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Drunk Driver Mugshots Featured On Facebook

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the catching-you-at-your-best dept.

Crime 321

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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321 comments

here, let me fix that for you (4, Insightful)

hypergreatthing (254983) | more than 3 years ago | (#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:here, let me fix that for you (2, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239298)

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 life -- I got over it. Not sure what my cause of action would have been if I didn't get over it. Arrests are a matter of public record. The paper/facebook/cousin-billy-who-works-for-the-PD are all free to talk about them.

Don't think this can be stopped (4, Insightful)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239844)

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.

Re:Don't think this can be stopped (4, Interesting)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#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?

Re:Don't think this can be stopped (0)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 3 years ago | (#33240286)

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
Can you even be found innocent on a charge of drunken driving? I know many crimes you can not be found innocent, only "not guilty", which is decidedly not the same thing. Although everyone always says we are "innocent until proven guilty", then why do you have to sit in a jail cell or post bail? That doesn't sound like something an innocent person would do. Then if they are unable to prove your crime, you are found "not guilty". Does anyone compensate you for the bail you posted or the time you spent in the slammer for a crime they couldn't prove you committed? Innocent until proven guilty is a fallacy. I'm not just being bitter. I've never even been arrested. But the legal system just seems remarkably unfair to me, and the system seems to come down on the easy targets (mostly law abiding citizens who commit a minor infraction) rather than hardcore criminals.

how do you not have the right to sue for lost earnings etc?
You do have the right to sue for lost earnings. If I lost my job today, I could sue YOU for lost earnings. Whether I will when or not is another matter.

Re:Don't think this can be stopped (2, Insightful)

magarity (164372) | more than 3 years ago | (#33240440)

Can you even be found innocent on a charge of drunken driving?
 
Yes, though not if you were really driving drunk. But in some cases erratic driving that makes one look like (and get arrested as) a drunk driver can turn out to be a legit medical condition.

Re:Don't think this can be stopped (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 3 years ago | (#33240508)

Can you even be found innocent on a charge of drunken driving?

No such thing. You are convicted or acquitted.

then why do you have to sit in a jail cell or post bail?

Because society has an interest in seeing that you show up for your trial?

Surpised? (4, Insightful)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 3 years ago | (#33240502)

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.

Re:Don't think this can be stopped (2, Insightful)

Brad Eleven (165911) | more than 3 years ago | (#33240498)

The new meaning of justice is revealed. It's "revenge," aka "closure."

Re:here, let me fix that for you (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239906)

They aren't the Feds or State -- they can't print/borrow massive amounts of money.

No, they just raise taxes. Usually property taxes, although employment and per capita (or, as I like to call it, "tax on air") taxes are also popular.

Re:here, let me fix that for you (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 3 years ago | (#33240272)

And all the federal bailouts of city and county governments?

Re:here, let me fix that for you (1)

alexo (9335) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239362)

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.

I see absolutely nothing wrong with this. (3, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 3 years ago | (#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:I see absolutely nothing wrong with this. (2, Insightful)

butterflysrage (1066514) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239752)

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

Re:here, let me fix that for you (1)

zero_out (1705074) | more than 3 years ago | (#33240220)

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.

Re:here, let me fix that for you (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 3 years ago | (#33240244)

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

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

Meanwhile, on Long Island... (4, Informative)

AndyAndyAndyAndy (967043) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239136)

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

Re:Meanwhile, on Long Island... (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239292)

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

Re:Meanwhile, on Long Island... (5, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#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:Meanwhile, on Long Island... (2, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 3 years ago | (#33240212)

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.

Re:Meanwhile, on Long Island... (1)

Mike Buddha (10734) | more than 3 years ago | (#33240456)

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

Re:Meanwhile, on Long Island... (5, Insightful)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#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

Re:Meanwhile, on Long Island... (1)

AndyAndyAndyAndy (967043) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239350)

Really though, what's the difference? Humiliation is the same no-matter what the source.

Re:Meanwhile, on Long Island... (2, Interesting)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239462)

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:Meanwhile, on Long Island... (2, Interesting)

alexo (9335) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239588)

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.
 

Re:Meanwhile, on Long Island... (4, Interesting)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 3 years ago | (#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?

Re:Meanwhile, on Long Island... (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 3 years ago | (#33240016)

Very good idea. But you are a dreamer, as am i.

