Saturday, May 18, 2013

Arlington, MA, Police Arrest Innocent Man in New York

Not really.

But the reporting of the arrest here: and here: bumps up against one of my pet peeves.
Mr. ___ is innocent until proven guilty.
If he is "innocent", why did they arrest him? What they are talking about is the constitutional presumption of innocence. The presumption of innocence says that we must treat a criminal defendant AS IF he is innocent until he is proven guilty. Mr. ___ may actually be innocent. His arrest on a warrant just means that the police thought and convinced a judge or magistrate that they had probable cause to believe he had committed a crime. What the APD should have said in its press release, and what I will say here, is "The charges are only allegations at this point. Mr. ___ is presumed innocent until proven guilty."

In actuality, if someone IS actually innocent, he will remain that way EVEN IF he is convicted in court. Unfortunately, we have way too many incidents of innocent people being convicted or even pleading to crimes to ignore the irony of misrepresenting the constitutional provision.

Innocent people are convicted but they remain innocent nonetheless.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Protected by confidentiality laws. Really?

What part of "This case and the details related to the newborn are protected by confidentiality laws."?

They include a picture of the mother, her name, what she is in jail charged with and that her newborn was taken into protective custody by FL DCF. The only part of the case details they did not include was the name of the "family members" with whom the infant has been placed.

Are there confidentiality laws protecting anyone in the case or not?

WAIT - here's another one:

Also Florida.  A local doctor made a report to DCF and the police. It was the doctor, "whose name was not released under Florida’s confidentiality laws"!

As to the teen who is the alleged perpetrator, his name, the town he lives in, his picture and the offense he is being charged with were all reported.

Why are reporters, especially mandated reporters, having their identities protected? Where is the protection for the accused? For the children involved in the cases?