Excerpt One (as seen in the Wall Street Journal)
Excerpt Two (as seen in the AARP Bulletin)
A short excerpt of Leisureville
(as seen in the Grove Atlantic catalogue)
A skinny sixteen-year-old, Chaz Cope moved in with his grandparents in 1996 to escape a physically abusive stepfather. Rather than try to hide him, Chaz's grandparents went to Youngtown officials and asked for an extension of the visitation limit due to extenuating circumstances. They were charged a filing fee and forced to plead their case in front of the town council. A three-month extension was granted, and town officials staked a placard on the family's front lawn informing neighbors that the family was housing a juvenile.
When they went before the council a second time, a second extension was unanimously denied. The council further voted to fine them $100 a day. Chaz was relegated to the status of human contraband. He and his grandparents suffered frequent harassment. A town councilman even circulated a fabricated juvenile court record alleging that Chaz had been charged with possession of marijuana. "My goal was to let people know that this boy wasn't the kind of angel that he was portrayed to be by the press," the councilman later said.