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

Lawrence day care searched in October by police.

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


julz 5 years, 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.

Shaun Hittle 5 years, 3 months ago

Check here: Just click yes on the disclaimer.

But normally, it's under the "services" tab, jail recap.

Shaun LJW

asixbury 5 years, 3 months ago

If someone is accused but eventually found not guilty, their name and reputation is already destroyed if it is mentioned in the newspapers. Many people will believe they are guilty simply because they were accused.

mdlund0 5 years, 3 months ago

Yes. I, for one, would like an answer. They are all crimes... is it because one has a certain stigma attached that the others don't? Do they not all have some stigma attached? How exactly is this line being drawn where attaching some stigma to an individual is ok but a bit more is not?

asixbury 5 years, 3 months ago

You know, as well as anyone else, that sexual crimes carry a stigma that far outweighs any other crime. Other crimes are forgotten faster, too.

Whodathunk 5 years, 3 months ago

If you really want to know, all you have to do is go to the link provided above and check out the arrest records for that day. They may not name offenders in the paper, but they teach us how to go look at Booking # 13-0206 from Jan-14-2013 for example.

Shaun Hittle 5 years, 3 months ago

Our plan is to put it on the website every Friday. It'll be sent to the top of the story list on our site.

Shaun LJW

mdlund0 5 years, 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.

Keith 5 years, 3 months ago

It's a public record. It has always been a public record. Is your complaint that the information is being widely disseminated?

mdlund0 5 years, 3 months ago

My complaint is not about information being widely disseminated, it is about the fact that the information to be widely disseminated is being cherry-picked for its sensationalism rather than its inherent value and that the motives behind the entire thing are unsavory and quite contrary to good journalism.

Keith 5 years, 3 months ago

The Journal World also prints weekly a list of marriages, divorces and bankruptcies. How do you feel about that information being spread through a newspaper?

mdlund0 5 years, 3 months ago

Equally unimpressed, with the possible exception being that of marriages, since people involved in such activities are willing participants who often solicit media outlets to make their activities publicly known.

Keith 5 years, 3 months ago

They probably shouldn't print any accident info or fire calls too, that's more info the public doesn't need to know.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 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.

clubber1 5 years, 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.

gatekeeper 5 years, 3 months ago

Totally agree. If they want to print a list of convictions, that would be better (although not needed).

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 3 months ago

I find it very interesting that with your user name you are complaining about men being unjustly accused of violence. I really don't see women as a group as using lies such as the ones you wrote about to get revenge. However, crimes such as these must be prosecuted. I know that at SRS they have pictures of men who are deadbeat dads. What is the difference?

clubber1 5 years, 3 months ago

Ohhh Frankie8, I wonder what that screan name references. Why is my user name a concern to you? Instead of realizing it is a reference to a movie character, your first reaction is associate it with domestic violence? You are a special kind of stupid aren't you?

My domestic violence reference in my original post was an example, but by no means the only crime that gets falsley reported. Besides, women commit domestic violence as well, and there are deadbeat mothers too. Please don't make this a gender issue. You need to cease your war against men.

Women make false allegations all of the time and there is a huge murder trial going on right now in Arizona in which a woman brutally stabbed her boyfriend and killed him, so women are capable of much worse things than filing false reports!

You don't seem to be a very rational person Frankie8, you probably think the boyfriend did something to deserve being murdered. I ask you again to stop your war against men and join with me in asking LJW to stop printing the name of people arrested until they have been convicted.

brutus 5 years, 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?

Maggie Morrissey 5 years, 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!!!

RaynRavyn 5 years, 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...

happyrearviewmirror 5 years, 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.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.