Archive for Thursday, June 4, 2009

Restaurant owner takes fake ID case to ‘Judge Judy’

‘She can kind of be intimidating’

Doug Holiday, owner of Bigg’s BBQ, 2429 Iowa, is pictured at his restaurant Wednesday. Recently Holiday was invited to appear on “Judge Judy” to settle a suit with a young man who used a fake ID at his restaurant. The air date of the show is yet to be determined.

Doug Holiday, owner of Bigg’s BBQ, 2429 Iowa, is pictured at his restaurant Wednesday. Recently Holiday was invited to appear on “Judge Judy” to settle a suit with a young man who used a fake ID at his restaurant. The air date of the show is yet to be determined.

June 4, 2009


Local business owner bound for Judge Judy's court

A local restaurant owner is taking his case to an unusual place: Judge Judy's courtroom Enlarge video

Judge Judy

Judge Judy

Lawrence restaurant owner Doug Holiday thinks somebody ought to kick-start the process of changing local laws to more strictly punish minors who use fake IDs to purchase alcohol.

So, he thought, who better to kick-start anything than Judge Judy — the celebrity television jurist who frequently kicks a certain part of the anatomy for a daily television audience of about 10 million.

Holiday, owner of Lawrence’s Bigg’s BBQ, recently taped an episode of the nationally syndicated television show after his business got fined $500 for serving a minor alcohol during the 2008 Final Four.

The 20-year-old used a fake ID to buy the beer.

“None of this made me very happy,” Holiday said.

Holiday became even less happy when he learned that the minor, Charles Miller, ended up having his minor in possession and unlawful use of a driver’s license charges reduced to a public consumption charge as part of a plea agreement in Lawrence Municipal Court.

The minor ended up paying $452 in fines and court fees — or, in other words — about $50 less than what Holiday paid in fines to the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control division.

“I understand my responsibility, and I’m willing to pay my fine,” Holiday said. “But if I’m fined $500, I would feel better if I knew the kid was getting a $1,000 fine.”

So, Holiday took the unusual step of filing a lawsuit in the small claims division of Douglas County District Court. The case sought to recover the $500 from the minor.

About three weeks after the filing, producers with the “Judge Mathis” program contacted Holiday about appearing on that show. Holiday asked his attorney for advice, and was jokingly told to hold out for “Judge Judy.”

Then about one week later, the holdout was over. Representatives of the “Judge Judy” program said they had seen the case as part of their process of scouring small claims courts across the country.

“I basically agreed to do it because I feel like some laws need to be addressed, and this was a way to get some attention for it,” Holiday said.

Holiday can’t talk about the verdict until the show airs. As of yet, an air date hasn’t been set. But Holiday can make a confession in the meantime: He was nervous.

“When I first went in there, I kind of felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest,” Holiday said. “I was nervous, sweaty, the whole works. After all, she can kind of be intimidating.”

Judge Judy — former family court judge Judith Sheindlin — has become known for catch phrases that she says often are meant to serve as punishment themselves. Among those on the hit parade: “beauty fades; dumb is forever”; and “either you’re playing dumb or it is no act.”

Holiday said he interrupted once and ended up on the wrong side of a turn of phrase.

“But I did OK that way,” Holiday said. “I’ve watched enough to know how to stay out of trouble.”

Holiday said he was paid a small appearance fee to be on the show, but said the big perk was free airfare and two nights at a nice downtown Los Angeles hotel. The taping took about 20 minutes, and Holiday said the show’s producers didn’t do much to drum up drama.

“They basically just told us to go out there and tell our story, and remember to raise your hand if you want to speak,” Holiday said.

Attempts to reach the defendant weren’t successful.

Holiday said he hopes his 15 minutes of fame can be turned into an audience with the Lawrence City Commission in the future to talk about minor in possession laws and the use of fake IDs.

“I would like to see some sort of mandatory fine for somebody who uses a false driver’s license,” Holiday said. “Maybe people would think twice before they use a false driver’s license.”

