In my city, at a few convenience stores, they sell a little newspaper for $1 called "Bu$ted". The entire thing is just full of mugshots of people who have recently got busted in Portland (well, Multnomah county), for everything from assault to heroin possession to murder. It lists everything that is in the public domain for people to know - their mugshot, their name and their charges. Sometimes when I buy some smokes, I'll buy a copy of it for shits and giggles, and look for somebody I know..
Recently I bought a copy and it ended up in the bathroom. My mom found it and got extremely angry reading it. She thought it was nobody's business and that the only reason it existed was for voyeuristic nosebodies and that it could possibly ruin their lives. She said even though it's in the public domain, it doesn't need to be made into a magazine, if you need that info that bad go to the police station and request it.
So what do you think? Do you think it's worth their dignity for a few chuckles? Or should stuff like that never be published? I'm just curious on other people's take on stuff like that.
In nearly all USA jurisdictions once a person makes the first court appearance or arraignment, all the information on the case becomes a public record. Often newspapers, radio, TV and websites report arrests before the local prosecutor even decides to take the case to court or there is an arraignment.
Some feel it is tough luck for those arrested but not yet convicted. In the event they are eventually found Not Guilty they have the option of filing suit based on false arrest. Hardly ever are such suits successful.
Now I wouldn't consider myself to be the 'criminal' sort of type, and I wouldn't under any circumstances defend a druggie, but let me say something.
First off, if you do know my story of my arrest, then you're more informed and apt to understand this than most.
A short summary is, "I used to live with an abusive mother that would use the cops (as she and her b/f were friends with the particular cop that coincidentally always dealt with my cases) as a way of punishing me, that normal parents would just use grounding for." I have never been arrested before. I have had detention once in my entire high school stay. (I'm graduated now.)
She ended up calling the cops on me, claiming that I 'shoved her boyfriend' and 'stole her phone'. What happened was, me and him were arguing. He grabbed the house phone to call the cops. I said something to the effect of "Fuck this this is the last straw. I'm calling them myself." I tried to grab the phone, got grabbed by my arm, and whipped into a door, through the door (broke the frame where it stays shut), and into a plastic box. He calls the cops, and I was charged with "assualt in the second degree" because I allegedly "shoved him". Now, he's 35, and I'm 17. I'm pretty weak, doubt I could beat up anyone, much less "assault" him. And to make matters worse, when I told the cop about what HE did, the cop says something to the effect of "Shut up, I can charge you with larceny! I don't wanna hear shit out of you. You tried to steal their phone, that's larceny right there. Lucky I don't charge you for that. You don't touch their stuff."
Pure irony. The fact that I somehow lived in that house, but am not allowed to touch anything. At any rate, I was [obviously] still a minor. The cop's going on and on about how I'll get to be in the paper! And the radio! He made sure to get the news that I was arrested out to some news radio station and the paper, before the judge could declare that I was [as obvious as this is] still a minor, and therefore shouldn't be in the paper, and radio, and all that sort, about my case, and it was to remain 'sealed' and confidential. I think that wasn't legal of the cop to do, personally. Either way, he did it. I got shit from everyone in school for it. I got called 'criminal' by the 'good crowd' and 'badass wannabe' by the 'bad crowd'. Either way, it was awful. And to make matters worse, I did no actual shoving, and the charge was for me supposedly shoving my mom's boyfriend. They reported it as a "physical altercation" against my MOTHER. So everyone thinks I fought my mother, when I didn't do anything. So anyways, I went to court, got a public defender that didn't show up to talk to me 2 times, and was late on the actual court date. She told me I WAS pleading guilty, and that was that. So now I have a crime against me, and for something I didn't do. And it was declared I shouldn't have been in all the media I was, even on the FUCKING INTERNET, but it didn't matter; it was there.
And you know what? I could have just as easily ended up in one of these magazines holding a number next to a rapist, or murderer, or drug dealer. I don't think that would have been so cool, or deserved. That is my argument.
You can accept it or leave it, but either way, that's the way I look at it. I do like to see drug dealers get the worst treatment possible, but still. No.
Then again, it's America. If you like that kinda shit, and if it sells, I guess it's gonna be, and we gotta accept it. So it's there, and it won't go away, because some people don't like it. Enjoy.
While I certainly agree that criminal proceedings should be public (if you broke society's rules, society has a right to know about it), but I strongly disagree with using people's data for other people's voyeuristic pleasure. If you have any business knowing about people's previous convictions, like banks wanting to know if their potential tellers have been found guilty of robbery or any such crimes, then I'm all for it. But publishing people's names because they stole a candy bar in a store so everyone can point and laugh at them? No!
While they may be convicted criminals, they still have human rights! They have the right not to be laughed at like you and me, and I believe we should respect that. The criminals have already paid their debt to society with their fine or jail time, so there's no need to make things harder for them. The justice system's job is to punish criminals, to deter any potential criminals from going through with their plans, but also to rehabilitate the criminals if there's a chance that they can be converted back to the proper path. Having your name and mug shot in some paper like that, definitely screws with the idea of rehab.
In other words: It's not fair, and I wouldn't support it. Besides, it'd be illegal here. Criminals' faces must not be shown in public - no cameras in courtrooms etc.
Adaffme, according to your profile you are 17 currently. Therefore in most USA jurisdictions you are still a minor. Almost always the names of juveniles who are arrested are not published unless and until a judge rules the young criminal defendant will be charged and tried as an adult. Even then many responsible news organizations do not show these names.
Peachy, the laws and traditions of the USA differ in significant ways from most jurisdictions in Europe and even the UK. The UK has important restrictions on the news coverage of criminal cases until a verdict is reached. In the USA in some circumstances a judge can issue a "gag" order prohibiting parties to a case from commenting.
My law firm only practices corporate civil law. Currently I am the lead litigation attorney on a fairly high-profile corporate dispute. For me it is rare to actually have even one news reporter in the courtroom. Also this is the first case I have litigated this year when most days we had a few spectators in the room who were not law students or relatives of the witness at the time. USA law provides for public trials, so it becomes a very special circumstance should the court be closed to the public. Here in California that usually is because of a "Marsden" hearing, in which one party (usually a criminal defendant) has a dispute with a defense attorney. Even the prosecution is excluded during Marsden.
One good thing about the paper is it seems that it doesn't publish "petty" crimes. For instance, I don't see anybody in it that has a crime like "Marijuana Possession" under them. They are mostly crimes like sex abuse, rape, strangulation, murder, burglary, serious drug offenses (delivering heroin and manufactoring meth are common). So they are at least picky about what they chose to print.
Does that make a difference in your opinion of that information being published?
I've seen that mag... pretty funny. I don't think it's worth my money though.
Honestly all the information is public domain... you can go to your local police office's website and search their entire database. This just makes it available to people who have better things to do. It's just like any other supermarket tabloid... exploiting people for a buck. You don't want your face pasted all over... don't do the crime.