Mayor Rebuked; Club Re-Opens | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Mayor Rebuked; Club Re-Opens

On June 26, around 3 a.m, 21-year-old LaKita Williams was shot to death while leaving the Upper Level Sports Bar at 4125 Northside Drive. Gunmen sprayed bullets so randomly that five others were also injured as they were leaving the club. Jackson police investigations reveal that Williams and the other five were not the intended targets, with no statement yet on who exactly was.

Jackson resident Michael Bridges, 21, was the third person charged with murder in the crime. He joins Jeremy Marshall, 19, arrested recently for murder and multiple aggravated assaults and a 16-year-old, arrested earlier this month for the same crime. The Jackson Free Press does not publish names of accused minors.

With the shooting being the second near the club within a 30-day period, Jackson Mayor Frank Melton said the club itself was at fault and moved to press Hinds Chancery Judge Patricia Wise to close the business as a public nuisance.

The nightclub closed July 5 as a result of a temporary injunction. Facing more permanent closure, club owners worked out a deal with the court. The club owners agreed to hire two off-duty police officers, submit to fire inspections and city code checks, expand and better maintain parking areas, administer background checks for all employees and discourage loitering.

The club was slated to re-open last Friday, even though Melton and his attorney Dale Danks said earlier that week that there had been a disagreement between club owners and the city concerning security measures at the business.

Attorney Edna Stringer, who is also representing Johnson, said everything was clear between the club and the city July 22.

"All of the semantics have been worked out," Stringer said, including the potential expenses of expanding the parking lot. "The parking lot already accommodates what the city ordinance requires."

Attorney Chokwe Lumumba, who is also representing Johnson, claims the club should not be held responsible for what happens outside its walls.

"The club was not at fault for the death of the young lady, and the club was not responsible for the shooting that occurred previously. Neither one of these shootings were in the club," Lumumba said. "The most recent shooting was not even within 300 yards of the club. The person who did the shooting had never been in the club in his life. He was a 16-year-old kid. And the only connection with the club at all was that the young lady … was coming out of the club. I don't think you can hold the club responsible for that."

Melton claims his experience at the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics had revealed a record of heavy drug use within the club. According to his complaint, Johnson was responsible for knowing the club didn't have proper security protecting customers and that it failed to stop criminal activity from happening. He also said the club was selling alcohol to people younger than 21 and that police officers had reported more recent drug use within the club.

"Undercover (Jackson police officers) have seen significant amounts of drugs in that club," Melton told reporters.

Lumumba said it was impossible to prevent every patron from using drugs in a club. "The owners of the club, because they know they have been under strict scrutiny, they've done everything they can to prevent people from smoking marijuana. But you can walk into any club, including the so-called high-class ones here in the city of Jackson, and in most cases somebody's going to be lighting up a marijuana cigarette somewhere in there and getting away with it," Lumumba said.

"We can't say nobody's smoked in there, but we can say that it's not encouraged and the ownership has done what they can to suppress it."

Stringer said the club has never knowingly sold liquor to people under age. "I don't think there's anyplace where somebody with a false I.D. can't get into if they want to bad enough. If underage sales were going on then no one brought it to our attention, not the police, not the undercover officers, not the ABC (Mississippi Alcoholic Beverage Control) or anyone," Stringer said.

"(The club owners) were never given the opportunity to address this. If that had been the case, surely it would have been addressed, but they have never been cited for doing anything like that. They've never been cited for anything."

City attorney Sarah O'Reilly Evans did not return calls.

Lumumba criticized Melton for not targeting higher-class clubs for illicit drug use. "Brother Melton kind of rode in on his political high horse. I'm all for making the Jackson community as safe as possible, but I think his way about it up until this point I absolutely, unalterably have to disagree with. I don't think he's going to take (this scrutiny) to any club that will politically injure his reputation, like some of the gentleman's clubs. I don't expect him to ride down on them," Lumumba said.

The club opened for a private convention July 22. Attorneys for Johnson say the club should be running at original capacity in two weeks.

Previous Comments

ID
64636
Comment

It's nice that the minor's name was omitted from the report. Unfortunately, WJTV plastered his name and face all over the TV. I know of the family since they live near me, and they have had issues with the deliquency of the young ones in the family for as long as I can recall. The family is very large, and with so many underage grandchildren and great-grandchildren, I don't think they are capable of keeping track of them all.

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2005-07-27T22:08:03-06:00
ID
64637
Comment

Did the shooting occur on the property?

