Five criminals at the Idaho Kuna jail are filing suit against eight alcohol manufacturers including Anheuser-Busch, Miller Brewing Company, Ernest and Julio Gallo Winery and Jim Beam Whiskey's American Brands because they claim the wine and beer were responsible for their crimes. They want a collective $1 billion because the companies failed to warn consumers of how addictive alcohol is. According to Keith Allen Brown, 52, who is serving 15 years for shooting and killing a man in Priest Lake, Idaho, five years ago:
... his problems started long before that, when he was just a boy and tasted alcohol for the first time.
He should sue his parents for either letting him drink at such a young age, or for failing to get him help.
Brown and the others who are suing- Cory Alan Baugh, Woodrow John Grant, Steven Todd Thompson and Jeremy Joseph Brown- have no lawyers, so they filed their own lawsuit with statements indicating how alcohol has adversely affected their lives.
Brown, who pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in Bonner County in 2010 after fleeing to Florida, said he’s spent nearly 30 years in prison.
“I have spent a great deal of that time in prison because of situations that have arose because of people being drunk, or because of situations in which alcohol played a major role,” Brown wrote. “At no time in my life, prior to me becoming an alcoholic, was I ever informed that alcohol was habit forming and addictive.”
As for the others:
Jeremy Brown, 34, is serving a 20- to 30-year sentence for a 2001 shooting in Latah County that seriously injured a man. He said that he was drunk at the time and that if he’d not been an alcoholic, “the shooting would never happened.”
He said he never would have started drinking if he knew it was habit forming.
“I honestly do not think that anyone who is young and who is planning a future, if they knew that alcohol was addictive and habit-forming, would ever drink alcohol beverages,” Brown wrote. “Not one day goes by that I do not crave alcohol. I dream about drinking alcohol, I sit around and crave alcohol.”
Baugh, 34, is serving a 3- to 7-year sentence for grand theft and drug convictions in Ada and Benewah counties. Thompson, 44, has about three more years to serve for drug and grand theft convictions in Twin Falls County. Grant, 27, is serving 1 to 7 years for drug and aggravated battery convictions in Bannock County. Their stories are similar.
“I fear the day I am released from prison,” Grant said. “I do not know if I can be a productive member of society and still control the desires and craving to use alcohol.”
This isn't the first time alcoholic beverage companies have been sued. The Oglala Sioux Indians in South Dakota sued several companies along with a local store for:
contributing to rampant alcoholism on the reservation by disregarding the tribe’s no-alcohol policy.
The case was dismissed by U.S. District Judge John Gerrard.
The companies named in the inmate lawsuit have not responded yet.