How long should a ten-year-old pay for his sins? Local musician Shea Sweeney, 25, thought he was finally out from under $90,000 in debt he piled up in 1991 as a result of a childhood encounter with a box of matches. This past spring, a panel of federal bankruptcy judges ruled that he could discharge the debt in a Chapter 13 filing.
But Colorado Attorney General John Suthers is appealing the decision, apparently concerned about the implications of letting anybody off the hook, ever, for a juvenile conviction. "The ruling is a precedent, no question about it," says Ray Solot, Sweeney's attorney. "But it seems to me that Suthers would have something better to do."
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For the whole story of Sweeney's journey through the valley of debt, read "A Fresh Start," from the May 4 issue. —Alan Prendergast