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Judge overturns parents’ conviction for failing to control son

July 17, 1997

ST. CLAIR SHORES, Mich. (AP) _ A judge Wednesday overturned the convictions of a couple who ran afoul of a parental responsibility law after their teen-age son burglarized churches and kept a 4-foot marijuana plant in his bedroom closet.

Judge Lido Bucci ruled that prosecutors did not prove that Susan and Anthony Provenzino failed to seek help for their trouble-prone son Alex, then 17 years old.

The Provenzinos were convicted May 9, 1996, for failing to properly supervise Alex _ who was found responsible for a string of burglaries and a drug offense and ordered to serve one year in juvenile detention.

Stolen property confiscated from Alex’s room included a gun, a knife and a strong box. The dried marijuana plant was found in his closet, and he admitted to stealing $3,500 from a church collection box.

The Provenzinos were ordered to pay $2,200 in fines and court costs.

In his 16-page ruling, Bucci also struck down a part of the parental responsibility statute, saying it was too broad. That section implied that parents were at fault for any offense committed by their child.

``Simply because a minor has committed an offense does not lend itself to a presumption that the parents failed to exercise reasonable control over that minor,″ Bucci wrote.

The Provenzinos said the ruling means they will no longer be ``branded as bad parents.″

``We can assure you that we have exerted all of our efforts, and will continue to do so, in raising our children,″ they said in a statement.

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