Author
1jadednewyorker
Date
2005-07-28T13:02:22-06:00
ID
64638
Comment

Article: "Attorney Edna Stringer, who is also representing Johnson, said everything was clear between the club and the city July 22." Who is "Johnson?" This individual is referenced several times in the article but is never identified. Proofreading, anyone???

Author
This user is on probation for trolling.
Date
2005-07-28T14:16:59-06:00
ID
64639
Comment

There was probably a last-minute and accidental cut of first reference for space, Cap'n. I'll check with Adam and post an update. Thanks, L.W. It amazes me how media have loosened up on their own ethics about printing names and photos of accused minors.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-07-28T15:03:16-06:00
ID
64640
Comment

The Johnson reference should have been "owner Sandra Moore Johnson, of Edwards." Thanks for pointing that out, Cap'n.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-07-28T15:53:40-06:00
ID
64641
Comment

Thanks. . no rudeness intended, but it is a crucial distinction.

Author
This user is on probation for trolling.
Date
2005-07-28T16:18:41-06:00
ID
64642
Comment

No rudeness taken. It's kind of lie your fly being open -- you want to know about it. ;-)

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-07-28T16:23:55-06:00
ID
64643
Comment

L.W. -- "It's nice that the minor's name was omitted from the report. Unfortunately, WJTV plastered his name and face all over the TV." Journalists shouldn't have the burden of not publishing the names and faces of minors, given accused minors (specifically this minor) can and should in many instances, be tried as adults.

Author
K RHODES
Date
2005-07-29T14:25:11-06:00
ID
64644
Comment

"the burden of not publishing K, I don't even know what that means. Not publishing a minor's face or name is no "burden" for media outletsóno more than having and following other ethical and moral codes. It's just the right thing to do (or not to do).

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-07-29T14:45:11-06:00
ID
64645
Comment

Ladd -- "K, I don't even know what (burden) means Perhaps obligated would have been a better word. Ladd -- "It's just the right thing to do (or not to do)." This seems more an opinion based upon individual morality, and not journalismís codes and ethics.

Author
K RHODES
Date
2005-07-29T15:16:25-06:00
ID
64646
Comment

You're still not making sense, K. I don't get the obligated reference, either. When most people speak of "morality" and "ethics," they are speaking of what their opinions of those things are. So that's a duh. Otherwise, explain to me why news outlets need to report the names and photographs of an accused minor ó unless he/she is a serial killer on the loose, or some such extenuating circumstance that helps the community apprehend them or such. Then once you tell me that, I'll tell you the reasons we shouldn'tóif those aren't obvious already.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-07-29T15:20:23-06:00
ID
64647
Comment

Ladd -- "You're still not making sense, K. I don't get the obligated reference, either.When most people speak of "morality" and "ethics," they are speaking of what their opinions of those things are. So that's a duh." Regarding both ìburden and obligatedî I meant the media should individually have the right to publish the names and faces of juveniles without risk of legal ramifications. Ladd -- "Otherwise, explain to me why news outlets need to report the names and photographs of an accused minor ó unless he/she is a serial killer on the loose, or some such extenuating circumstance that helps the community apprehend them or such. Then once you tell me that, I'll tell you the reasons we shouldn'tóif those aren't obvious already." Our basic democracy entitles society with being privy to those of whic stand accused of having committed a crime, albeit if they are minors.

Author
K RHODES
Date
2005-07-29T16:05:33-06:00
ID
64648
Comment

Regarding both ìburden and obligatedî I meant the media should individually have the right to publish the names and faces of juveniles without risk of legal ramifications. K, I didn't say a single thing about "legal ramifications." Ethical and legal can be the same, but they often are not. I'm talking about doing the right thing, regardless of legal ramifications. I see now why your comments don't make sense; we're not even talking about the same thing. Now, my turn. Are you familiar with the Ryan Harris case in Chicagoóthe brutal murder of a little girl. Two little boys were accused of her murder and then later "confessed." They were dragged in front of TV cameras, and the authorities made a lot of noise about prosecuting them as adults. The only problem (or one of them): They were innocent, and the confession was coerced. Meantimeóyou guessed itótheir exoneration didn't get nearly the coverage that their arrest and accusations did. We often use this case in journo grad school to talk about the ethics of journalism and newsgathering, especially when it comes to minors. I figure a good rule of thumb in life and journalism and business and politics is: Just because you can (legally or otherwise) don't mean you should. And when it comes to revealing the images and names of accused minors, we should not unless there are extenuating circumstances, as I mentioned above.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-07-29T16:31:44-06:00
ID
64649
Comment

