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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

California: DUI Mug Shots on Facebook?

These days, Facebook can be used as a replacement for real world activities --- it could be a way to meet people, a way to keep in touch with friends, it could become a market place, a forum for bands and now, a proposal from a councilman in Huntington Beach wants to turn it into a bulletin board for repeat DUI offenders.

Devin Dwyer, the councilman behind the proposal claims that if it takes shaming people to keep them safe, then it is worth proposing. The proposal is being done in the hope that it would prevent people from drinking and driving.

Hungtington, a beachside resort with a lot of popular bars and restaurants, leads the state, among cities of its size, in DUI arrests.

Randall Bertz, an attorney who specializes in DUI cases Disagrees. "The proposal could only become a negative message to the community". He does not see it as an effective deterent to habitual drunk drivers.

Police spokesman Lt. Russel Reinhart sees no value in posting DUI mug shots on Facebook. Since the launching of their official Facebook page, he has seen its potential as a means for immediately and effectively dissiminating important messages to the community but not as a means for displaying community members at their worst.

The suspects may not feel its sting, but it is family members that are of concern. Children of suspects may become targets for bullying in school, as an example.

Arrest records, along with mug shots are public information in California, as they are in most states, but some feel that "convicting someone on Facebook" before they are convicted in an actual trial is innappropriate. It doesn’t teach, but coerces people into not drinking and driving.

This Tuesday, Dwyer's proposal will be up for voting by the seven-member council.

Calif. City Considers DUI Mug Shots on Facebook

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