Wednesday, March 07, 2007


In the immediate aftermath of the New Year’s Eve attack on Yale's Baker’s Dozen, the mayor, other officials, and defense attorneys all referred to “underage drinking” as a mitigating factor.

Here’s a quote from an ABC7 interview with Mayor Newsom, early in the investigation:

Why were these kids, they’re all underage, why were they in a home with a lot of liquor, how’d they get the liquor, what the heck were they doing down there…?

I interpret this as a threat to the adults responsible for the party at which one or more of the alleged attackers was an uninvited guest.

For high school and college kids under 21, drinking alcohol is way common, but it's illegal. It is illegal in California for a grownup to supply alcohol to people under 21. Not only is it a criminal offense, but the supplier assumes liability for the subsequent behavior of the underage drinker.

For a bar or liquor store to sell to underage drinkers could also jeopardize their licenses. There is no allegation of any specific act of providing alcohol to minors, but, they got drunk somehow.

The owners of LaRocca’s Corner might be a little nervous.

According to this Chronicle story a recent Sacred Heart High School grad, Rich Aicardi picked at fight at a party and called some friends in to help him finish it.

"After the confrontation on the deck, Aicardi was overheard and acknowledged making a phone call to the other suspects," according to [police inspector]Newman. Aicardi summoned friends from LaRocca's bar in San Francisco, he stated.

If the friends Aicardi summoned from LaRocca’s were also under 21, there might be a problem.

LaRocca’s, a neighborhood institution since 1922, says it’s a place where tourists can rub elbows with natives. LaRocca’s website features the slogan, “Drink With Dignity.”

Yelp has fourteen reviews of LaRocca’s Corner. With one exception the reviews are positive. People interested in the “local high school” aspect of the Baker’s Dozen case should take a look at Yelp.

Two reviews say the bar is hangout for Sacred Heart alumni. Another review mentions a bartender’s discussion of Catholic high schools and Catholic girls.

Two reviews hint at manly fisticuffs. One review implies the bar is friendly to underage drinkers. Altogether, the reviews agree on one great feature , generous cheap drinks.

Earlier reports mentioned one carload of attackers arriving from a “nearby bar.” LaRocca’s is not very nearby the scene of the attack. There may be other bar owners who might be nervous about a thorough investigation.

The arrest of otherwise privileged kids like Aicardi and Dwyer has ripple effects. The locals don’t like any of this one bit. The police don’t care how the kids got the booze, but the plaintiffs’ attorneys might.

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