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The two most popular items in the newspaper are the letters to the editor and police reports, and nobody in a small town wants to appear in the latter.

Often when a person is arrested they, their significant other or their parent pleads desperately for the arrestee to be left out of the Page 2 police reports.

They call with every excuse in the book regarding their innocence or why they should be treated differently.

Deciding who is innocent and who is guilty isn’t our job. That’s up to a judge.
Our job is, however, to publish public records of crimes committed in the community as a service to our residents.

Residents want and deserve to know what crimes occur where they live.

Most recently, I received what may not have been intended as, but appeared to be a bribe. It was a very generous gift from a person who had contacted me about a police report.

I explained on the telephone we do not make exceptions for anyone, and the gift certificate arrived anyway. Obviously, I won’t be using it, and the gesture was actually a bit insulting.

When people call pleading for their names to be omitted they often say, “I know you leave some people out sometimes.”

I can guarantee I’ve personally never left out a police report upon request, including for my personal friends and family members. Everyone gets the same treatment.

Recently, someone brought a newspaper to us from Texas, which consisted solely of criminal mug shots with the crime committed listed below. Everyone who broke the law from traffic violations to violent sex crimes appeared in the paper.

In Sedona, we don’t generally use mug shots, and the offender has to be arrested before his or her name is published.

Ultimately, if you don’t want to appear on Page 2, don’t get arrested.


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  • Deborah Irving, J.D.

    As a former criminal defense lawyer I can honestly say that not everyone who is arrested is guilty of the crime for which they were arrested. People do not have a choice as to whether they get arrested or not, an individual police officer makes that determination. In our culture there is a pervasive notion that "if you were arrested you must be guilty." Publishing arrests only perpetuates this false conclusion and tarnishes a person's reputation before they are convicted of a crime. In a small town, that can be devastating. Why not only publish convictions? That would be fair. Arrests in and of themselves are meaningless.

  • Daniel Holland

    I agree with Deborah Irving former criminal defense attorney. I know of many people throughout the years who were arrested and later found to be innocent or not guilty; the person's reputation forever tarnished?An arrest does not automatically equal guilty....

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