Ladd -- "K, I didn't say a single thing about "legal ramifications." Ethical and legal can be the same, but they often are not. I'm talking about doing the right thing, regardless of legal ramifications. I see now why your comments don't make sense; we're not even talking about the same thing. Now, my turn. Are you familiar with the Ryan Harris case in Chicagoóthe brutal murder of a little girl. Two little boys were accused of her murder and then later "confessed." They were dragged in front of TV cameras, and the authorities made a lot of noise about prosecuting them as adults. The only problem (or one of them): They were innocent, and the confession was coerced. Meantimeóyou guessed itótheir exoneration didn't get nearly the coverage that their arrest and accusations did. We often use this case in journo grad school to talk about the ethics of journalism and newsgathering, especially when it comes to minors. I figure a good rule of thumb in life and journalism and business and politics is: Just because you can (legally or otherwise) don't mean you should. And when it comes to revealing the images and names of accused minors, we should not unless there are extenuating circumstances, as I mentioned above." So noted is your stance regarding withholding the names and faces of minors. In regards to the case you specifically mentionóand most other similar woeful cases--, the media neither directly nor indirectly caused these boys to be falsely accused, arrested, and subsequently charged with a crime they didnít commit, but rather an inept police department and D.A. office seems largely at fault!

Author
K RHODES
Date
2005-07-29T17:56:40-06:00
ID
64650
Comment

Oh, no, K, that's not the whole story here. There is a very detailed documentary about the role the media played in this terrible story. However, even your saying that is missing the point. I am not looking for a way to abdicate responsibility of the media by saying that they weren't at "fault" or that they wereóthe point is that by rushing these kids' names and images into newspaper and onto television, we are potentially scarring them for life. It's kind of like the photo of the Lanier kid that The Clarion-Ledger ran on the front page with a story about kids failing the state tests there. Except that, well, the kid passed his tests. He was mortified, and his mother bought all the papers at their local story and threw them out. Again, just because we can identify children doesn't mean we should. And most people don't want their own kids splashed all over the mediaóat least before they are convicted of something. If then. You can't just belittle this ethical concern by saying that it's not the media's "fault" or "legal" concern. Media folks abdicate our own personal responsibility too often without regard to the outcome. But we should NEVER do it with children's faces attached. There is no excuse for it.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-07-29T18:02:53-06:00
ID
64651
Comment

Ladd -- "Oh, no, K, that's not the whole story here. There is a very detailed documentary about the role the media played in this terrible story." I will research this case further, I am sure you are right in your saying that it is much more complex. Ladd -- "However, even your saying that is missing the point. I am not looking for a way to abdicate responsibility of the media by saying that they weren't at "fault" or that they wereóthe point is that by rushing these kids' names and images into newspaper and onto television, we are potentially scarring them for life. It's kind of like the photo of the Lanier kid that The Clarion-Ledger ran on the front page with a story about kids failing the state tests there. Except that, well, the kid passed his tests. He was mortified, and his mother bought all the papers at their local story and threw them out. Again, just because we can identify children doesn't mean we should. And most people don't want their own kids splashed all over the mediaóat least before they are convicted of something. If then. You can't just belittle this ethical concern by saying that it's not the media's "fault" or "legal" concern. Media folks abdicate our own personal responsibility too often without regard to the outcome. But we should NEVER do it with children's faces attached. There is no excuse for it." Weíll have to agree to disagree on this, because while the media isnít perfect (hows that for an understatement) I cannot advocate withholding minorsí names and faces when they stand accused of having committed a crime.

Author
K RHODES
Date
2005-07-29T18:24:37-06:00
ID
64652
Comment

I cannot advocate withholding minorsí names and faces when they stand accused of having committed a crime. You haven't said why or why not. And this is pretty general statement. Do you mean no minors, accused of any crime, by anyone? Do you draw any lines here? I'm not sure I've ever seen anyone take such a liberal view on this. I truly don't get it.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-07-29T18:35:50-06:00
ID
64653
Comment

Donna, do you have any references we can refer to re: ethics in journalism?

