How did Arthur Radley get in trouble with the law?

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mrshh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Few people in Maycomb could remember exactly what happened to Boo Radley many years before. There were many rumors about him. One rumor explained what changed him and caused him to stay locked inside his house for years. As a teenager, Arthur "Boo" Radley "became acquainted with some of the Cunninghams from Old Sarum" (Chapter 1). It was a group of local teenage boys. The Cunningham boys were considered "the wrong crowd" with which to spend time. Boo went around town with them without his father's knowledge. No one in town told Boo's father, Mr. Radley, what his son was doing.  

One evening, Boo and the Cunningham boys got into more trouble than normal. They went out in Maycomb and performed a series of misdeeds. Boo and the other young men "backed around the square in a borrowed flivver, resisted arrest by Maycomb's ancient beadle, Mr. Conner, and locked him in the courthouse outhouse." This caused the teenage boys to be brought to court. They faced a variety of charges: "disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, assault and battery, and using abusive and profane language in the presence and hearing of a female."

Mr. Radley was ashamed of his son's behavior and did not want him to face the same consequences as the other boys. He promised the judge that he would personally look closely after his son. He made sure Boo never got into trouble again.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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