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Thread: Innocent Man harmed by 'Gotcha!' mugshot magazine -- Implications for LEO Encounters

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    Regular Member Repeater's Avatar
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    Innocent Man harmed by 'Gotcha!' mugshot magazine -- Implications for LEO Encounters

    WTVR interviewed a man who believes that Gotcha! Magazine may have cost him a job:
    Local man upset about mugshot in magazine

    After watching this on WTVR, I wondered:

    • Is it really helpful for public safety to publish mugshots of persons arrested for misdemeanors, including minor misdemeanors?
    • Who picks up and reads Gotcha!?
    • As the attorney says on-camera, the magazines disclaimers seem disingenuous when the name of the magazine implies guilt: Gotcha! -- the cops got the bad guys!
    • Noteworthy is the apparent fact that the Richmond PD does not, in general, release the mugshots of persons arrested for misdemeanors; most of the mugshots in Gotcha! come from Chesterfield and Henrico
    • Most gun law violations are misdemeanors; thus, an arrest for an alleged gun violation in Chesterfield or Henrico would likely mean a mugshot appearance. Even when such persons are not guilty, the stigma continues
    • Suppose the General Assembly enacted a law prohibiting release of mugshots of anyone who was not arrested for a felony -- would that be helpful?
    • Richmond Media Group is a part of Media General; indeed, the RTD publishes some of the same mugshots that show up in Gotcha!, including skidmark'a arrest; their excuse for the magazine seems rather lame: "The goal of the section is simple – to help deter crime." So, publishing Paul's picture helps deter crime - really?
    • I wonder if gun owners would support legislation restricting the release of mugshots?

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Repeater View Post
    WTVR interviewed a man who believes that Gotcha! Magazine may have cost him a job:
    Local man upset about mugshot in magazine

    After watching this on WTVR, I wondered:

    • Is it really helpful for public safety to publish mugshots of persons arrested for misdemeanors, including minor misdemeanors?
    • Who picks up and reads Gotcha!?
    • As the attorney says on-camera, the magazines disclaimers seem disingenuous when the name of the magazine implies guilt: Gotcha! -- the cops got the bad guys!
    • Noteworthy is the apparent fact that the Richmond PD does not, in general, release the mugshots of persons arrested for misdemeanors; most of the mugshots in Gotcha! come from Chesterfield and Henrico
    • Most gun law violations are misdemeanors; thus, an arrest for an alleged gun violation in Chesterfield or Henrico would likely mean a mugshot appearance. Even when such persons are not guilty, the stigma continues
    • Suppose the General Assembly enacted a law prohibiting release of mugshots of anyone who was not arrested for a felony -- would that be helpful?
    • Richmond Media Group is a part of Media General; indeed, the RTD publishes some of the same mugshots that show up in Gotcha!, including skidmark'a arrest; their excuse for the magazine seems rather lame: "The goal of the section is simple – to help deter crime." So, publishing Paul's picture helps deter crime - really?
    • I wonder if gun owners would support legislation restricting the release of mugshots?
    I think you'd get support for it from all over. It's not new. Papers publish lists and names for anything sensational or seedy...Judgements, bankruptcy, CHP Holders, etc.

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    Regular Member Repeater's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter nap View Post
    I think you'd get support for it from all over. It's not new. Papers publish lists and names for anything sensational or seedy...Judgements, bankruptcy, CHP Holders, etc.
    You might be right about broad support.

    I'm struck by your use of the word 'sensational' -- I really think that is the primary purpose of Gotcha! The magazine format sensationalizes arrests. The photos are in color, the various self-serving ads are similarly sensational. Yet the publisher asserts the magazine helps deter crime. They don't provide any empirical evidence for support. Maybe it's just a hunch.

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    Founder's Club Member Tess's Avatar
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    Frankly, I find the propensity to publish photographs of those who have not been convicted abhorrent.

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    Activist Member Wolf_shadow's Avatar
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    I made a comment in another thread about this and refered to the issue of Skids picture being posted and no information was given when he was found not guilty. I disagree with publishing arrest photos of people who have not been convicted.

