest of us, and is not perfect..just like the rest of us.

 

We all screw up and do something pretty stupid sometimes.

 

The trick is wether we learn from it and make ourselves better afterward.

 

 

 

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Just saying...look at al the incredibly stupid things you did while younger ..both before and after age 18.

 

Yet, as far as we can tell, you turned out pretty good didn't you?

 

Responcible adults, involved in scout ing and mentoring youth, trying to steer them straight and into a good, respectable wholesome life.

 

Not bad for somebody who was different a long time ago huh?

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As a Scout, there were two brothers, one about a year older, the other about a year younger than I am. For most of the time we were in the troop together their father was out of the picture, he was in prison. He was driving under the influence and was in a serious accident, and at least one of the people in the other vehicle died. He was himself a second generation Eagle and vice principal of a school. Everyone that knew him always said he was a great, stand up sort of fellow. He had no other criminal history, and was considered a model citizen, leader of the community, and model family man up until that night.

 

Eventually he got out, and he was always there to support his sons when he was able. If not for his criminal record he would have been signed on as an assistant scoutmaster, but under the circumstances he just tried to keep a low profile and be a supportive father. So far as I know he is what would appear to be a model citizen to this day, and I think he was deeply aware, and contrite, for what he had done.

 

In any case, his mistake cost someone their life (depriving that person's family of them forever), cost his sons their father for a number of years, ended his career, broke up his marriage, and makes him inelligible to be a Scouter.

 

I for my part think that getting drunk or high are some of the most irresponsible things a person can do, because by doing so you voluntarily give up your ability to engage in right reasoning. By drinking and driving this compounds the mistake, though the getting drunk and being in a position to drive at all was the real mistake, it seems to me.

 

On the other hand, social drinking in moderation is something I think is perfectly fine in the right circumstances. Clearly when you need to be driving without time to work it out of your system is not such a time. The key is moderation and safe conditions. Drinking, by itself, is no sin in my book, but drunkenness most certainly is.

 

We can reasonably guess that this kids driving was showing some sign of imparement or he was doing something suspicious to get pulled over at all. Random stops are rather unusual.

 

In my own state, anyone under 18 with any trace of alcohol in their system is cited for a DUI automatically on the first offense. There is no provision for a warning nor is their any legal limit for those under 18. One beer is a full DUI case in this state for minors, though not for adults.

 

At 16, he shouldn't have been drinking in the first place by the law. I can guess he was not just having a glass of wine at a family dinner party since he was out driving, we can guess he may have been partying with other under-age friends. If he was drinking enough to be seriously impared (and 16 y/o new drivers are near enough to that to begin with) he might as well have been shooting a gun randomly in his neighborhood, because he could have killed someone else or himself. If on the other hand this was one of those rare cases where he showed no signs of impared driving and only a trace amount was detected, then perhaps he wasn't being quite so irresponsible.

 

Chances are this is a pretty good kid, but chances are he is doing more that is irresponsible than what you know. Maybe his parents look the other way, maybe they don't know either, that would be a big concern.

 

By the way, the two scouts I mentioned from my troop, both of them went on to become 3rd generation Eagle Scouts. They turned out OK, but they never got back that lost time with their father, and they had to overcome having a rather difficult childhood.

 

Would I vote yes on an Eagle BOR for the Scout with the DUI? I don't know. I would need to know the circumstances, I would need to know how he reacted, what he thought, etc. I would also be worried he was just telling everyone what they wanted to hear and what he needed to say to get through the system. Maybe, I just might be able to be convinced to vote yes, but it would be an up hill climb, and my predisposition would be toward a "no" vote, he would have to really prove himself and have some great character references to back him.

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