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Faneuil Hall, South Bay, North End restaurants apologize after getting caught serving minors

Det. Eddie Hernandez with fake Massachusetts licenses from Applebee's

Det. Eddie Hernandez holds up fake Mass. licenses from South Bay Applebee's

A state-of-the-art license scanner designed to ferret out increasingly sophisticated fake IDs won't work when a waitress lets her underage friends drink up, a manager at Mija in Faneuil Hall Marketplace acknowledged today.

Mija, along with the Applebee's in the South Bay Mall and Lucca on Hanover Street in the North End, faced a hearing before the Boston Licensing Board on incidents in July in which Boston Police licensing detectives found people under 21 drinking alcoholic beverages - three young women at Mija, three young men at the Applebee's and a mixed group of five at Lucca.

Managers at all three restaurants apologized. The board decides Thursday whether any punishment is warranted.

Mija had purchased a license scanner, which can often pick out fake licenses and IDs - at the advice of licensing detectives. But on July 4, Det. Eddie Hernandez testified, on a surprise inspection, he found three young looking women with mixed drinks at a table on the outside patio. When he asked them if they were over 21, they all said no and handed over fake Massachusetts licenses with their photos but dates of birth that showed they were over 21.

Mija manager Charlie Larner said the restaurant was using its scanning software that night, but that the server later acknowledged she was friends with the women, knew they were under 21 and let them order drinks anyway.

"The server said she used it," but later acknowledged she had not, he said, adding that once the truth came out, the restaurant fired her. He apologized profusely, said the restaurant takes full responsibility and that the incident should never have happened. He added that ID checking has been working: "As slow as Faneuil Hall has been, we have confiscated numerous [fake] IDs."

He added the server now recognizes the error of her ways and had told him he would write her own letter of apology to the board.

At Applebee's and Lucca, the issue, managers said, was that fake IDs have gotten so good they are difficult to catch.

On July 13, detectives entered the Applebee's and found three young men with mixed drinks and beers. As with the women at Mija, they immediately admitted they were not 21 and handed over their fake Massachusetts licenses.

"We certainly apologize that this did happen," an Applebee's manager said.

On July 21, Sgt. Det. Robert Gallagher said, a similar snap inspection found five people at Lucca, all 20 and all with fake licenses, from Massachusetts, Connecticut and Florida. "They looked really good to me," the waiter who served them told the board. Lucca also apologized and said it has bought a scanner.

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Comments

Not that it is ok to serve minors when it is super busy but you can almost understand how a 20 year old could slip in on a Friday night during normal times. These days seating is so limited and staff is supposed to be so careful anyway, it seems especially negligent to not be able to ferret out the underage drinkers when you can only seat X number of people anyway.

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Voting closed 24

It's much cheaper and you know the people you're hanging with.

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Voting closed 19

I know the drinking age is 21, but it always just seems silly how much time and effort we spend enforcing this.

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Voting closed 67

It distracts from what is done in non-US, non Islamic areas of the world: strict enforcement of any and all impaired driving.

Much easier to obsess over young adult drinking than to address drunk driving. Why? Because that would mean giving up the scapegoat in favor of addressing the biggest hazard - and bringing the hammer down on all adults driving cars while impaired, including state senators, AGs, and long term habitual bad drivers.

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Voting closed 63

Boston has a crew of cops whose sole duty is to look for alcohol violations by restaurants. They act like thugs, barging into locations during busy times and demanding to see the restaurants paperwork and carding anyone who looks too young. I've seen them arrive and it feels like a mob shakedown.

Meanwhile, does BPD have a DUI crew where the sole job is to catch drunk drivers night after night? And does the DA have a DUI unit which prides themselves on convictions? Nope to both.

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Voting closed 38

I agree about the fixation about young people drinking being useless. Young people drink, often to excess because of the way we treat alcohol as a society. If a 16 or 17 year old has a few beers and gets drunk, who cares? I'd rather them learn that lesson at home or at a friends house then learning in a basement in Allston surrounded by strangers.

So, sure stepping up DUI enforcement is fine, but how about we make sure the T runs as late as the bars are open? How about we change our drinking culture so that we don't decide that at 21, magically, everyone is mature enough to handle drinking without ever having done it before.