Re:Meanwhile, on Long Island... (4, Interesting)

cronius (813431) | more than 3 years ago | (#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:Meanwhile, on Long Island... (2, Insightful)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239568)

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 someone, get their pic *permanently* on FB and then say 'haha, just kidding. you can go free now'.

WAY too much abuse and FB has shown it is 'the spoiled child of the internet' and they REFUSE to honor actual privacy requests.

the linkage between law enforcement and some stupid social networking website should never be allowed in any official means.

jersey cops being dumb asses. again. is there NO adult in charge, there, who can actually think about the repercussions?

Re:Meanwhile, on Long Island... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33240462)

Right, since they are the government they should build their own facebook, and while they are at it they should build their own Google, and their own computers, their own police cars, their own guns...

If you think Facebook is stupid feel free to not use it, but don't demand that everybody else stop using it.

Re:Meanwhile, on Long Island... (1)

davev2.0 (1873518) | more than 3 years ago | (#33240516)

I think you have it backwards. The police force is using a free commercial enterprise (FB) to publish public records on the internet as opposed to spending the money to add the feature to their website. They are not promoting FaceBook, they are exploiting FaceBook.

Re:Meanwhile, on Long Island... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Meanwhile, on Long Island... (-1, Flamebait)

qoncept (599709) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239652)

You're using the same nonsense logic as idiots who say various should be legalized to eliminate drug related crime. The problem in your scenario is the depressed alcoholic, not the punishment for his crimes.

Re:Meanwhile, on Long Island... (4, Interesting)

alexo (9335) | more than 3 years ago | (#33240192)

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.

Re:Meanwhile, on Long Island... (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 3 years ago | (#33240420)

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 about Alonzo's fall from grace, his morally dubious private life, and his explosive secret plan that involves Jake.

Re:Meanwhile, on Long Island... (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239864)

I don't understand what the controversy is. Police departments have been publishing arrests in news papers forever. There are magazines in many states which sell for a dollar and feature current mugshots. There is The Smoking Gun, too. Many police departments post mugshots directly on their websites. If you are unfortunate enough to be arrested for anything - even wrongly - you will be named featured in numerous outlets to be laughed at and ridiculed just as if you were actually convicted of some heinous crime.

What does the fact that it's on Facebook versus all these other outlets have to do with anything? It's just one more place they're mauling your reputation on top of all the others.

Re:Meanwhile, on Long Island... (1)

arkane1234 (457605) | more than 3 years ago | (#33240518)

Interestingly, the location I'm at does not do this.
Many police also have big hats and carry sticks as primary weaponry, does that mean that it's what needs to be done by everyone?

To recap common sense and the very REASON the article exists here, the reason it's bad:
A) Pictures like that on Facebook are public flogging, and go above and beyond punishment fitting the crime.
B) It's Facebook, who wants their picture on Facebook? (a joke, I keed I keed)
C) It ostracizes people wrongly since it's basically remotely accessible whimsically by just about anyone with a computer, a 'net connection, and a little time to search Facebook. A newspaper actually takes more effort than most people have in this world, unless they are truly interested. (passive vs. active search)

Ummm... (3, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239140)

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?

Re:Ummm... (0)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239648)

I disagree. You get arrested by a public law enforcement agency, have a public trial, and essentially no rights (depending on the crime).

While I'm not for the police state, I do believe that those convicted of a crime need to have their mugshots put up, especially for the following crimes:

DUI/DWI [state.co.us] (doc, specifically Colorado's numbers but I imagine the true holds same in TN given the number of those in court for it repeatedly)
Pedophilia [jrank.org]
Rape [delaware.gov] (pdf, specifically Deleware's statistics)
Murder [wa.gov] (pdf, Washington state)
Scam/Con

People should know who you are and what your proclivities are. In the above cases you should expect no right to privacy after your first conviction (recidivism in these crimes is high, see links and also this document on recidivism [usdoj.gov] ).

I couldn't find numbers for scammers/con artists, though I'm sure they don't give up after their first arrest either. If anyone could find national averages it would be appreciated. All the above docs referred to national averages that I didn't turn up in my searches (search term: <crime> recidivism)

Re:Ummm... (4, Informative)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239924)

All well and good, except these are being posted when these people are arrested. At this time, they are still presumed innocent until guilt is proven or they are convicted of a crime. This smacks of harassment.

People should know who you are and what your proclivities are. In the above cases you should expect no right to privacy after your first conviction

Re:Ummm... (1)

davev2.0 (1873518) | more than 3 years ago | (#33240200)

The arrest itself is public record, as is the name and mugshot of the arrested party.

