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Should the media be required to report dismissed charges??

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
http://www.ksrw.sierrawave.net/easte...knife-incident
As a gesture of civic responsibilty, one of our local media is going to publish/broadcast cases that are dismissed. The manager says that unless it is done for all dismissed cases, he is worried that if someone's name is googled in the future, only the news stories that show that someone was charged with a crime will show up.
...Should all our media who report crimes with the defendant's names also be required to follow up on the cases and announce if they've been dismissed??
post #2 of 19
I think it should be required, and for major charges, the news of the dismissal should be just as prominently displayed as the earlier reports.
post #3 of 19
An emphatic YES to that question. They certainly should.
post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcat View Post
I think it should be required, and for major charges, the news of the dismissal should be just as prominently displayed as the earlier reports.
Absolutely.
post #5 of 19
Yes. It should be a legal requirement.
post #6 of 19
EXCELLENT idea. We live in a time when the media can publicize an accusation and ruin someone's life but when it comes to reversing the damage they've already moved on to the next target.
post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2dogmom View Post
EXCELLENT idea. We live in a time when the media can publicize an accusation and ruin someone's life but when it comes to reversing the damage they've already moved on to the next target.
Yep, and people will swear on their life that, said person is guilty forever.

And the retraction should not be buried and published like Tricia said.
post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2dogmom View Post
EXCELLENT idea. We live in a time when the media can publicize an accusation and ruin someone's life but when it comes to reversing the damage they've already moved on to the next target.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckblv View Post
Yep, and people will swear on their life that, said person is guilty forever.
Indeed.

How many people's lives have been ruined over false accusations, and everyone turns a blind eye. Noone really cares about the damage they inflict, just that the story sells, or they feel good about their decision.

Heck yah, the dismissed charges should be followed up, then maybe, some of these people whose lives were impacted/ruined just might be able to get on their feet again.
post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcat View Post
I think it should be required, and for major charges, the news of the dismissal should be just as prominently displayed as the earlier reports.
They did that for OJ.
post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosemite View Post
They did that for OJ.
Did what? The media reporting the verdict of his criminal trial, accused of murder, definitely didn't mean he was innocent. I can't imagine how those who reasonable doubt must have felt the day he published a book to reap the benefits from this tragedy.
Definitely bad example.....
post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheylink View Post
Did what? The media reporting the verdict of his criminal trial, accused of murder, definitely didn't mean he was innocent. I can't imagine how those who reasonable doubt must have felt the day he published a book to reap the benefits from this tragedy.
A dismissal of charges, like a "not guilty" verdict, simply means that there is insufficient or no evidence to bring the accused to trial or to convict if the case has been tried. It's not the same as an exoneration.

IMO, that means that reports of dismissed charges or a not guilty verdict should include whether there was a lack of evidence, inconclusive evidence, or the accused was completely exonerated. There's an assumption that the general public knows that "not guilty" means "not proven", not "innocent". Anybody who has had jury duty, or is a true crime buff, would/should know that, but I doubt that "everybody" does.
post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheylink View Post
Did what? The media reporting the verdict of his criminal trial, accused of murder, definitely didn't mean he was innocent. I can't imagine how those who reasonable doubt must have felt the day he published a book to reap the benefits from this tragedy.
Definitely bad example.....
I disagree that it is a bad example. As Jcat says, not guilty does not necessarily mean not guilty but if the accusations are abundant in the press before the trial, then so should the acquittal, regardless of whether we, the public, believe there is guilt or not. After all, we weren't in the court room to know what facts, or lack of, were presented.

Michael Jackson is another example. It doesn't seem to matter how much the media reports though, we, without a thorough knowledge of what went on behind the scenes, have already made up our minds as to whether a person is guilty or not regardless of what the courts have decided.

My point in all this really is: 1. It is already done in cases of high profile/famous people; 2. Most lay people decide in their own mind if someone is innocent or guilty and it is irrelevant what the legal outcome is so does it really make any difference.

The persons close to the accused will know the truth and I believe that is more important than what John Q Public thinks with their limited knowledge of what really happened.
post #13 of 19
Report on it in the same part of the newspaper (same section, section's front page if it was front page and otherwise about the same page) and same size headline as the most prominent article about the investigation or trial. The article might not need to be as long. Include the verdict or other findings in the case and an interpretation understandable to the 99+% of the population without a law degree. This should go without saying, because if the trial was news to begin with, the trial is news when it ends!
post #14 of 19
I agree with the sentiment about reporting dismissed charges, but there is another side of the argument. If the charges were relatively minor in the first place, and the coverage was not sensational, then after a few days most people would forget and not think of it further. But if another story is published about dismissed charges, then it brings up the persons name again, and may end up being a bigger story than if it had just been left to die on its own.
post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcat View Post
A dismissal of charges, like a "not guilty" verdict, simply means that there is insufficient or no evidence to bring the accused to trial or to convict if the case has been tried. It's not the same as an exoneration.

IMO, that means that reports of dismissed charges or a not guilty verdict should include whether there was a lack of evidence, inconclusive evidence, or the accused was completely exonerated. There's an assumption that the general public knows that "not guilty" means "not proven", not "innocent". Anybody who has had jury duty, or is a true crime buff, would/should know that, but I doubt that "everybody" does.


They are considered innocent. Innocent until proven guilty. If they are proven not guilty then they are innocent just based off of that.
I don't think that people assume that just because someone proven not guilty that they didn't do it. But Peoples lifes are being ruined that are really innocent. People that never did anything but it seems logical that they may have.
There are people who are proven guilty some are put on death row that later is found with DNA evidence that they never committed the crime.
Just because one thinks someone did something doesn't mean they did, There are always going to be people that are let go that did commit a crime but they are already off the hook regardless. That is no reason to continue to let lives be ruined of people who really didn't commit a crime weather it looks like they did it or not. Because like I said there are many times when there is not enough evidence to convict someone that may seem like they did do it but they never did.
post #16 of 19
Yes, they should be forced to publish dismissed charges, or found innocent charges etc.

The media tend to jump all over stories and sensationalize. People are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, but we all know that is not the case in the public opinion. If you see a story where someone has been arrested for rape and/or murder, the person is already convicted by public opinion.

If the person is later found to be innocent and wrongly arrested, or the charges dismissed, and the media doesn't retract their story, the the person's name is mud.

The media help to convict people based on public opinion, they should be forced to exonerate them too.
post #17 of 19
Actually I think the media should ask the person involved. Some may prefer to leave it alone and not bring it up in public again, while others may want the retraction or the exoneration publicized. It should be a decision the person involved makes.
post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dusty's Mom View Post
Actually I think the media should ask the person involved. Some may prefer to leave it alone and not bring it up in public again, while others may want the retraction or the exoneration publicized. It should be a decision the person involved makes.
That's a very good point, and I think you are 100% right.
post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by rapunzel47 View Post
That's a very good point, and I think you are 100% right.
Thank you!
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