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Voting closed 7

What this is about is strong consequences that rapidly escalate.

If you have more than one drink before driving in any number of European countries, you can be arrested and lose your license for even a first offense.

None of this "well, he could still walk sort of and only killed a dog so let's not be rash" nonsense. Drive drunk 1 - suspension. Drive drunk 2 - permanent license loss. Drive again? Jail.

And, yes, the T should run later and we need more public transport. Agree with that. But if the real problem is drinking and driving, and we want to control the drinking side, we need to ban booze for anyone over age 60, too. If that doesn't make sense, then the driving side needs more sanction.

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Voting closed 4

a pack of cigarettes..

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Voting closed 14

cigarettes smuggled in from outside the state even! GASP! The horror....

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Voting closed 13

But keep the restaurant police, the trash police, the mask police the kitchen police, the beach police, the hotel police.

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Voting closed 14

Has exactly three officers: A lieutenant and two detectives. BPD has roughly 2,000 officers in total.

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Voting closed 12

The City of Boston purchased Golgotha today in order to kill some restaurant owners by crucifying them further.

"We really need to push the restaurant and hospitality industry to the brink" said one city official off the record.

The families of some bar owners who have been ruined looked on with apprehension as they knew that in a sluggish economy for urban restaurants that cracking down on 20 years olds having a beer while people are doing incredible amounts of heroin only steps from the South Bay Appelbees was best for the area's health.

"We feel that the people doing heroin on the street are harder to prosecute than people who technically under pro-life culture were already 21 and therefore legal to drink" said one unnamed church going licensing board member. They added "This low hanging fruit makes us look good in our own eyes. That stopping the shooting and stuff is really hard, this is easier."

City officials are hoping to kill off a number of establishments and make Boston more like suburban Cleveland so tourists coming in from the Midwest feel even more at home if they venture outside of Quincy Market.

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Voting closed 54

One of the byproducts of telling telling an entire industry...

“lol we’ll let you purchase propane heaters that you have to refill every day but other than that I hope take out works for you; your on your own!”

...is that the businesses - and the virtually-unpaid workers who only get money if there are customers - are going to bend, break, and shatter any rule they believe they can get away with for a few extra bucks in revenue and tips.

Example: I was at a local watering hole, outside during this past chilly Sunday afternoon. I ordered food, not because I wanted to eat the awful grub at this place, but because current licensing requires food with a bottle of beer. Did anyone who sat after me order food? No.

Not only that, patrons aren’t allowed to have 2 drinks at a time, but individuals were ordering buckets of 6 beers with no one else at the table. AND these beers were served unopened which is a no-no. Bottled/canned beer must be served open so that the patrons don’t leave the premises with unconsumed drinks.

All of these actions jeopardize the establishment’s license. The server incurs liability, too, should the worst happen.

But it’s not hard to empathize with the “who gives a f***” attitude of restaurants and staff when they are merely reflecting back the attitude of the government when it comes to actually lifting a finger to help. I’m not saying this rule breaking is right, but it’s hard to expect different given the stress these businesses are under.

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Voting closed 53

What part of "defund the police" wasn't clear?

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Voting closed 14

Remove the licensing team, and bars will stay open super late. Then people (voters) will complain, and then guess who gets rehired to enforce?

I have NO PROBLEM if someone replaces the BPD licensing team with some civil equivalent, but what are the chances that is cheaper?

I also have no problem removing a lot of our silly regulations in places like the Seaport, but if neighbors live upstairs or next door, they have reasons to want some order.

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Voting closed 8

Remove the licensing team, and bars will stay open super late.

Bull. We'd have that now if the demand was actually there for it. See also, MBTA, Night Owl

but if neighbors live upstairs or next door, they have reasons to want some order.

Depends on who was there first. That's with whom I side.

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Voting closed 5

So you are allowed to infringe on someone else's private property if you live nearby and were there first? Let's have your neighbors keep you up all night. Apparently you'd be really cool with it.

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Voting closed 8

I sought out and inhabit a block where people aren't inclined to and don't do that.

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Voting closed 17

I asked if you are allowed to infringe on someone's private property if they were there first, you dodged that question.