Lawrence Mayor Rob Chestnut said there are sometimes good reasons why Municipal Court prosecutors reduce charges in a case, but he said he does want to study whether the city’s fines for alcohol offenses are sufficient deterrents.

“With some of the alcohol incidents that have happened in the community, it is an important time to have that discussion,” Chestnut said.


Clare Galloway 7 years ago

you the owner should have been more capable of knowing what a fake id is??? i am sure Judge Judy got ya on that one!!!

Nikki May 7 years ago

There is also the fact that by "fake" they may be using a real ID that was a friends. Many people may not look alike that use them, but many do. I know kids that "lose" their license and get the replacement just to give the "lost" one to a friend.

Dec84 7 years ago

When anyone uses a fake ID, they are committing fraud. Fraud is “an act…gesture…anything…that is intended to deceive people”. I think that there should be stricter laws and punishments for offenders. Good move Mr. Holiday.

BrianR 7 years ago

Yes, good fake IDs are out there. I challenge any Alcoholic Beverage Control employee to work for a year in a bar, restaurant, or liquor store, in that time, you will unwittingly serve a minor. Any server who says they've never, ever served a minor is delusional.

usesomesense 7 years ago

Fraud should certainly be more of a crime than not being able to distinguish a real ID from a fake one. Since Kansas ID is not required - only valid ID from any one of 50 states and the quality of counterfieting can make things very difficult it's really questionable if the bar should be fined at all - this should be at the discretion of the arresting officer to evaluate whether it was within reason for the bar to have accepted it.

Not checking ID at all is another story altogether - but that's not what this case is about.

I understand we don't want to ruin young people's lives, but perhaps all would be better served with very stiff fines and a LOT of community service. With budget issues we should be putting these kids to work cleaning up our city.

Ernest Barteldes 7 years ago

What we really need to to is to return minimum drinking age to 18. It is ludicrous that someone can join the army, vote and drive but is legally unable to drink. It is time to do away with this Reagan-era draconian law that doesn't benefit anyone except insurance companies

Eric Neuteboom 7 years ago

Relax Tom, we all know it the liberals or Obama's fault.

gsxr600 7 years ago

What we really need to do is legalize weed. It causes less harm than drinking, you can't overdose on it, blah blah blah. Set fines so you still receive a DUI for driving under the influence of drugs. Same fines as alcohol expenses. If the government legalized it completely and TAXED it to a subsequent amount.... well there's a lot of money to be made, and it makes everyone happy.

mom_of_three 7 years ago

It does seem a little ridiculous that the USER of a fake ID, the one committing fraud received less of a fine than the one who took it. If you punish someone harshly enough for using a fake ID, they probably won't do it again, and neither will their friends.

LadyJ 7 years ago

Way to go Mr. Higgins. Society has taught this generation that it is all about them and what they want, and if other people get hurt along the way, so what. And if they get caught they know the consequences are minor. Unfortunately the DA has encouraged this attitude by dropping cases and giving them a free ride. If they are prosecuted, some Judges let them off or just give them a slap on the wrist. Considering the consequence of underage drinking could be the death or serious injury to other people, we need to discourage it by whatever means possible. What if the underage drinker had latter caused an accident and someone was injured or killed? Could Mr. Higgings have been sued by the victims because his establishment served the driver? The driver could also sue saying the accident would not have happened if they had not served him even though he used a fake ID. Because we all know it's never their fault. Unfortunately you cannot sue someone in small claims court if they cannot be served, and it is quite easy to avoid being served. Hopefully the city will use this chance to send a message or will they continue coddle the college students and once again send them the message that it's all about what they want.

middlemgmt 7 years ago

Bravo! I can't want to see how this turns out. A buisness owner who does not card should be fined and fined hard. However, if someone gives a fake ID, they are committing a crime and the bar owner is a victim. I'm sure the bar owner does not want to sell to minors.

dandelion 7 years ago

ErnestBarteldes (Anonymous) says… What we really need to to is to return minimum drinking age to 18. It is ludicrous that someone can join the army, vote and drive but is legally unable to drink. It is time to do away with this Reagan-era draconian law that doesn't benefit anyone except insurance companies

