By Steve Plunkett
A motion to suppress the evidence of an after-homecoming party where high school students drank alcohol led to a judge’s withholding adjudication of the parents who hosted the affair.
The plea deal means Paul and Ingrid Paolino, of the 2800 block of Spanish River Road, will not have a conviction on their records. They paid court costs of $253 each but were given no jail time or fine. Violations of the misdemeanor “open house party” law carry a penalty of up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
The deal was reached May 9, just hours before Paolino attorney Charles Jaffee was scheduled to argue that the evidence should be suppressed because Boca Raton police entered his clients’ property along the Intracoastal Waterway without a warrant.
“The police made an error in judgment in terms of their conduct and that’s what led to the plea offer,” Jaffee said.
In his motion to suppress, Jaffee said police received an anonymous phone call about a fight involving approximately 50 people on Spanish River Road. They rushed to the scene and saw no evidence of a fight; a limo driver told them there had been a disturbance.
Police then moved to the Paolinos’ house, where they saw two girls sitting on chairs behind a gated driveway and a large group of people inside the house looking out, the motion said.
“There is absolutely no evidence of a fight or of an ongoing disturbance,” according to the motion.
Police asked the girls to open the gate, the motion said, but when the girls refused, they jumped the fence.
“When the police were refused entry onto the property, they should have left,” Jaffee said he was ready to argue.
The evidence Jaffee hoped to suppress was “all beer containers and cups containing alcohol, the case of beer, and all other beer cans or bottles of beer, wrist bands, and a keg of beer,” as well as statements Paul Paolino and a party guest made to police, the motion said.
“What am I supposed to do? If they don’t drink here they’ll drink somewhere else,’’ police reported Paul Paolino told them.
Police said the guest told them the beer keg was for anyone who had bought a wrist band at the door and that the Paolinos knew the party attendees were under 21 and drinking alcohol.
Jaffee said his clients considered the plea arrangement “a very fine and good result” to the end of the case.
“I think that the Paolinos understood that they made a mistake, although it’s a difficult situation for parents of high school children,’’ Jaffee said.
He said his clients served as chaperones for Boca Raton High School’s Project Graduation sleepover. Seniors stayed inside the school overnight May 21 to celebrate their milestone without alcohol, Jaffee said.
The Paolinos’ Oct. 17 arrests followed another couple’s the previous weekend at the Sanctuary on the west side of the Intracoastal.
Shlomo and Jeannie Rasabi were cited for open house party violations after Boca Raton police said four charter buses dropped off 600 students from American Heritage School in Plantation.
All appeared to be under 21 and most were holding alcoholic beverages, police said. Four were found unconscious in the yard and taken to Boca Raton Regional Hospital.
Adam Harmelin, the Rasabis’ attorney, said he expects that case to be resolved at a hearing June 20.
The Rasabi family lives in Plantation, Harmelin said.
Shlomo Rasabi manages the home in the gated Sanctuary enclave for a partnership and had permission to have the high school party there, Harmelin