Also, if a person on your block started randomly jamming on airhorns right in your window all night, it's fine if they were there first?

The resturant sought out a location with noise ordinances that were in place first. Maybe they should opt to not open in those locations?

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Voting closed 8

without the aid of alcohol, regardless of age?

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Voting closed 45

Eatin’ good in the neighborhood!

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Voting closed 12

on a surprise inspection, he found three young looking women with mixed drinks at a table on the outside patio. When he asked them if they were over 21, they all said no and handed over fake Massachusetts licenses with their photos but dates of birth that showed they were over 21.

If you're sitting in a restuaurant, and a BPD officer asks you whether you're 21, are you legally required to answer and present ID?

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Voting closed 9

Short answer.

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Voting closed 26

You have a legal cite to back that up?

You're not required to say anything to the police. Possession of alcohol is not probable cause or even reasonable articulable suspicion (Terry v. Ohio standard) of a crime. Massachusetts even has an explicit SJC decision that says you're not required to identify yourself to police on request, unlike many states. The one exception to any of this is when you're operating a motor vehicle, where "implied consent" laws regarding presenting license and registration kick in (but still, not in answering questions).

The proper answer from these people being suddenly accosted by the inspector goon was, "Am I free to go?" or "Am I being detained?" and nothing else. If the answer to that question was that one is not free to go, then explain you have nothing further to say without an attorney present.

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Voting closed 2

You can't possess alcohol as a minor unless you are at home with your parents or transporting it as part of your work (two things that can be figured out in a bar/resturant). Terry vs. Ohio is about frisking, not searching and there are several cases where bars are required to ID those who are underage. And possession of alcohol when you are under 21 would be cause to arrest, (if you look like you may be under 21). You don't have to give an ID ever, even when driving if you have a valid license ($35 dollar fine is all if you don't and you have an actual license). You also have an additional crime of procuring alcohol at the bar/restaurant which would require an ID if you appear under age.

§ 34B exempts owners or employees from liability
for service to a minor - provided that they reasonably relied upon an accepted form of
identification. ID must be checked on the day of service, even if the licensee has checked
the individual's ID previously. Howard Johnson Co. v. ABCC, 24 Mass. App. Ct. 287 (1987)
(if bar had re-checked minors, they would not have been served that day because they had
destroyed their false ID earlier).

Any person in a licensed premises shall, upon request of an agent of the commission or the local licensing authorities, state his name, age, and address. Whoever, upon such request, refuses to state his name, age or address, or states a false name, age, or address, including a name or address which is not his name or address in ordinary use, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars.

So there is the chapter and section which says if you refuse to talk, you get arrested.

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Voting closed 8

Why? There’s no requirement to carry ID in this country. Even if you’re drinking, the only requirement is to be 21, and neither you nor the establishment is breaking the law if you drink without ID.

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Voting closed 2

uhhh, citation please?

Mass isn't listed among Stop and Identify states. Naturally, if the police have reasonable expectation that a crime was committed, then they have some authority. But if their suspicion is merely that you "look young", and when asked to show ID by BPD, you decline asserting your 4th/5th/14th Amendment rights, then what happens? The police might be empowered to order the restaurant to stop serving you, or make you leave (which a bar would happily let you do, if it means they don't get hauled before the Licensing Board). But can you be arrested for refusal to show ID?

I gotta think these boundaries have been hammered out over time. How does it all work?

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Voting closed 11

The Long answer is you don't need an ID or show one, but like many status crimes you need to show an ID for various offenses (driving, possessing a firearm, showing an ID to a bar). You do need to give police your name, age, address. The police can use that information to look at your photo in the registry/MA ID, and then see if it looks like you. 99% of these cases are in bars and restaurants which are required to ID you so they are the ones on the hook.

I mean what happens when a 19 year old who looks 20 has a beer in public and the police stop them and give you a fake name of someone over 21? That is where case law comes in. I'm not up on AABC regulations but I've never seen anyone argue in court using the "I'm not required to have an ID defense"

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Voting closed 9

How can a restaurant, or especially a liquor store, card someone properly if they're wearing a mask?

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Voting closed 12

As long as the photo ID also has a mask, it’s a match.

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Voting closed 9