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    Activist Member nuc65's Avatar
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    Isn't the conventional thinking that he wouldn't have been arrested if he wasn't guilty?

    This does not reflect my thinking, it was said in sarcasm.
    When I carry a gun, I don't do so because I am looking for a fight, but because I'm looking to be left alone. The gun at my side means that I cannot be forced, only persuaded. I don't carry it because I'm afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid. It doesn't limit the actions of those who would interact with me through reason, only the actions of those who would do so by force.

    excerpt By Marko Kloos (http://munchkinwrangler.wordpress.com/?s=major+caudill)

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    Regular Member Repeater's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nuc65 View Post
    Isn't the conventional thinking that he wouldn't have been arrested if he wasn't guilty?
    Well, I think that is the conventional prejudice.

    The lesson here would be:

    Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you too will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

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    I believe public records should be open, and free to publish. Arrest logs and mugshots are public records.

    I also agree that any publisher should be responsible for any consequences that arise from the decision to publish. That means being civilly liable to someone harmed by publication of their information. Lost a job, a house, reputation and standing? Pay up!

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    Activist Member nuc65's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KBCraig View Post
    I believe public records should be open, and free to publish. Arrest logs and mugshots are public records.

    I also agree that any publisher should be responsible for any consequences that arise from the decision to publish. That means being civilly liable to someone harmed by publication of their information. Lost a job, a house, reputation and standing? Pay up!
    The burden of proof would be too great. I lost my job because they accused me of... Well, did they say that's why you lost your job? Well, not exactly but ... Sorry, you haven't proven anything.
    When I carry a gun, I don't do so because I am looking for a fight, but because I'm looking to be left alone. The gun at my side means that I cannot be forced, only persuaded. I don't carry it because I'm afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid. It doesn't limit the actions of those who would interact with me through reason, only the actions of those who would do so by force.

    excerpt By Marko Kloos (http://munchkinwrangler.wordpress.com/?s=major+caudill)

  10. #10
    Herr Heckler Koch
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    Anonymity argument

    This is the 'anonymity argument' writ large.

    Are we responsible for our public actions (statements), as on the internet, and are we responsible for our public actions as portrayed in the least favorable light by public media? Has one ever indulged in rhinotellexis, and been photographed doing it?

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    Regular Member SFCRetired's Avatar
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    Yes, mugshots and arrest records are public record. No, they should not be splashed all over the newspapers, television, or any seedy tabloid that wants to publish them.

    Only in the event of a conviction should those items be published. There are too many employers out there who will fire an employee for just being arrested, never mind whether he/she actually committed a crime. Of course, they will not say that is the reason for the termination as that would leave them liable.

    I wonder how many people have lost jobs, homes, family over arrests and have later been found innocent or have had charges dismissed before trial?

    I'll go one step further: Should the person arrested have the charges dropped or be found innocent, the mugshots and the arrest record should be sealed.

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    Regular Member Thundar's Avatar
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    Put the shoe on the other foot

    Have a pictoral magazine called boot lickers. Publish the pictures of LEO that have clearly unjust arrests as well as "journalists" that publish the unjust arrests.
    He wore his gun outside his pants for all the honest world to see. Pancho & Lefty

    The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us....There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! ...The war is inevitable–and let it come! I repeat it, Sir, let it come …………. PATRICK HENRY speech 1776

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    Regular Member Repeater's Avatar
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    UVA: MANDATORY arrest disclosure

    Remember Yeardley Love? Remember George Huguely?

    Well, the University of Virginia, a place where self-defense is not welcome, instituted a policy requiring all new students to disclose ANY arrest record they may have. As I interpret the policy, any student with an arrest record will be investigated; any student with an undisclosed arrest record will be expelled.

    Why the draconian change in policy? As explained by Allen Groves, Dean of Students:
    QUESTION: What is the reason for this policy and the new implementation procedure?

    RESPONSE: The underlying purpose is to help us maintain a safe community.

    QUESTION: What types of criminal infractions need to be disclosed by students?

