Vice Squad
Friday, September 03, 2004
Due Process is Only for Those Who are Not Arrested

The city of Frederick, Maryland, has had such wonderful success with posting the pictures of those arrested -- not convicted, just arrested -- for prostitution-related offenses that it will expand its web-listing to drug arrestees! (Oddly, people who are arrested for crimes with actual victims, such as theft, appear to be exempt from Frederick's publicity machine.) There is no disclaimer on the website that these people have not been convicted, and are considered to be innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. (Other places that engage in such theatrics tend to include the disclaimer.) Of course, this measure must be purely informational, or to protect the public, because it would be unconstitutional to punish someone without due process of law. And what does Frederick's mayor say? "When asked if the project is meant to humiliate people, [the mayor] replied, 'Only for those who are arrested.'" And as we know, only guilty people are arrested. Here's the story, from the Baltimore Sun (registration required), and though I hesitate to add to this publicity, here's the Frederick website.

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