Re:Ummm... (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#33240182)

While I'm not for the police state, I do believe that those convicted of a crime need to have their mugshots put up

Thanks for coming out, but thats not the issue we're talking about. Arrest and conviction are two seperate things.

It's stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33239194)

Your privacy rights should matter even if you're arrested, given how many people are falsely accused of things these days plus the situation of our society makes people desperate enough to do desperate things.

It makes me angry to see somewhere like The Smoking Gun put up mugshots for everyone on the internet to see (and shame on places like Fark which constantly make fun of them). It's implying that criminals are somehow less than human and fair game for ridicule and horrible privacy violations. Just shows how far our society has devolved into an uncaring, unfeeling mass of idiots.

No, I've never been arrested so I don't have a personal stake in my words, but I do believe in privacy and basic fucking human decency and kindness, all of which seems to have been thrown out the window in modern society.

I post Anonymous Coward because I fight for my right to privacy. How about you?

Re:It's stupid (1, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239376)

It's implying that criminals are somehow less than human and fair game for ridicule

They are fair game for ridicule. You don't think idiots who crawl into a bottle and then behind the wheel of a car are fair game for ridicule? How many innocent do they place in harms way?

Re:It's stupid (4, Insightful)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239442)

So then wait for them to be convicted in court, and then ridicule away. Is due process really such an inconvenience for you?

Re:It's stupid (2, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239654)

You have the right to due process before the state takes away your life, liberty or property. You do not have the right to due process before the community can ridicule you. See, there's this thing called the 1st amendment. It means I can tell you and others what I think about you.

Re:It's stupid (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239834)

You have the right to due process before the state takes away your life, liberty or property. You do not have the right to due process before the community can ridicule you. See, there's this thing called the 1st amendment. It means I can tell you and others what I think about you.

The local government is bound by the same constitution as everyone else, so your premise that the community has first amendment rights to slander a person before the slander becomes fact due to inapplicability of the law is false.

Re:It's stupid (2, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239962)

Releasing an arrest record is not slander. Newspapers have been publishing police blotters for decades. Arrests are a matter of public record. Get over it.

I was arrested for a crime I didn't commit. Police blotter was on Page 2. Guess which page it was reported on when the Grand Jury kicked the charges against me? Oh, that's right, it wasn't reported at all. Such is life. I bet if you were in my shoes you'd sue, wouldn't you?

Re:It's stupid (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 3 years ago | (#33240062)

The local government is bound by the same constitution as everyone else

No. You don't understand what the constitution is: It is the enabling document for the federal government; it has some effect upon states, particularly in the bill of rights (amendments 1-10), and where states are mentioned explicitly (e.g. ex post facto laws), but it doesn't really go into great depth. In fact, it explicitly hands off a lot of legal territory to the states.

From there, states have (or can have) their own constitution, which describes how that state handles various issues -- which may not be very similar at all to another state. The only catch here is that the states are required to recognize the laws of the other states when issues cross borders.

Local government is then bound by the state rules, which may vary, and only the federal rules that over-ride.

Generally speaking, though, the constitution (the one we usually talk about) is a federal document.

Re:It's stupid (1)

LanMan04 (790429) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239476)

Yes, because everyone who was ever arrested for a DUI was guilty. Thanks for clearing that up.

Moron.

Re:It's stupid (2, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239692)

Well, since the AC that I was responding to said criminals not the accused it's a safe assumption he was bemoaning the fact that we ridicule criminals after they are convicted for their crimes.

Jackass.

Re:It's stupid (5, Insightful)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239388)

It's implying that alleged criminals are somehow less than human

FTFY, because until the charges are proved in court, simply being arrested could mean any number of things that fall well short of being guilty of an actual offence. Unfortunately, by posting mugshots to the internet (read "the public domain"), it ensures that these people will be forever linked to a crime they may or may not have even committed.

Re:It's stupid (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239884)

"...it ensures that these people will be forever linked to a crime they may or may not have even committed."

Or, they did do it and the reporting agency simply misreported the information. I was arrested (big deal, fuck you) for one thing, but the arrest report (the one that makes it into the state website) was listing a crime I had never even been charged with, let alone committed.

Regardless of whether or not it was accurate, in the minds of John Q. Public, it is not only accurate, but accurate forever because web caches do not take corrections.