    RESPONSE: Pursuant to policy, a student must disclose any arrests or convictions of a criminal offense, excluding minor traffic violations that do not result in an arrest or injury to others, regardless of whether they occur inside or outside the Commonwealth of Virginia and regardless of whether the University is in session at the time.

    QUESTION: What about the distinction between arrests and convictions?

    RESPONSE: We recognize that arrests do not represent an adjudicated conviction or an admission of guilt. Disclosure of an arrest is understood as that – simply an arrest — and may result in follow-up questions by the Dean of Students with subsequent supplementation by the student regarding the ultimate outcome of the case. Our focus at all times is on the underlying behavior. For those arrests that are referred to the University Judiciary Committee (and only where the underlying offense falls within the UJC’s jurisdiction), a UJC hearing is generally delayed until the underlying criminal matter is fully resolved in court. However, we believe it is important to know in a timely fashion when a student has been charged with a crime.
    So, if an adult student were arrested for a weapons violation, like ... let's see, Brandishing, and the charge was later Nol Pross'd, then that student would have to disclose that arrest to the University. So, how would they treat that person?

    But hey, Groves says it's working, so it must be good:
    The mandatory reporting system for student arrest and convictions that the University of Virginia implemented in the wake of Yeardley Love’s May 2010 death is working, said Dean of Students Allen W. Groves.

    The system has brought mainly misdemeanor alcohol offenses to administrators’ attention, Groves said, calling them “the vast majority” of the small number of disclosures. Students have disclosed a handful of felony issues (though felony charges are often reduced to misdemeanors in the court), he said.

    Groves estimates the total number of disclosures at less than 2 percent of the student body. He declined to say if any students have been asked to leave the university as a result of disclosures, citing student confidentiality rules.

  14. #14
    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Allen Groves cites student confidentiality rules!!

    That would almost be funny if the university were not demanding arrest records (not just convictions) something that no prudent employer would ever do. Seems to be they are opening themselves up for a major law suit.
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training.” Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SFCRetired View Post
    Yes, mugshots and arrest records are public record.
    No....they're not!
    Police records that involve a criminal investigation...even low level offenses, are exempted and may only be released if the department wants to. The court records are public but not the Police files.

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    Regular Member USNA69's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Repeater View Post
    Remember Yeardley Love? Remember George Huguely?

    Well, the University of Virginia, a place where self-defense is not welcome, instituted a policy requiring all new students to disclose ANY arrest record they may have. As I interpret the policy, any student with an arrest record will be investigated; any student with an undisclosed arrest record will be expelled.

    Why the draconian change in policy? As explained by Allen Groves, Dean of Students:


    So, if an adult student were arrested for a weapons violation, like ... let's see, Brandishing, and the charge was later Nol Pross'd, then that student would have to disclose that arrest to the University. So, how would they treat that person?

    But hey, Groves says it's working, so it must be good:
    If the assumption is that a previous arrest might indicate a propensity to commit future violent acts, e.g. Yeardley Love, then should not the UVA Faculty and Staff also be asked to supply the same information? Why would their prior arrests not also indicate a propensity to commit future violent acts? Hmmmm???

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by USNA69 View Post
    If the assumption is that a previous arrest might indicate a propensity to commit future violent acts, e.g. Yeardley Love, then should not the UVA Faculty and Staff also be asked to supply the same information? Why would their prior arrests not also indicate a propensity to commit future violent acts? Hmmmm???
    Are you suggesting that what is good for the goose is good also for the gooseherd? Oh my!
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training.” Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Repeater View Post
    Remember Yeardley Love? Remember George Huguely?

    Well, the University of Virginia, a place where self-defense is not welcome, instituted a policy requiring all new students to disclose ANY arrest record they may have. As I interpret the policy, any student with an arrest record will be investigated; any student with an undisclosed arrest record will be expelled.
    I suspect no punitive action has been taken as a result of this policy, because as soon as it happens, I suspect the lawsuit would be quick to follow. I can't imagine any punitive action based on a mere arrest would stand Constitutional muster.

    Sort of like the GFSZA, the mere existence of the policy/law on the books is the deterrent, even if no direct action ever takes place using it.

    TFred

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