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No, we can't.

Posted Monday, August 27, 2007, at 3:04 PM

Just need to get this out there.

No, we can't leave your name out of the paper if you get busted.

I can't tell you how many times we get this request. It has to be the most popular question asked of us... and usually in desperate tones.

And it's just not here. I'll bet that each paper in every state in the country must field this request several times a week.

This comes up because I got a call Sunday night from a close friend who was asking the dreaded question on behalf of an acquaintance of his. This acquaintance of my friend happened to remember that "hey, he knows that newspaper guy."

The conversation went something like this:

"Hey, [person in question] got popped on driving on revoked last night and wants to know if you can keep it out of the paper."

"Dude ... you know the answer to that. No!"

"I know, I know ... but he won't leave me alone about it. He's worried about losing his job."

"Why is he asking me? We went through this the last time with the first DUI..."

"I know..."

"...and I haven't worked for that paper for over five years. I told him that then. Even if I did work there, I couldn't do it anyways."

"That's what I said ... but he won't quit bugging me about it. He's worried sick."

"Well, maybe he should have thought of that before he got behind the wheel."

Five years ago, I was confronted with the same thing at another paper. Except this guy had just been let out of jail after getting a DUI and he made a bee-line to the paper. He was literally in tears, begging me to leave it out of the police blotter.

"This will ruin my business. I will have to let my people go." He tried every ploy in the book to get us to drop it and then blamed me personally for anything else that was to befall him and his workers due to his own actions.

So, no we can't leave your name out. Before you get in the car, or do whatever it is you feel like doing, think about the consequences. Think hard.

And remember that there's a reason they call them public records.


Comments
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"How could she even appear in court without her parents since she is a juvenile."

Well, it was city court and everything there are civil, not criminal charges. There was even a city code violation being dealt with along with all the traffic stuff.

However, that same day, a young lad had to face the music for his first ticket. His father was there and stood in the back with his arms crossed and a big smile on his face as the judge gave a little lecture on the importance of responsibility and driving.

As for the young lady in question - you have to ask yourself this: Who is the most to blame for the situation she found herself in - the kid for her continued reckless actions, the parents who don't keep an close eye on their reckless kid ...or both?

-- Posted by Brian Mosely on Tue, Aug 28, 2007, at 3:41 PM

I've been told by a law firm employee that they have to read the jail intake to see what their clients are truly charged with. Supposedly some actually lie to their lawyers about the charges.

-- Posted by David Melson on Tue, Aug 28, 2007, at 12:39 PM

I didn't know that minor's could appear in court by themselves. I know the one time I have had a speeding ticket I was about 2 months shy of my 18th birtday and I had to take my Dad, not only that but Mr. Bobo asked me if he was there. Possibly because he knows the both of us, but shouldn't it be a required thing?

-- Posted by sambntn on Tue, Aug 28, 2007, at 11:42 AM

Well, If we start refusing to put names in the paper, where do we draw the line? For example, I'm sure that everyone would want to know about who is on this list:

http://www.ticic.state.tn.us/sorinternet...

Everyone would agree that information like this needs to be available, yet there are a few who says this is a violation of the sex offender's privacy and is solely made public to humiliate them. I doubt many would agree.

We don't publish the names in the T-G to embarrass the people who run afoul of the law. We do it to inform the public. That's our job.

Just this morning, I took another call from a tearful young lady who begged me not to put her name in the paper. The ladies up front who answer and direct our calls here at the T-G have told us that over the past two days, they have gotten a lot of requests of this type.

At another paper, we had people get angry because we would list the value of a home in the real estate transactions and told us that that was an invasion of privacy. One lady threatened to sue over it. Yet, all these records are anyone's for the taking. All they have to do is go to the various county and city offices and ask for it. It is public information and they can be accessed on the Internet as well.

By the way, the reason the lady got upset over the value of the property being listed is because she was suppose to split it with her family per a last will and testament. She told her relatives one thing, the county records said another.