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2005-07-29T18:42:40-06:00
ID
64654
Comment

Oh, and it bears saying here that the media's over-saturated coverage of crime, and over-emphasis on youth crime, is in large part responsible for the public-policy move toward charging children as adults, as well as the police's willingness, or in some cases eagerness, to release their identities in the first place. And, no, before you repeat your flip accusation above, this part isn't just opinion. There are piles of research on this problemóhow exaggerated media coverage directly impacts public policyóand much of it is in binders in my office. (A big part of my master's emphasis was on news coverage of children, so I have tons of research to draw on.) I can tell you that the reasons to withhold children's (meaning minors') identities are much more compelling than revealing them, and not just from an individual children's rights and well-being standpoint (as if that weren't enough). It is also bad for the public to "create" these young public criminals; it contributes to recividism, and their own beliefs that they are criminals because they've been exposed to the public as criminals before they're even convicted of anything. This, in turn, comes back and bites society in the ass in the form of more crime and higher costs of rehabiliating adults who became billboards for a hungry media at a young age. Also, a huge problem is that daily he-said-she-said journalists seldom do decent follow-ups that would, in turn, show that they made mistakes or over-emphasized somethiing they shouldn't. That's a huge part of the travesty in the Ryan Harris caseóthe media didn't exactly go back and bother to exonerate these boys with the same drama with which they indicated them. Of course, had they done the moral and ethical thing, they wouldn't have revealed them in the first place, thus lessening the harm of the wrongful accusations, if not doing away with it altogether. Seldom is revealing a young suspect's identity good for anyoneósave the marketing executive in charge of ratings or newspaper sales. You know the adage: First, do no harm. Revealing minors' identities does harm without a balancing and compelling public reason to commit that harm (except in rare exceptions, as noted already).

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-07-29T18:45:38-06:00
ID
64655
Comment

How about any online references we can refer to re: ethics in journalism? I figured you already have some bookmarked so I won't have to do a search.

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2005-07-29T18:55:32-06:00
ID
64656
Comment

Yes, L.W., but most of it's on my bookshelves. ;-) I'll have to find a bit of time to find some links for you guys to some good stuff. However, you can do searches on "best practices" +journalism, and the Poynter Institute is a good place to start for all things journalism (poynter.org). Sadly, ethics about covering children have been chipped away as media have become more corporate in recent years and more focused ont he bottom line and crime sensationalism. I take the conversative approach on the topicóand the research-based one. There is no reason to identity minors in the vast, vast majority of cases.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-07-29T18:59:24-06:00
ID
64657
Comment

K Rhodes -- I cannot advocate withholding minorsí names and faces when they stand accused of having committed a crime Ladd ñ îYou haven't said why or why not. Do you mean no minors, accused of any crime, by anyone? Do you draw any lines here? I'm not sure I've ever seen anyone take such a liberal view on thisî îOh, and it bears saying here that the media's over-saturated coverage of crime, and over-emphasis on youth crime, is in large part responsible for the public-policy move toward charging children as adults, as well as the police's willingness, or in some cases eagerness, to release their identities in the first place.î îThere are piles of research on this problemóhow exaggerated media coverage directly impacts public policyóand much of it is in binders in my office. (A big part of my master's emphasis was on news coverage of childrenî. îIt is also bad for the public to "create" these young public criminals; it contributes to recividism, and their own beliefs that they are criminals because they've been exposed to the public as criminals before they're even convicted of anything. This, in turn, comes back and bites society in the ass in the form of more crime and higher costs of rehabiliating adults who became billboards for a hungry media at a young age.î Some of your wording is unabashedly indicative of your having a bleeding heart regarding minors (and seemingly convicted minors). Yes, I unequivocally advocate publishing the names and images of all minors charged with a crime, under any circumstance, if a journalist or news outlet so chooses to do so. I undertake such ìliberalî views, because I am not resolved in believing that publishing minorsí names and images is of a detriment or somehow threatens a minorís right to a fair trailÖperhaps I am naÔve in this regard. I am sure there are instances where the media has helped in exonerating minors and adults alike. Ladd, what is your stance on victimsí (i.e. adult) names and images being published, and also this past week a mother allowed her four year old daughterís image to be shown (specifically on 16 wapt) after the child had been molested. The mom stated that she wanted all to see just what a monster it would take to molest her precious daughterÖwhat is your opinion of this?

