Disclosing names a bad idea

What we have here is a case of a continuum of exquisite erosion of our civil liberties when a newspaper editor asks for names of those having been arrested for a crime and wants to publish those names prior to sentencing.

People are innocent until proven guilty, and people are proven guilty in court proceedings. Some arrests are reversed. If a newspaper publishes names of individuals arrested, there is an assumption of guilt. People here don't have the anonymity of, say, New York City; this is a very small, intimate Valley.

If names are published prior to sentencing, and if the public presumes guilt, and if the party is innocent and if the charges are dismissed, how many eons do you think it will take to reverse the damage caused to someone's reputation in this Valley?

We're not talking about criminals, we're talking about our families and neighbors. They'd be shunned. I'm stunned.

Shiela Hunter


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