Okay To Post Names Of DWI Suspects On Twitter?
No, it’s not okay. A “suspect” is not a “convict.” Nevertheless, the Montgomery County, TX District Attorney Brett Ligon (right) is doing this on his Twitter page, where 23 people have been listed thus far.
“It’s not breaking the law, but it’s bad form,” said Houston DWI attorney Tyler Flood. “A person is presumed innocent. This shows a lack of respect for the presumption of innocence.”
Houston civil rights attorney Randall Kallinen said it’s a due process violation because offenders’ reputations are tainted before they get a chance to clear their name.
“Many of those people will never be convicted, so they’re being punished without being convicted,” said Kallinen, who is ready to explore legal challenges against the district attorney.
This reminds me of when New York Mayor Ed Koch put “The John Hour” on the city’s municipal radio station, where the names of men who purchased the services of women were read; but, in that case, only those convicted had their names publicly shamed. We should be well past the age of The Scarlet Letter.Click here for reuse options!
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