Author
K RHODES
Date
2005-07-30T12:14:18-06:00
ID
64658
Comment

Some of your wording is unabashedly indicative of your having a bleeding heart regarding minors (and seemingly convicted minors). Guilty as charged, K, except you didn't go far enough. I have a bleeding heart for my fellow human beings (and animals, for that matter) and can't quite imagine going through life otherwise. Now to the point: You still didn't answer my answer. Why SHOULD accused minors' names and photos be published? You're just answering in a negative there without adding anything new to the discussion. We alreaddy know it doesn't bother your cold, cold heart (sorry: that's payback for the "bleeding" swipe). And you haven't bothered to deal with my reasons for not publishing them, other than to call me a bleeding heart. Cheap, K, real cheap. You don't respond to the substance of my point, and just ridicule me because I care about other people and their children. Let's just say you won't be my idol anytime soon. More importantly, though, you just said nothing that is going to convince anyone except those who go around priding themselves on not being "bleeding hearts" because they don't care about other people's kids. You haven't added a thing to the discussion except a "bleeding" accusation. Oh, and while you're at it, you should go ahead and address my point how doing this does affect the rest of society, and not just those little monsters (or is it "thugs"?) you want plastered all over the TV screen before anyone has figured out if they actually did anything wrong. As for publishing victims' names and images, I think that is up to the victims themselves. Many people are regularly further victimized by the media. I'm not sure I would have done that had I been that mother, although I can see her reasoning, but at least she had a choice. The parents of kids who are accused, correctly or falsely, have no choice. And they also have no way to convince media to come back and give their kids' stories and photos equal play when they are released or the charges dropped due to lack of evidence. I'll say it again: First, do no harm.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-07-30T13:06:37-06:00
ID
64659
Comment

Ladd, I sincerely apologize for having called you a bleeding heart. It is not wrong to care about people or animals :-). I should lend greater credence to what you have said, given your authoritative view. I think the confusion you mentioned previously is still ensuing within this debate, but here is the basis of my debate. You said on a previous thread that possible legal ramifications could result regarding some of the media airing Melton questioning a minor during the ìsweepsî. I was perturbed when you chose to omit the minor suspectís name from the article, and when L.W. praised you for doing so. With that said, I am not demanding that all media publish the names and images of minors, and I respect your stance in choosing not to. However if a journalist or news outlet chooses to publish the name and image of a minor charged with a crime, they should not then face possible legal ramifications! Not once during the numerous times Iíve watched the five second clip of the minor suspect (i.e. ìThe Upper Levelî murder suspect) being led in handcuffs have I concluded that he was guilty. I only advocate journalists or news outlets that choose to publish the aforementioned, but I also respect those that choose not to. I believe the publicís interest should take precedence regarding the potential paradox created out of publishing the names and images of minors that could possibly be exonerated later, but I will research this further with a more open mind from your point of view.

Author
K RHODES
Date
2005-07-31T13:31:32-06:00
ID
64660
Comment

Don't worry about it, K. As I said, I take being called a "bleeding heart" as a compliment, especially in today's world where it's become so out of style to care about people you don't know. What was more offensive is that you meant it as a deflective insult even as you were not explaining the reasons why revealing said minor's names/images was good policy. You still are not giving any reasons *to do it*, other than repeating that it shouldn't be illegal ó as I've said repeatedly, I didn't say it should be illegal. However, what you may be confusing is an earliler discussion about a 16-year-old kid bent over a car hood by the mayor and his team and being both questioned and lectured as a bunch of TV cameras were in his face. This brings up another issue altogether: due process and Miranda issues. And there is always the possibility of civil lawsuits for such treatment of children by either the mayor and police or potentially the media, depending on the circumstances. That is not what I was discussing here, however. Fortunately, ethics nor constitutionality depend on whether an individual person -- you, for instance -- have concluded that a particular kid being shown is guilty. It is about his rights, not yours as a TV viewer. It's funny you say that you have not concluded that the Upper Level kid was guilty -- why then I wonder do you insist that his image/name be used, even saying you were "perturbed" that I chose to omit the name at least until he is determined guilty. (Which I will continue doing, so I suggest getting used to it.) This brings us back to the question that you continually resist answering: Why does the public's need to see the name/photo of a minor accused of a crime supersede the need to protect children and the problems of recividivism in society? You say the public's interest should take precedence, but you haven't once said why. And I assume you would apply this standard to any child accused of any crime in any neighborhood? (Adults, too, for that matteróincluding accused domestic abusers, child abuser, molesters and so on, understanding that these are crimes that occur equally as frequent no matter what neighborhood or socioeconomic status.)