But that is OK, because I've come to realize that none of it really matters, except to the people that really don't matter to ME.

How much value does a public mugshot have? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33239210)

None.

But it lets officials appear to be "tough on crime" to the electorate.

The question (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239252)

The question is, do they tag you in the picture?

Re:The question (1)

StuckInSyrup (745480) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239740)

Only

Re:The question (1)

StuckInSyrup (745480) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239796)

...if police is your friend.

OT - I have no idea what happened.

Not really taking advantage of FB features... (1)

indeterminator (1829904) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239254)

... they're not tagging the people in photos! A shame.

Move along (1)

Custard Horse (1527495) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239256)

The scurge of facebook strike again.

The people who frequent facebook are insignificant therefore their opinion is too.

It matters not what they think as Evesham Police Department is unlikely to assist during harvesting season on Farmville therefore they will move along and, presumably, get off the lawn.

#irc.trolltalk.Com (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33239258)

What is the motivation (0, Troll)

jDeepbeep (913892) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239260)

From the pig point of view, what is their motivation for doing this?

Re:What is the motivation (1)

alexo (9335) | more than 3 years ago | (#33240256)

From the pig point of view, what is their motivation for doing this?

Because they can?

Re:What is the motivation (1)

painandgreed (692585) | more than 3 years ago | (#33240492)

From the pig point of view, what is their motivation for doing this?

Shame. Community opinion is or can be a strong motivator. Knowing that if you get caught DUI, not only do you face fines and restrictions on your driving but everybody in your community will know about it, is an added deterance. IIRC, this has been done in local newspapers before and has been shown to cut down on the number of drunk drivers.

Ohio "Scarlet Letter" License Plates (1)

cycleflight (1811074) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239262)

Ohio has (or had if they discontinued it, not sure) a law where repeat convicted offenders of DUI laws get a special yellow license plate with red letters, contrasting the normal colors of Ohio license plates. The biggest difference between that and this is those are served upon convictions.

Not so sure about arrests. I mean, there's really nothing you're going to do to refute a breathalyzer, but due process has to be respected.

Re:Ohio "Scarlet Letter" License Plates (2, Insightful)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239390)

Actually, there are a number of ways that a breathalyzer test can give a false positive, and a number of ways that an officer can otherwise cock up an arrest.

Re:Ohio "Scarlet Letter" License Plates (1)

pgmrdlm (1642279) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239720)

My girlfriend calls them party plates. They still have them. Complete different color than normal license plates.

But the point is, these are issued on convictions. Unlike what the Florida police are doing.

I think a previous poster tagged it perfectly. Due process.

Hell, I think everyone should have their picture plastered all over the internet once they have been convicted. Especially child molesters. BUT, only after they have had their day in court and been convicted.

Re:Ohio "Scarlet Letter" License Plates (2, Funny)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 3 years ago | (#33240258)

"..a law where repeat convicted offenders of DUI laws get a special yellow license plate with red letters,...."

A yellow star?

Um..... (1)

baptiste (256004) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239288)

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..... (4, Insightful)

plcurechax (247883) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239992)

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.

Re:Um..... (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 3 years ago | (#33240290)

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.

This has illegal written all over it (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239304)

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.

Re:This has illegal written all over it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33239446)

Police depts publish arrested peoples' mugshot all the time. It's public information.

does that dept NOT have any laywers? (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239342)

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 (1)

slashtivus (1162793) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239398)

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'.

Re:The Smoking Gun (1)

pgmrdlm (1642279) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239974)

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.

Already public record (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239456)

Arrests are already a matter of public record, are they not?

You don't have privacy if you get arrested (5, Insightful)

Nikkos (544004) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239494)

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.

Re:You don't have privacy if you get arrested (1)

nawitus (1621237) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239730)

Well, obviously an arrest should be private by default, and if the person wants to go public then it would be a personal choice.

This is true (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33240176)

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 the police were plastering my picture around before a trial. I personally don't drink so I am confident I'd be acquitted (or more likely charges would be dropped) as there'd be no evidence. However the damage could already be done if the police have been telling people I'm a drunk driver. Believe me there'd be a lawsuit.

2) If someone was arrested and this happened, they might use it as a way to try and use it to derail proceedings because the jury pool had been tainted. After all if the people use Facebook maybe they've seen these pictures and are going to presuppose guilt. This is an increasing problem as a lot of people use Facebook these days. Could make it difficult to find an impartial jury and give good grounds for appeal, which might just lead to a judge tossing the case.