Unfortunately we have become a society that considers being able to drink as a mark of adulthood, that along with sex and driving a car. Responsibility, legal and otherwise are the mark of adulthood, not drinking, especially binge drinking. That may not have been the case in the restaurant, but if the kid had a fake ID, you can bet he liked to get drunk. It's too bad we don't have some sort of initiation into adulthood that isn't about crazy stuff, like drinking and having sex without commitment.
Also, these laws benefit more than insurance companies. It benefits those young people who are still alive, because they didn't want to break laws or didn't know how to get the stuff illegally. I don't know what value you put on those people's lives, but these laws have saved some lives. Those of the people who drink, and those of the people who weren't innocent victims of a drunk driver.

BigPrune 7 years ago

"Lawrence Mayor Rob Chestnut said there are sometimes good reasons why Municipal Court prosecutors reduce charges in a case, but he said he does want to study whether the city’s fines for alcohol offenses are sufficient deterrents.

“With some of the alcohol incidents that have happened in the community, it is an important time to have that discussion,” Chestnut said."

....In other words, just like everything else enacted by previous commissions, we will follow tradition. We aren't going to do jack s#*t to change anything.

Ernest Barteldes 7 years ago


Parents have to educate their kids about alcohol from an early age. This is one of the few countries in the world that requires people to be 21 before they can legally have a drink - thus all the fake IDs and the problems that they entail.

And countries where the drinking age is 18 don't fare any worse or better than us when it comes to alcohol problems.

Binge drinkers exist at every age - believe me, I have seen many people in their 40s and 50s who are unable to control how much alcohol they ingest. It's not about age - it's about common sense.

tolawdjk 7 years ago

I remember the days back at the Barefoot could always tell when they had just got caught serving minors. One night, no checks, next night, manditory checks of everyone. It was like a revolving carosel when a group of 5-6 would come in, get sent to the bar and immediately turn around out the door.

damn ammusing to watch.

flux 7 years ago

He's 20, hardly a minor. He could of had two terms in Iraq under his belt by now.

dandelion 7 years ago

Letting kids get drunk legally or saving lives? That's your choice. If drinking is so vital to your existence, I think you may need to visit AA.

sturgen 7 years ago

Its about time this has been brought to light. The west side folks sit in their houses and think that underage drinking is the biggest problem in Lawrence. We put too many officers into the bars on weekend nights just to harrass little underage girls and boys to drum up money for the city. You have a parent of a youth who died by acohol poisioning and he wants to sue a resturant. The fake IDs are perfect these days and the only way to tell is to call the dispatch to find out (like the police do) bars have no way to tell if an ID is fake. We have had a serial rapist in this town and if you check the police reports on for the weekend there are multiple break-in's and muggings going on two blocks away from Mass St, but where are the the bars punishing bar owners because of underage drinking. Its just sad that so many people do not see the real issues here in Lawrence and choose to focus on underage drinking. You the parent need to do is not the bar's job to raise your child. It is however the police's job to protect the community and until they are pulled out of the bars and put onto the street to protect and serve than all you will have is city coffers full of the business owners money and tens of people waking up to their broken into homes, cars and empty pockets from being mugged. If the punishment was higher to the students for using the fake ID then the use would go down. Last point what if the police had found a middle eastern man with a fake ID here in town? I can't imagine that person would receive the same treatment as the johnson county 19y/o...he'd likely be in Jail.

kmat 7 years ago

We don't need to lower the drinking age. We need to raise the age to drive, serve in the military, etc... 16 is too young to drive and 18 is way to young to serve in the military. They're still kids.

Lowell Holmes 7 years ago

I agree with Kmat. I am tired of the argument of "if they are old enough to drive and fight the are old enough to drink". Well IMHO they are not old enough to drive or fight or drink until at least 20. I believe we have put way too much emphasis on the right to drink when it should be considered a privilege. Raise the age for everything to 20 or 21!

