Your Tax Dollars at Work

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."

For the whole story of Sweeney's journey through the valley of debt, read "A Fresh Start," from the May 4 issue. —Alan Prendergast

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun