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Drunk Driver Mugshots Featured On Facebook 321

Posted by Soulskill
from the catching-you-at-your-best dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Get yourself a DUI and your mugshot may get some exposure on Facebook. That is, if you get caught in New Jersey by Evesham Township's police, which have begun posting mugshots of arrested people, convicted or not, on its Facebook page. Now, we know that if you get arrested, your privacy is pretty much limited to the brand of your underpants, but the local police department has started a controversy and may find itself in hot water. How much value does a public mugshot on Facebook have to the public? What privacy rights do you have if you get arrested?"
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Drunk Driver Mugshots Featured On Facebook

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  • by hypergreatthing (254983) on Friday August 13, 2010 @09:22AM (#33239124)

    and may find itself with a lawsuit for millions which tax payers will have to pay up while the police department will suffer no ill effects.

    Fixed.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Shakrai (717556) *

      and may find itself with a lawsuit for millions which tax payers will have to pay up while the police department will suffer no ill effects.

      That's silly. Have you ever worked with a small municipal Government? They aren't the Feds or State -- they can't print/borrow massive amounts of money. A large legal settlement would most definitely be felt by the police and all other municipal departments.

      Of course, I'm not sure what grounds these people would have to sue. When I got arrested my name and street address were featured in the police blotter. Paper never bothered to do a story when the Grand Jury refused to indict me though. That's lif

      • by fyngyrz (762201) on Friday August 13, 2010 @09:48AM (#33239844) Homepage Journal

        As part of the "save the children" panic, the supreme court has already decided [cornell.edu] that such listings "aren't punishment", which is why they say they can be applied retroactively, after conviction. Without the (ridiculous, sophist) determination that such listings do no harm in and of themselves, the ex post facto prohibitions would come into play (as they actually should, of course.)

        Consequently, I doubt that any listing of arrest subjects will be determined to be damaging or harmful, or that they require a conviction.

        Shaming - permanent and otherwise - is part of America's new commitment to retribution over rehabilitation, and its support for the creation of a permanent rock-bottom lower class. The public is all for it; they love the drama and the fuckarosis that it all engenders, and it is a very rare citizen indeed that has any concept of how and why these things are wrong.

        • by HungryHobo (1314109) on Friday August 13, 2010 @09:59AM (#33240074)

          I'm just surprised that they can list you before you're actually convicted.
          If you suffer negative consequences, say you get fired from a job as a bus driver or something after your boss sees the accusation and you are later found innocent how do you not have the right to sue for lost earnings etc?

          • Surpised? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by fyngyrz (762201) on Friday August 13, 2010 @10:20AM (#33240502) Homepage Journal

            I'm just surprised that they can list you before you're actually convicted.

            Why? The American public has allowed all manner of listings without any conviction, police or judicial action.

            Just offhand: No-fly lists; No-buy lists; Gun owner lists; "offender" lists; land owner lists; boat owner lists; etc.

            Unfortunately, the average citizen fails to anticipate what one seemingly harmless or seemingly desirable invasion of privacy means in terms of enabling behavior when an obviously harmful one comes around.

          • by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Friday August 13, 2010 @10:57AM (#33241212)

            Personally that's the ONLY way they should do it.

            For arrests, just release statistics.
            "This weekend we arrested 5 people on DUI. 1 Burglary. 1 Indecent exposure."

            Only AFTER someone has been convicted in the court of law should their names be released. Release their names, photos who cares.

            I remember there were some people up in arms that Spain refused to release the names of the guys that were accused of running a bot net. [cnet.com] I'd love to see a sane law in the United States, but I'm not going to wait on it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Brad Eleven (165911)
          The new meaning of justice is revealed. It's "revenge," aka "closure."
      • by gandhi_2 (1108023)

        And all the federal bailouts of city and county governments?

    • by alexo (9335)

      and may find itself with a lawsuit for millions which tax payers will have to pay up while the police department will suffer no ill effects.
      Fixed.

      Can't you sue the involved policemen directly?
      After all, this is not a part of their official duties.

    • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Friday August 13, 2010 @09:34AM (#33239474)

      Because FaceBook has such incredibly great security there is no way this could ever be abused by a bored high school kid who decided to post pictures of his teachers there.

      Absolutely no possible way this could ever be abused. None whatsoever. Therefore, this is a great idea.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I'm sure defence lawyers are just squeeing right now, this is perfict misstrial fodder / cause for dissmissing jurors.

    • by zero_out (1705074)
      When a relative of mine was arrested for DUI, their name was printed in the newspaper. That's how their mother found out. I don't know what was worse for them; the 6-month suspension of their license, following their conviction, when their job required driving 100% of the time, or the shame of their mother knowing they were arrested (prior to the conviction), because some newspaper printed it.
    • by gandhi_2 (1108023)

      plenty of police departments do this. at least facebook saves the taxpayer on hosting.

      https://news.washeriff.net/bookings/ [washeriff.net]

      • by Nadaka (224565)

        Hell, my mugshot is on the internet because I had a valid out of state ID instead of a local one and unconstitutionally failed a "papers please" check that resulted in my arrest. Fortunately the judge was somewhat less of a fascist pig and threw out all charges even before I was bussed over to the courthouse. My mugshot is still up there. Its just another part of living without liberty in a police state.

    • by cosm (1072588) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (3msoceht)> on Friday August 13, 2010 @10:25AM (#33240632)

      What privacy rights do you have if you get arrested?"

      Not many. I work in public safety in the Southeastern United states. In most jurisdictions, when you are detained, your charge details and mugshots are public record. We even have a local paper that publishes HUNDREDS of mugshots every single week. It is completely legal, albeit frowned upon, but completely legal. If you went to your county courthouse and asked for a mugshot of some shmoe you saw in the public records page of your gazette, they would be obliged to give it to you.

      Don't believe me? Go to Myrtle Beach SC, and at every gas station is a copy of Just Busted [google.com].

      This is not new. Electronic mugshots are not new either, many counties host pages that offer up all of their current inmate data. [washington.ar.us]

      We actually deal with news agencies who get mad because we don't help provide enough data. The news sites eat this junk up. They want it in the most easily consumable format possible, and want a copypasta job so they can just put our data straight into their paper.

      Also, mugshots and inmate data online is not a new thing. Check out VINE [vinelink.com], you can find out when they are released and even be notified by cell phone.

      This is a non-story. This is a public safety agency using a new medium, and so it is "scandalous". Same dog, new tricks folks. Check your local laws, hell call your courthouse, you have less "privacy" than you think. Much less.

      • by StikyPad (445176) on Friday August 13, 2010 @11:01AM (#33241284) Homepage

        Unfortunately, the alternative to public arrest records is much worse: secret arrest records. Do we really want to go down that road?

        • by Kjella (173770) on Saturday August 14, 2010 @08:20AM (#33250274) Homepage

          Wow, talk about a false dichotomy. Nobody here in Norway will publish my name if I get arrested (except in some few exceptional circumstances) but there's nothing like a secret arrest. I can still contact the media, or have my lawyer contact the media. I can waiver the confidentiality requirements of the police. This is the same as if e.g. I wanted to run a story on my medical condition, they could interview my doctor if I waiver the confidentiality on my journal. A secret arrest would imply the police could prevent me from telling anyone that I am arrested, or to not acknowledge that I've been arrested.

          Hell, around here I can't even get a copy of my criminal record without reason. Employers in general can't ask for one, and even when they're legally required to then only for relevant crimes. So for example I might have to get one to become a school teacher, but it'll say nothing about any tax dodging. Only if I have committed crimes against children that'd make me unfit to be a teacher. Only applying for the police or security clearance in the military will bring out your full record. You make it sound like we'd be some Kafka-esque country with secret trails and all that but we're not. There's more choices than that and public scapegoating the way the US does.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mmaniaci (1200061)
        So why should we should sit back and let this blow over us? I get really pissed off by people like you who just accept the status quo and figure some things will never change. Somehow I'm not surprised though; after all you do work for the prison-industrial compl... uh, I mean the public safety system.

        This is a non-story. This is a public safety agency using a new medium, and so it is "scandalous". Same dog, new tricks folks.

        But yet here it is, on the front of slashdot with a very active comment thread, and it *IS* scandalous. Why just DUIs? Why Facebook, not their own website? Are they trying to profit off of this service? Was go

  • by AndyAndyAndyAndy (967043) <afacini.gmail@com> on Friday August 13, 2010 @09:22AM (#33239136)
    Newsday [newsday.com] has been publishing DUI arrestees' mugshots on their website for at least the last few years.
    • by IBBoard (1128019)

      Seems like a slightly more sensible version, even if it would still cause controversy.

      How much value does a public mugshot on Facebook have to the public?

      A fraction above zero for the public, but a huge amount for Facebook. Why use some locked-in, trendy hip site of the unwashed masses that profits some other organisation when you could do it yourself?

      TBH I'm a bit ambivalent about mugshots of convicted people, since they've committed a crime and so using their face as a "we'll catch you - see, we caught hi

      • by causality (777677) on Friday August 13, 2010 @09:52AM (#33239912)

        Arrest doesn't have to be proven, though, so I'm sure there'll be lots of cases of mild defamation by association of being on the site.

        It's funny that of all the crimes out there, they choose to do this with DUI suspects. The notion that "driving is a privilege, not a right" has been twisted and abused so that if you are accused by the state of a DUI offense, you either have to incriminate yourself or suffer a punishment for not incriminating yourself. On a MVR (motor vehicle record) the charge for refusing a breathalyzer is quite similar to the charge for having taken and failed a breathalyzer. DUI, certain asset forfeiture laws, and maybe sexual harassment are the only crimes where the accused must demonstrate innocence. None of this is compatible with a reasonable interpretation of the Fifth Amendment, yet it goes on, because it's "for our own good" or something.

        So it's interesting that this is done with DUI arrestees. They're basically screwed either way. This attempt to attach a stigma just makes that more so.

        That said, I did read something recently that said (IIRC) naming and shaming doesn't actually help reduce crime rates.

        That makes sense. It's common sense, really. Criminals generally do not believe that they will get caught. If they believe that they will certainly get caught they tend not to do the crime. A stigma is a punishment that takes place after they get caught. Of course this isn't going to have much of a deterrent effect. If you really want to prevent crime, clever ways to make people suffer won't do the trick. That is punishment but it's not much of a deterrent. It'd be better to understand what personal/character flaws make someone like a DUI offender want to be so careless with the life and safety of others. Then you'd have some ability to prevent. But that's a much harder problem than locking people up or publically humiliating them which are quite easy to do by comparison.

        Arrest doesn't have to be proven, though, so I'm sure there'll be lots of cases of mild defamation by association of being on the site.

        I've always believed that there should be no such thing as an arrest record. There should be only a record of convictions. Otherwise someone can be haunted for the rest of their lives by a mere accusation that they have to explain to all future employers and others when in fact they are innocent. Otherwise people get the idea that cops and judges and politicians are something other than human beings who can make serious mistakes. Arrest records don't do anything to serve any real notion of justice. Neither does defaming someone who has not actually been convicted.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Shakrai (717556) *

          The notion that "driving is a privilege, not a right" has been twisted and abused so that if you are accused by the state of a DUI offense, you either have to incriminate yourself or suffer a punishment for not incriminating yourself.

          The choice there isn't a hard one at all. One gives the state the evidence needed to secure a criminal conviction against you. The other is a civil citation that takes away your license for six months and raises your car insurance rates. I'll take option B Alex....

          Agree with you that "implied consent" laws are bullshit. Thanks for nothing MADD.

          • You forget the easiest option C: don't drink and drive. Thanks a million, MADD.

            • by Shakrai (717556) * on Friday August 13, 2010 @10:22AM (#33240556) Journal

              MADD can kiss my fucking ass. They aren't even about drink driving anymore -- their Founder left the organization because they've turned into (in her words) a neo-prohibitionist organization.

              The fact that I have to drive through a roadblock and explain why I'm using the roadway just because I had the nerve to buy groceries on a Saturday night is infuriating.

              • by causality (777677) on Friday August 13, 2010 @11:37AM (#33241880)

                MADD can kiss my fucking ass. They aren't even about drink driving anymore -- their Founder left the organization because they've turned into (in her words) a neo-prohibitionist organization.

                That's an inevitable and unfortunate side effect of basing public policy on extreme visceral emotions, like the loss of a loved one. The idea that someone you care about is hurt, maimed, or killed because of the completely preventable, blatant irresponsibility and disregard for life of a drunk driver is quite naturally an extreme and very emotional position. I'll make an understatement and say that it's downright fucking horrible and I wouldn't wish it on any enemy. That's quite understandable.

                The problem is that because this begins with an extreme and emotional position it has its basis in visceral satisfaction. It does not have its basis in a reasonable approach to making changes to the law and the culture to ultimately benefit society. It is natural that what begins with an extreme finds its home within an extreme such as neo-Prohibition. Prohibition of any sort is quite simply the failure to recognize human beings as moral agents capable of making choices and being held responsible for those choices and instead transferring that status to inanimate objects like bottles of ethanol. It's completely unreasonable and dehumanizing. It also doesn't work.

                Just as a judge is expected to recuse himself from a case to which he has personal connections, those who have been deeply, personally, and tragically affected by drunk driving are the least qualified to create public policy concerning it. The neo-Prohibition is because enough is never enough. Enough is never enough because the pain of such a staggering loss like these mothers have unjustly suffered is so great that no piece of legislation can hope to take it away.

                I'm 100% behind using the police power of government to stop drunk drivers. I drive a car, too. So do my friends and family. I don't want to be endangered by someone else's blatant stupidity, nor do I desire that for anyone else. But I say that based on sound principle of what is reasonable, not emotional hatred of people who perpetrate such crimes. What I support even more than stopping drunk drivers is the preservation of our civil liberties while doing it. You can't get that with ends-justify-the-means thinking.

                If someone refuses to use reason and principle, and death and loss are the only criteria they recognize, then I want them to consider this: lots of people die because of drunk drivers. How many people fought and died to secure the civil liberties that made this country the light of the world? How many more will suffer and die if we erode those civil rights and become a totalitarian police state?

            • by causality (777677)

              You forget the easiest option C: don't drink and drive. Thanks a million, MADD.

              I sure as hell don't need MADD to tell me that driving drunk is a bad idea. Do you?

        • >The notion that "driving is a privilege, not a right" has been twisted and abused so that if you are accused by the state of a DUI offense, >you either have to incriminate yourself or suffer a punishment for not incriminating yourself. On a MVR (motor vehicle record) the charge >for refusing a breathalyzer is quite similar to the charge for having taken and failed a breathalyzer. DUI, certain asset forfeiture laws, >and maybe sexual harassment are the only crimes where the accused must demonstr
          • by causality (777677) on Friday August 13, 2010 @11:03AM (#33241334)

            Personally, I have zero sympathy for drunk drivers.

            Same here. I just want them to be arrested and prosecuted based on observable behavior, such as the way that they drive. A dangerous driver who disregards safety is not exactly difficult to detect. On the plus side, doing things this way might accomplish more towards addressing the dangerous drivers who are quite sober but just aggressive and/or stupid.

            When a police officer suspects impaired driving, and they pull you over and suspect you are drunk, I have no problem with asking for a breathalyzer. And if you refuse, I have no problem with assuming that the driver, was in fact drunk.

            Then I'd rather you lobby for the repealing of the Fifth Amendment. That's a damn sight better than simply ignoring it. It's also the honest way to get what you seem to want. It's much more honest than coming up with clever ways to get around it, such as implied consent laws. "Driving is a privilege, not a right" is true, but the Fifth Amendment does not say "this law of the land does not apply to privileges". In fact it applies to the government whenever it wants to use its police power against a citizen, for any reason.

            A concept that is totally unrelated in subject but completely related in principle is the notion of a "free speech zone". You see, that's a clever way to get around the First Amendment. That was also perpetrated by someone who did not want to honestly lobby for the repealing of the First Amendment and instead wanted to play clever word games to effectively ignore it.

            I am not saying you are playing clever word games. I am saying that you have adopted the positions of people who are like religious zealots. A "true believer" thinks that the ends always justify the means. If it means throwing out 200+ years of jurisprudence and American traditions of freedom, if it means weakening the highest law of the land, then so be it as long as we catch a few drunks, right? Such people are utterly confident of their position and can be quite convincing. I can tell you are influenced by their thinking as long as the crusade is difficult to argue with, like "we want to catch drunk drivers". That still doesn't make it right.

            Blowing on a breathalyzer is not a big deal. It is not some infringement on your rights to blow a little air into a straw.

            The difference is that in any other criminal matter, you are not punished for refusing to incriminate yourself. When the cop asks you to blow into a tube, he is asking you to prove that you are innocent. That is not the way our system is supposed to work. It's the cop's job to gather evidence that you have committed a crime. The fact that we really don't like this particular crime is not a good reason to change this. That's the sort of reactive emotional thinking that is a complete departure from the wisdom of "innocent until proven guilty".

            No reasonable person would refuse such a trivial request unless they had something to hide.

            That's the most honest statement of your position so far. Not "honest" in terms of deception but "honest" in terms of showing a full awareness of the implications, as in the truth and the whole truth. "I've got nothing to hide, so I'll submit to any infringement of my civil rights" is a very, very dangerous position. The DUI implied consent laws are a clever way to ignore the 5th Amendment. The asset forfeiture laws of the War on (some) Drugs are a clever way to ignore the 4th Amendment. Free speech zones are a clever way to ignore the 1st Amendment. The federal government's practice of unfunded mandates on the one hand, and encouraging states to desperately depend on federal money on the other, is a clever way around the 10th Amendment. I won't even discuss the 2nd Amendment. That's where your sentiment leads, what it produces, what it evolves toward and blossoms into. It is not a static idea but a dynamic entity that expands whererver it can.

            I don't like drunk drivers either but they are rather tame compared to the full expression of that sentiment.

    • by alen (225700) on Friday August 13, 2010 @09:28AM (#33239300)

      it's different when the news does it because they are reporting on a government agency. in this case the government agency is showing off people accused of a crime simply to humiliate them before a trial. this is wrong

      • Really though, what's the difference? Humiliation is the same no-matter what the source.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by alen (225700)

          anyone can stand out in front of a police station and take pictures of people on a public street. when a government agency peddles these pictures it's the same as inciting a mob in the old days to lynch or beat up people before a conviction at trial.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by alexo (9335)

            anyone can stand out in front of a police station and take pictures of people on a public street. when a government agency peddles these pictures it's the same as inciting a mob in the old days to lynch or beat up people before a conviction at trial.

            Extra-judicial "justice" is all too common nowadays.
             

          • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Friday August 13, 2010 @09:47AM (#33239798)

            go ahead and try it, then. stand outside a police station and snap photos. ...let us know how dark the inside of their jail cell is, too.

            cops today are UBER sensitive about us taking their pics. I'm a photographer and I follow all the news stories (mostly UK but the US is trying to catch up) where the cops arrest this guy for shooting a pic of a cop in public or they demand your camera or even worse: demand you delete photos (all are technically beyond what a cop can demand! only a judge can demand you delete photos, IN COURT).

            I find it the worst kind of doublespeak for cops to encourage bullying of the public by posting photos of arrest victims and yet will arrest YOU if you try to take THEIR photo.

            we need a 'cop book' site that has photos, names and addresses of all cops and public politicians. let that run for, oh, say, 10 years. lets see how that experiment goes. at the end of 10 years, we'll see if this 'idea' is good or not. if its good and the beta test passes, we'll then OK it for the cops to take our pics during arrests and post them.

            but just like all new ideas, this needs a beta test period. I hereby volunteer all cops and politicians to have their picture and personal details posted and collected in an easy to search format.

            good idea?

    • by cronius (813431) on Friday August 13, 2010 @09:30AM (#33239354)

      Newsday [newsday.com] has been publishing DUI arrestees' mugshots on their website for at least the last few years.

      Just to follow up with an example: http://www.newsday.com/7.25434?q=mugshot&type=example.Image [newsday.com]

      I always find it strange that there has to be new laws whenever a new medium comes a long. Why aren't laws generic? If there is no problem posting mugshots on the internet, then posting it on facebook should be no different. If it *is* a problem, then it was a problem all a long, and the involvement of facebook actually put a light on the issue (that someone then should fix).

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        big difference, here.

        FB is a commercial enterprise. why on hell is a police force (governemnt agency) HELPING PROMITE THE PROFITS of a stupid commercial (and crass) website?

        what would happen if 100 other FB clones showed up and asked for equal treatment? is this is the internet and society we WANT? are we even THINKING about what this will encourage?

        give the police free reign to make fun of people in public (this is the undercurrent; the unsaid) and you've just glorified their jobs. new sport: frame som

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 13, 2010 @09:34AM (#33239464)

      I thought it was a common trait for oppressive regimes to make use of public shaming/humiliation for ... helping enforce the law? Let's see how well the formula would work:

      1) depressed person starts drinking
      2) becomes alcoholic
      3) starts driving a car under the influence
      4) gets caught eventually
      5) public humiliation - gets more depressed
      6) goes back to drinking, and starts driving without a license

      let's say step 6 is they go into rehab. They come back into public, random strangers start saying things like "hey - I remember you - you were caught for DUI" ... talk about not even getting a chance to put your past behind you. Sounds like a formula to keep these people in a permanent cycle of alcoholism.

      I don't see how this helps at all.

      • by alexo (9335) on Friday August 13, 2010 @10:05AM (#33240192) Journal

        I thought it was a common trait for oppressive regimes to make use of public shaming/humiliation for ... helping enforce the law? Let's see how well the formula would work

        Here's another scenario:

        1) Cop makes a pass at your daughter and gets rejected.
        2) Cop now has a chip on his shoulder.
        3) Cop arrests you for DUI (bogus).
        4) You are not charged with anything, but...
        5) Your mugshot is now prominently featured on that facebook page.

        And before you reply with the quaint notion of suing them, let me continue

        6) It is your word against the cop's, guess whose carries more weight?
        7) The police dept closes ranks, finds "witnesses" and manufactures "evidence".
        8) You lose the suit and are now short an unspecified amount of dineros as well.

        • by gandhi_2 (1108023)

          Ooh! I got a scenario:

          1: Former high school football star Jake Hoyt (Ethan Hawke) has only been on the force for a short while.
          2: He's assigned to an anti-drug unit in the Rampart Division of the LAPD
          3: He's shown the ropes by Detective Sergeant Alonzo Harris (Oscar winner Denzel Washington).
          4: Hoyt will lose his innocence during the course of this single day because of what Alonzo exposes him to.
          5:They encounter various gangstas, victims, dealers, snitches, and "civilians."
          5: Along the way, we learn more a

  • Ummm... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Friday August 13, 2010 @09:22AM (#33239140) Journal

    What privacy rights do you have if you get arrested?

    I suppose thats depends on what you get arrested for, but I would assume in most cases - all of them?

  • The question is, do they tag you in the picture?
  • Bernard Bell, Rutgers University law professor and Herbert Hannoch scholar, said it could be argued the Facebook posting of photos and arrest details is a privacy violation, even though such information is part of the public record.

    How can you say that with a straight face? If the mug shots are part of the public record - that's that. How they're made public is irrelevant. If you don't liek it - get the law changed to make arrests NOT part of the public recored - but nobody will want that will they?

    • Re:Um..... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by plcurechax (247883) on Friday August 13, 2010 @09:55AM (#33239992) Homepage

      How they're made public is irrelevant. If you don't liek it - get the law changed to make arrests NOT part of the public recored - but nobody will want that will they?

      But it does matter how accurately they portray those public records. That is, if they are found to not make it clear that those are only arrest records, not convictions, they set themselves up for the same liability that journalists avoid by the usage of "suspect", "alleged", and "accused." If they are considered to be misrepresenting or obscuring the fact those depicted people were only arrested, not convicted, they risk a libel suit.

      It also complicates matters if an arrest was made in bad faith, or any mistakes or wrong-doings. If charges are not pressed, or the court dismisses charges due to lack of evidence or other reasons, the accused may be able to seek compensation for both the bad arrest, and the bad publicity the police activity generated for the accused.

      I know a someone who was arrested for DUI, but it was thrown out of court due to the total lack of evidence (no evidence they operated any vehicle that night). That person could of had their professional life ruined by such police's active attempt to "name and shame" people who was never found guilty of a crime. Frankly that smacks of police exceeding their authority and mandate, as if the police think they are judge and jury as well, and that they would never accuse an innocent person incorrectly. The history in reality shows otherwise. That why justice has a due process.

    • public record is a lame excuse.

      here's why. the phone book (remember those big thick things?) are also 'public records' and yet you cannot easily do a reverse number->name search.

      the concept is about the EASE of which you can use 'public info' to abuse.

      that subtle difference is all-important.

      making something online and searchable changes things.

    • by alexo (9335)

      How can you say that with a straight face? If the mug shots are part of the public record - that's that. How they're made public is irrelevant.

      Well, Mike, your address and phone number are also a part of the public record -- just one "whois" away. However, I assume you'd object to others posting them on random web sites, particularly those frequented by people not known for outstanding morals and social responsibility.

      If you don't liek it - get the law changed to make arrests NOT part of the public recored

      • I for one would want the law changed

        Sorry for replying to myself but I feel I need to clarify.
        There is a need for arrest records to be public in a free society -- so people cannot be "disappeared". However, the information in the public record should reflect that need.

        For example:
        Name, etc: [...]
        Arrested on [...]
        Charged with [...] on [...] / [_] Not charged / [_] Charges withdrawn
        Released on [...] / [_] Still in custody
        Went to trial on [...]
        Verdict of [...] on [...]

        With all fields being kept up to date aft

  • But it'll still be a while before someone sues for an exorbant amount of damages because of "psychological damage" and "lost job because I got angry at teasing and punched someone".

    And then money will come out of police department and into someone's pocket. And then 'everyone' is happy.

  • or even common sense?

    I hope they pay thru the nose on lawsuits until the next century.

    this is a horrible precedent!

    (contrast this to the recent series of stories where the police seem to believe its 'illegal' to take pics of THEM. while. on. duty.)

    doublespeak raised to a new art form.

  • The Smoking Gun has been posting police photos since about 10 years ago already. That does not change any questions about privacy, but this is hardly 'news'.
    • by pgmrdlm (1642279)
      How long have newspapers been posting names of people being arrested? I would be surprised if we are not talking hundreds of years.

      And newspapers also post pictures at times. Prior to conviction. TV stations post pictures of people being arrested all the time.

      Whats the difference.

      I'm not saying its right, but seriously. What is the difference. These people have already had their name listed in the news paper. So this is all public knowledge already.

      • Re:The Smoking Gun (Score:4, Interesting)

        by sjames (1099) on Friday August 13, 2010 @12:08PM (#33242330) Homepage

        The difference is that today your name is in the paper. Tomorrow it's wrapping fish and by next week it's in the dump or recycled. Sure, the newspaper is still available on microfiche in the library, but there's no index, certainly not for a police blotter.

        Meanwhile, your mugshot is still up on Facebook being seen, effectively re-published every day it isn't taken down. It's indexed on Google.

        It's the difference between catching a bad cold and catching HIV.

  • by Nikkos (544004) on Friday August 13, 2010 @09:35AM (#33239494) Homepage
    For good and for bad, getting arrested is a matter of the public record. (You wouldn't want to be arrested and held secretly, would you?) For some, the fact of public disclosure and "loss of face" is reason enough not to do bad things. For the innocent, it's our society's willingness to ostracize someone based merely on accusation that is the problem, not the posting of the picture.

    Somewhat relatedly, recent studies have shown that 44% of men would be unwilling to help a lost child because of the ease of which false accusations could ruin their lives. Maybe it's our knee-jerk judgmental culture that needs to be fixed instead.
    • But that doesn't mean there aren't limits to it. It is one thing for arrests to be public record. The details and photos are published and the news reports on them as it sees fit. It is quite another for the police force to be running what is effectively its own propaganda campaign. They are posting these pictures and heavily implying guilt based on that. Well I can see a couple of situations where I'd have a real problem with it:

      1) If I was arrested incorrectly. If I got nailed for a DUI I'd be furious if

      • by Nikkos (544004)
        If you get arrested your name is released and printed in the newspapers. This is different in which way? I don't think you've got anything near a case unless you can prove that the police department was "heavily implying guilt" - which I think you'd have a hard time proving unless they SPECIFICALLY SAID YOU WERE GUILTY when you were not.

        Regarding #2. I suppose there is some outside chance your jury pool could be tainted, but if publishing your name in a newspaper (as is done now) doesn't meet the litmus
  • by localman57 (1340533) on Friday August 13, 2010 @09:35AM (#33239508)
    The problem here is not the fact that the photos are being presented on Facebook. They're public record. Local newspapers have printed booking photos since the beginning of Local Newspapers (or maybe the beginning of booking photos).

    The problem is with us, the public. We react to this as if it is a shame to the person. We really need to be working to change the public mindset with the reminder of "Innocent until proven guilty". The proper response to these photos is "Huh. Joe got arrested for DUI. I wonder how it's gonna turn out?" That's how we need to get people thinking. At that point, all this Facebook crap doesn't matter.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DriedClexler (814907)

      But if you think that's a problem, you can take it back another level: why do people draw such strong inferences from the fact that you've been arrested? Arguably, this could be because of the difficulty of getting a conviction, which makes an acquittal uninformative, meaning people have to place more weight on the fact of an arrest.

  • I could see where that could be a bit problematic.

  • by fantomas (94850) on Friday August 13, 2010 @09:37AM (#33239550)

    Posting pictures of people who have been arrested but not convicted would seem to be very dodgy territory, the police could be exposing themselves to all sorts of law suits. While the police generally try their hardest to do a good job, mistakes can be made. Putting up pictures of people who are later released without charge might still cause those people complications in their lives, whether it is over-zealous local vigilantes, or employers.

    A friend of mine is a primary school teacher. He had to break up a fight between two ten year old boys a couple of years ago. As he was separating them, one of the parents arrived (end of school day) and then claimed my friend had assaulted her son. This all took a couple of months to sort out, nearly finished my friend's professional career. He was proved completely innocent, classic case of an insane parent believing their little Jimmy never did any wrong. My friend was incredibly stressed and depressed throughout, years of hard work possibly destroyed by one stupid parent, and ended up moving town to take up work in another school where he is very successful, has been promoted twice.

    I can only imagine what might have happened to him if his pictures had been on Facebook for those two months with the caption "suspected child assault". He would have been under intense psychological pressure, and perhaps local parents might withdraw their children from his care, or pressurise his head teacher to sack him, or even taken illegal direct vigilante action. And then at the end after they'd ruined his life they'd find out he was innocent. Even if they gave him his backpay and reinstated him in his old job, he could have been in a very bad way psychologically if he'd been attacked as a result of this, maybe rumours would have spread that couldn't be stopped (his neighbours in his street saying "well he was proved innocent but I don't want my kids near his house" etc).

    Posting pictures of arrested but not convicted folk in any circumstance, whether on Facebook, or a town billboard, or in the local paper - no - I think this is difficult territory.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by davev2.0 (1873518)
      And, if your friend had been arrested and your local police department had electronic records available over the internet, any background check would have turned up an arrest for "child assault". Even if the records were not available over the internet, a professional background check would turn up the arrest. Also, see my post about public records as to the existence of mugshot magazines.
  • Mugshots are already public domain, so I can only suspect this is just for publicity. They are trying to make it look like a lot of cops are doing something more than showing up after crimes to file a report, falling asleep in their patrol cars on the side of the road, talking on cell phones, causing wrecks (had to throw this one in there since I've been rear ended by one), beating up old people, harassing and beating up kids, racial profiling, ambushing people on a dark lonely roads for minor traffic viol
  • Police do make mistakes sometimes. The legal process tries to sort this out.
  • Neighbor, Meth (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Grizzley9 (1407005)
    My neighbor was just arrested and had their mug shots on the nightly news and written up by the local news for suspected meth and related paraphernalia. So obviously everyone thinks there was some involved as thats what the news said relayed to them by the police spokesperson.

    Problem is, there wasn't any. It was only suspected (due to past boyfriends) and they found nothing and had to release her later that night but the persona damage is still done to her and to the neighborhood.

    So I'm not really su
  • by ITBurnout (1845712)
    ...but it sure seems unethical. The police seem to be posting these pictures only to (a) humiliate and shame those arrested, (b) forever stigmatize those people by way of distributing (downloadable) pictures that will now live on in digital form in the public domain, in one form or another, forever. Who knows where they might end up. Sounds like a good way to potentially ruin someone's life over an *alleged* night of over-indulgence and bad judgment.

    There is "being available in the public record," and
  • Negative public exposure could easily be considered a punishment, and punishment can't be administered unless you have been convicted of a crime. I know this is about DUI, but in general, in any sane media climate, a mugshot should never be shown of a person who is merely arrested and not convicted! I could understand if media some times can't tell the difference between arrested and convicted, but the police? Publishing images of *convicted* people on a facebook page is more acceptable, but still debatable
  • So if the local law enforcement organization in your municipality were to do thesame sort of thing, what would be the repercussions where you live? Obviously we have heard from the US, but what about other countries?
  • Maricopa County Sheriff's Office has been posting mugshots for years. I still have the screencap that one time a co-worker got busted (and no, he never came back to work)...

    http://www.mcso.org/index.php?a=GetModule&mn=Mugshot [mcso.org]

  • How is this any different than the hundreds if not thousands of local and county law enforcement agencies that post all booking info with photos on their website.

    An arrest, guilty or not, is public record and have been reported for, well, pretty much ever.

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