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Sound Off

Sound Off: Naming suspects

I’ve recently seen the Journal-World’s new jail log listing everyone arrested in the county. I thought the Journal-World didn’t name people until they’ve been charged?

Our policy changed in December, and we now name arrested suspects before they’ve been charged because their arrests are part of the public record. We still generally do not name suspects in sex offenses unless they’re convicted. To view our new jail booking log, visit http://bit.ly/TSAEke

Lawrence day care searched in October by police.

— To submit a Sound Off question, send an email to soundoff@ljworld.com or call 832-7297.

Comments

happyrearviewmirror 1 year, 3 months ago

As a victim of a vindictively filed southern-justice legal case in Douglas County that was ultimately dropped after a year of stressful harassment, I have mixed feelings about the LJWorld publishing the names of locally accused people. Obviously, those who are quickest to point fingers and assign blame are often the most guilty ones. Thus, if you are going to publish the names of the accused, it's only fair you broadcast the names of their accusers as well.

Some laws-- such as those covering harassment-- are meant to protect the powerless, not to promote the interests of their masters. It's fairly unlikely that someone is harassing a boss, supervisor, or public official, for instance, and much more likely that a person in charge is simply retaliating or filing peremptory charges to hide their own guilt-- especially when said authority has conveniently robbed an employee of their internal due process rights. In backwoods places like Lawrence big employers like KU sometimes seem to have law enforcement (cops and DA's even judges) in their back pocket.

That said, even though defamation remains one of the most cruelly enjoyed games in town, there exists a slight possibility that publication of arrest records will make the authorities more honest. One reason they behave like they are above the law is that everything is done in secret, and the suspects are muzzled upon threat of ever more dire punishments. Making public information more accessible could help hold questionably competent and honest authorities accountable. Right now, they have established a criminal injustice system, a fiefdom where cops and DA's ( not to mention lawyers) are among the shrewdest and most calculating liars in town.

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RaynRavyn 1 year, 3 months ago

Our local (small town) paper has always published a list of arrests every week (all it is published). They also publish court dispositions, accidents, lawsuits, marriage and divorce filings, register of deeds, and pretty much anything else that is public information. Wrong, right, or otherwise, public record is public, and can be used in a public manner...

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mrchips 1 year, 3 months ago

We all have nosy neighbors and acquaintances who make it their mission to dig dirt, gossip and ruin reputations. Most of these folks claim to be followers of Christ. The LJWorld policy is just another tool that will enable the spread vicious gossip.

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mags_and_k 1 year, 3 months ago

Oh yes, lets publish all names for absolutely everything so they can all be Trials of Public Opinion!!!

Let your boss/family/friends read when you get involved in complete nonsense that you have no control of/over and you carry that stigma around and know once they find out the truth, their opinion hasn't changed. (ya right)

Why is it anyone’s business if we as Americans are innocent until proven guilty to read names and charges before even formal charges are made much less they have had their day in court. Then let’s crucify them online and just assume they will receive a fair trial!!! The American way!!!

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brutus 1 year, 3 months ago

Not everything that is a public record gets published. It just means if you want to go find out you have to be given the information. I don't have a huge problem with publishing arrest records but will there be a story about being found innocent?

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clubber1 1 year, 3 months ago

I completely disagree with LJW's decision to list the names of those arrested. An arrest may be public record but that is completely different from plastering their names and alleged violations in a news paper and drawing attention to it.

People are accused of crimes all of the time and later they are proven innocent. By drawing attention to the fact that they have been accused of a crime is a punishment of it's own. How many times have men been accused of domestic violence by a wife/girlfriend or ex-wife/ex-girlfriend to gain an advatage in a custody hearing? Or as revenge because they caught the man cheating or suspect he has cheated? What about the women who get caught lying about these things? Do they get arrested or prosecuted for filing false police reports? So often, when a woman claims to have been the victim of domestic violence the allegations are untrue and yet the police make an arrest with no evidence other than the woman's word.

Please change your policy back to how it was LJW, it's the right thing to do.

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Leslie Swearingen 1 year, 3 months ago

Keith is right, it is very easy to find this on the Internet. You can only find out about convicted sex offenders in your neighborhood in a lot of places. A friend was shocked when I found his address and phone number on the Net is about ten seconds. People don't seem to realize how much information has been readily available in phone books and the like. This is where sources on the Web gets a lot of its info.

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Steven Gaudreau 1 year, 3 months ago

I think it is slimy and caters to the Jerry Springer crowd.

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mdlund0 1 year, 3 months ago

Good to see that the old "innocent until proven guilty" philosophy is being warmly embraced by whatever stands for the press these days. It's not like having your name plastered all over the local paper in print and online for an arrest is going to impact your life or your peer's perception of you in any negative way. After all, they'll understand that you may not be guilty of anything other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time and, if they don't, you can take solace in knowing that your voice proclaiming innocence will be plenty loud enough to drown out the hushed whispers that surround you. One can only suppose that it is precisely this impact on the lives of the accused that the Urinal World restrains itself from announcing the names of suspects in sex offenses to the world. In a desperate attempt to remain relevant and acquire more revenue, the LJW continues to turn away from conducting actual journalism and runs to the open arms of promoting community gossip. Knowing that this direction is unseemly, the management of the tries to quiet its discomfort and present a somewhat respectable public facade by drawing a line at those supposed sex offenders. The downward spiral nevertheless continues.

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cheeseburger 1 year, 3 months ago

Does the LJW plan to print the arrest log daily or weekly, or haphazardly?

BTW - I'm all for it being done on a regular basis.

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Keith Richards 1 year, 3 months ago

What is the reasoning behind protecting sex offenders from being named?

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julz 1 year, 3 months ago

Where do i find a link to the arrest log? I can't seem to locate it in your menu headings or drop downs.

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