I'm completely ok, and in support of arrests being public record. However I am not in support of police saying "Look at this guy we arrested! He's clearly guilty, we are going to post his picture to shame him!" This is NOT the job of the police. The investigate crimes and make arrests, that is all.

Re:You don't have privacy if you get arrested (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33240408)

People get imprisoned all the time and then aquitted years later. This is simply to keep the public happy... even if it's not the criminal that gets locked up. So the justice system doesn't always work.

I just ask myself, How much is 14 years of your life, your careea and the respect of the general public worth?

We're considering the Wrong Problem (2, Insightful)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 3 years ago | (#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:We're considering the Wrong Problem (2, Insightful)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 3 years ago | (#33240066)

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.

So... (1)

webheaded (997188) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239518)

Correct me if I'm wrong here, but getting arrested and being CONVICTED are different things, yes? What exactly gives them the right to publish these on Facebook before you've been convicted of a crime? Sure, I guess if you are later convicted that's somewhat okay (though they are giant douches for it), but when you've merely been arrested? That seems a little draconian to me. That seems like a slander lawsuit waiting to happen.

Are they tagging the people as well? (1)

axl917 (1542205) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239528)

I could see where that could be a bit problematic.

Posting not convicted - very dodgy - an example (5, Interesting)

fantomas (94850) | more than 3 years ago | (#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:Posting not convicted - very dodgy - an example (2, Interesting)

davev2.0 (1873518) | more than 3 years ago | (#33240148)

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.

Of course this is completely legal... (1)

JayPee (4090) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239586)

...unless you're posting photographs of the police acting in an assinine manner, then, of course, you'll get arrested for violating their privacy.

WWOT FP (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33239612)

Trust (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33239616)

As if the general public needed another reason to be suspicious and distrustful of law enforcement.

Re:Trust (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 3 years ago | (#33240166)

As if the general public needed another reason to be suspicious and distrustful of law enforcement.

insightful. if I had MP's I'd mod you up.

regardless of how right or wrong you think this is: exactly HOW is this going to endear the public any more to the police? they already have a credibility problem. instead of trying to avoid conflict, they seem to be a magnet for it.

Publicity (1)

kaoshin (110328) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239758)

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 violations like driving 3 over the limit, engaging in illegal activities, etc. There are many good cops out there, but it seems to be overshadowed by all of the negative, and made cheap by all the publicity stunts such as taking criminals from jail and parading them down the street for the press and then bringing them back.

I'd make my mugshot my profile picture (1)

swb (14022) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239888)

I mean, why not?

Legal or not, they don't need such a smack-down (1)

GarryFre (886347) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239944)

I've never done DUI, but in this day and age where potential employers look up the background of people on the internet, such a thing could wreck a person's chance of getting a job. Youths do foolish things. It's inevitable. How many of us have not made some big mistakes? How many of us would want to have to pay for them for the rest of our lives? Not many I bet.

conviction, not arrest (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 3 years ago | (#33239988)

Police do make mistakes sometimes. The legal process tries to sort this out.

Neighbor, Meth (2, Interesting)

Grizzley9 (1407005) | more than 3 years ago | (#33240050)

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 sure how I feel about this as DUI is slightly different when arrested. And I don't see how FB is any different than the nightly news or papers.

Public record (1)

davev2.0 (1873518) | more than 3 years ago | (#33240058)

Mugshots are public records, just like arrest reports. All the police department is doing is making those records readily accessible. There is a company that gathers mugshots and arrest reports and publishes them in a flier called "Who's in jail" and sells them for $1.00 each at convenience stores. This is no different and actually prevents people from making money on the misfortune and stupidity of others.

New app from Zynga (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33240130)

Coming this fall from Zynga: DUI Wars, a click-fest where you drag your friends into posting mug shots from their drunk-driving arrests.

This may be legal... (2, Insightful)

ITBurnout (1845712) | more than 3 years ago | (#33240196)

...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 there is "put on worldwide public display with a big scarlet 'A' for Alcoholic on their chests." They're going over the line here.

Innocent until proven...arrested? (1)

Alkonaut (604183) | more than 3 years ago | (#33240454)

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. For a DUI there probably won't be a lynch mob adding to the punishment, but for another crime (say child molestation) it would be a completely different story.

Other countries (1)

Fnord666 (889225) | more than 3 years ago | (#33240528)

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?
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