Friday, December 30, 2011

Bad ideas (still) never die

Douglas Berman at Sentencing Law and Policy uncovered this article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram detailing the Tarrant County District Attorney's plan to humiliate those motorists arrested for driving while intoxicated over the New Year's weekend.

Since DA Joe Shannon is into recycling (bad) old ideas from other parts of the state - I thought I would recycle a post I wrote back in December 2009 after the Montgomery County DA's Office thought it would be a terrific idea to post the names of those arrested for driving while intoxicated on Twitter.

When will these clowns grasp the concept that a person is presumed innocent unless the state can prove each and every element of the criminal offense beyond all reasonable doubt? It really isn't that hard to get it.

Here's the updated post. Have a safe holiday weekend and remember that the easiest way to avoid a DWI this weekend is not to drive if you've been drinking.
The Montgomery Tarrant County District Attorney's Office has found a new way to humiliate those unfortunate motorists who have been arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated -- they are posting their names on Twitter the DA's website.
Assistant District Attorney Warren Diepraam Joe Shannon said believes that the public humiliation should act as a deterrent to others who might get behind the wheel after drinking.
Nevermind that being arrested is a very different thing than being convicted and that a person who's been arrested is still innocent unless proven guilty. And of course the police never make wrongful arrests. And of all people, Montgomery County DA Brett Ligon should know better -- after all, he used to be a criminal defense attorney. 
My question is should the DA dismiss a case against a motorist or should a motorist be acquitted by a jury of his peers, will Mr. Diepraam Shannon offer a public apology on Twitter the DA's website as well? Even more important, will a person filing for an expunction in Montgomery Tarrant County need to serve Twitter the ISP hosting the DA's website and other social networking sites, or will the judge sign an order requiring the DA's Office to notify those sites to remove all reference to the arrest of that individual?

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