About the thing about putting minor's names in the paper, there's a difference between the jail intake logs, and public record, which lists the traffic tickets and such. In the public record, all those names are lumped together and has no age given. A 16 year old getting his first ticket is right up there with grandma running a stop sign. If a minor is involved in an accident, that can be published, but an arrest can not be. If it involves a kid, the arrest report will have "juvenile" stamped on it in LARGE RED LETTERS and we wouldn't run it.

But on the minor thing, there's a bit of a flip side I recently witnessed. Remember that story on city court I did a few weeks back? That day, there was a 17 year-old girl on the verge of losing her driver's license after several reckless driving charges. Her parents were not even aware she was in court and was facing charges.

So what should we have done then? FYI and discussion.

-- Posted by Brian Mosely on Tue, Aug 28, 2007, at 10:38 AM

They are only charged; guilt or innocence will be determined by the courts.

This is listed above the jail intake. I personally like to read this for the simple fact that I have 3 children in this county and I want to know who and what to watch out for. You can never have enough information to protect your children.

-- Posted by robashally on Tue, Aug 28, 2007, at 10:18 AM

I really don't know why they have a blotter in the paper other than to sell papers because they are not required to do so. I admit that I read the blotter to see if I know anyone but would be mortified if I knew my name would be listed in it(which I plan on never finding out). Sometimes I think it does cross the line because these individuals are basically being seen as guilty before they even have a trial. I think it would be best to print the names after they have been to court. Oh well, its a small town and people like to know the gossip and that's why its printed.

Like Brian said . . . the best thing to do is make sure and keep yourself out of trouble.

Also, what is the point of printing the divorce section? That seems tacky to me . . .especially when kids are involved.

-- Posted by jaxspike on Tue, Aug 28, 2007, at 10:04 AM

If you don't want the town to know, don't do it. I personally like to read the jail intake along with the court blotter and marriages and divorces on Friday. If that makes me nosey, so be it.

-- Posted by sambntn on Tue, Aug 28, 2007, at 8:15 AM

Actually, I find it downright insulting to run peoples names in the newspaper when they are arrested. They were arrested, not yet found guilty...yet. Btw, why weren't the firemen/arsonists names omitted from the latest article, it was a hasty generalization of what happened, nothing regarding who it happened to?

-- Posted by Evil Monkey on Tue, Aug 28, 2007, at 12:36 AM

Betty, I'm sure you're correct. I would bet that the Tennessean would have to add an extra section for this. I think the reason that they "can't" omit someone's name from this list is simply a matter of integrity. If you're going to print some of the names, you have to print all of the names. Personally, I am nosey, and like to read these. Oh, and am I the only one that's noticed the abundance of hispanic sounding names that have been arrested for "no driver's license"? Where are we on that 287G thing?

-- Posted by Thom on Mon, Aug 27, 2007, at 9:31 PM

Having recently moved here from Nashville, I'm not sure that the Tennessean could run all the names of those arrested. What a lengthy list that would be.

-- Posted by bettybrown on Mon, Aug 27, 2007, at 7:49 PM

The names do not have to be printed. Just because it is a public record does not mean it has to be put in a private publication. It is done simply to sell papers. If some one wanted to know the names they could contact the same people the paper does to get the names.

-- Posted by deathtongue on Mon, Aug 27, 2007, at 7:37 PM

Because nosey people like to see such and such's cousin in the paper for something. 'Famous in a Small Town' is the truth!

Why is the city paper allowed to publish minors name's in the paper??

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Mon, Aug 27, 2007, at 7:10 PM

I am curious as to why small local papers do run who gets busted and for what, when the Tennessean and the Chattanooga Times(which I subscribe to) doesn't? It's an honest question that I have often wondered about. Neither have a local list of people arrested the night before.

-- Posted by Vindicated on Mon, Aug 27, 2007, at 4:31 PM


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Brian Mosely is a staff writer for the Times-Gazette.
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