KURocks 7 years ago

Sturgen: I live on the west side, and can honestly say I have never sat in my house thinking that underage drinking is the biggest problem in Lawrence. What a stupid thing to say!!!.

whatfredsaid 7 years ago

"Raise the age for everything to 20 or 21!"

Heck, while we're at it, let's re-institute prohibition, 'cause that went over well last time...

Shane Garrett 7 years ago

Reagan-era???? Hell, I was 21 when I voted to raise the drinking age from 18 to 21. So was Reagan President 32 years ago??? At the time just wanted more elbow space at Mothers worry.

Ernest Barteldes 7 years ago

Wally: It became a national law during the Reagan years - I think that he signed the measure in 1984. Some more states had been doing that on their own before that.

Dandelion And on drinking being vital -- it isn't. I just believe that the legal drinking age in this country is hypocritical. That's all.

MaryKatesPillStash 7 years ago

I'd like to add that, especially in a college town, it's difficult to be able to spot fake (as in the manufactured kind) IDs. Many students are from out of state, and while many bar/restaurant workers might be adept at identifying what a proper Kansas/Missouri license looks like, there are many times when a different state might throw someone off.

My roommate and I were at Cork and Barrel buying beer once, and she offered to pay. The clerk IDed her, and she handed him her Nevada drivers license. We were both 22, and her license was legit. The clerk got out his book of drivers license pictures, studied her license, and declared that "Nevada is supposed to have a hologram. This is a fake. No beer." She protested, of course, and he got really indignant: "Um, I KNOW what a Nevada drivers license looks like. This is fake."

We were really angry, mainly because of the way the dude treated us, but in hindsight, it's difficult to expect someone who is making barely over minimum wage to be an expert on what drivers licenses from 50 states are supposed to look like, right down to the hologram.

Stuart Evans 7 years ago

ya know.. there are a lot of fake id's out there. and some of them are really quite good. I think it is incumbent upon the bar (owner & staff) to check an id to ensure that it says they are 21. and also to look for obvious things ( white guy with a black females id...etc.), but they cannot expect every 19-20 yr. old beer jockey to spot every fake id. once it was shown that the kid had and used a fake id, this fine for the restaurant should have been tossed out or tacked onto the kids fine.

spburtin 7 years ago

Drinking is about common sense, not age. I drank before I was 21 and so did all of you probably and I never hurt anyone, except my own liver most likely, but that is my choice. Bigs BBQ knew exactly what they were doing and anyone who believes differently is just naive. I see it everytime I go out, some 18 year old kid fresh out of the dentist with their new braces is drinking right next to me. Bar and restaurant owner's make a lot of money off of under-age drinkers, furthermore, the people carding are usually college students as well which means they see the fake and pretend they don't know it's fake. It may have been different in your day, but this is how it is now, as long as there are bars that allow under-age drinkers there will be fake IDs. I could list 10-20 establishments around town that are known to allow fake IDs regularly so stop defending these owner's like they are responsible adults. There are many places that under-age kids won't go because they know they will be turned away which proves that it is still easy to spot a fake. Big's just found a loop hole which allows them to serve to minors and not accept the consequences when the kid gets caught and they have to explain themselves. This guy spun his lawsuit to make a look like it wasn't about money but about the concern for youth...BS, this guy is a joke and you all fell for it.

jumpin_catfish 7 years ago

The problem with drinking is when you drink too much because common sense goes out the window and now you have a person who is impaired mentally and physically. I decided not to drink anymore for a number of reasons and I don't really see the need to do it again. I'm happier, healthier and wealthier without it.

Stuart Evans 7 years ago

spburtin: you know 10 to 20 establishments that allow minors to drink if they have fake id's? How do you know that they just can't spot a fake? I don't know if i could spot a fake and i've been around the block a time or two. I think you're a blowhard, and those are much easier to spot.

notajayhawk 7 years ago

gallo (Anonymous) says…

"you the owner should have been more capable of knowing what a fake id is???"

More capable than who - the guy who was using it?!?!?

sturgen 7 years ago

KU Rocks... I guess that's true. You probabally think that the biggest problem is that you have to drive more than three miles to get your starbucks latte. My Bad.

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