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-07-31T14:57:15-06:00
ID
64661
Comment

"And I assume you would apply this standard to any child accused of any crime in any neighborhood? (Adults, too, for that matteróincluding accused domestic abusers, child abuser, molesters and so on, understanding that these are crimes that occur equally as frequent no matter what neighborhood or socioeconomic status." Yes! Good policy in my view would be only to publish the names and faces of minors whose guilt had been predetermined beyond any doubtÖbut this is not possible. As for why it is a good policy to publish any said minorís name or image, simply put it is necessitated by the publicís having a right to know the identity of those (albeit if they are minors) that have allegedly chosen to commit a crime. I donít agree that recidivism is inherent of the media publishing the names and faces of minors charged with a crime or that recidivism is inherent in much of any other regard to the media. In my view, the only relevant reason not to publish the names or images of any minor charged with crime is that a percentage of the minors may indeed be innocent. The basis in withholding all minors names and faces, seems to be in the interest of protecting minors (whoís guilt may later be proven) as adults, but this could potentially give them anonymity as adults to bite all of society in the but.

Author
K RHODES
Date
2005-07-31T18:18:01-06:00
ID
64662
Comment

Good policy in my view would be only to publish the names and faces of minors whose guilt had been predetermined beyond any doubtÖbut this is not possible. You're not making sense to me. Why isn't this possible? Why not wait to publish them once they're found guilty (for the sake of argument; that's not really my view, either)? But you're saying it's not possible to wait until they're found guilty. Why not? And I don't get the whole anonymity "to bite all of society in the but (sic)" part. Lots of research is out there about young people who are made into criminals, especially public ones, being more prone to commit more crimes and, thus, bite all of coiety in the but (sic). Its existence is not dependent on whether you agree with whether or not you'd like it to be there. I must say, your only relevant reason is a damn good one without all the others thrown in. And you still have given not one iota of evidence to show how the needs of the public in seeing names/faces of "accused" youth outweighs the need to protect the innocent. Come on, work harder if you're going to convince us on this one.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-07-31T20:04:51-06:00
ID
64663
Comment

BTW, glad to hear that you're consistent on your call for images of all accused criminals to be published and broadcast immediatelyóyou're very unusual in that.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-07-31T20:05:48-06:00
ID
64664
Comment

K Rhodes -- Good policy in my view would be only to publish the names and faces of minors whose guilt had been predetermined beyond any doubtÖbut this is not possible. Ladd ñ î You're not making sense to me. Why isn't this possible? Why not wait to publish them once they're found guilty (for the sake of argument; that's not really my view, either)? But you're saying it's not possible to wait until they're found guilty. Why not?î I was speaking from my perspective being that the media should not have to wait until a minorís guilt has been set forth by a court of law. Ladd ñ ìAnd I don't get the whole anonymity "to bite all of society in the but (sic)" part.î Itís simple we should not grant anonymity to criminals. If a minor is tried, convicted, given anonymity, and then goes to jail, once they are released their criminal identities are protected, at which point said anonymity gives them an advantage in recidivating. Ladd ñ î And you still have given not one iota of evidence to show how the needs of the public in seeing names/faces of "accused" youth outweighs the need to protect the innocent. Come on, work harder if you're going to convince us on this one.î Nor should I have to produce evidence. I am not attempting to have you agree with me or share in my views. Itís simply my opinion, which I am entitled to have rather you lend credence to it or not. You have said that it is not your view to publish minorsí names or faces, prior to their guilt being determined in a court of law nor after, so your stance is that of only publishing said minorsí names and faces under the following circumstances (i.e. minor is a serial killer or of an immediate danger to the public) ? I think you contribute to the growing trend in this country of making criminals into victims, and minors if determined guilty by a court of law, are certainly not victims in my view!

Author
K RHODES
Date
2005-08-01T12:43:05-06:00
ID
64665
Comment

Today on The View, Owen Lafave talked about how his ex-wife, a former schoolteacher, had an affair with a 14-year-old boy. They played a portion of their telephone conversation, and the boy's voice was distorted. On Thursday, portions of recorded phone conversations between his estranged wife and her former student were released. The student's voice has been altered to protect his identity, but the tapes do provide a glimpse of their relationship. Often sounding almost childlike herself, the former middle school teacher at times extracts "pinky promises" from the boy. Star Jones Reynolds, an attorney, said that they disguised his voice and did not reveal his name since he was a minor. She even said they had an obligation to do so, and she used to be a prosecutor. Are there different guidelines for national and local media outlets? I didn't think there would be, but I'm not a journalism expert. Even though the minor did not intentionally commit a crime in this case, I still think this a good example of what appears to be standard procedure. Also, I do believe that is possible for a criminal to be a victim - of their environment and history. As for the 16-year-old, I know that family, and it is very dysfunctional. It doesn't excuse what he may have done, but to me, it is better to rehabilitate children than to throw them in jail. They'll just look to the adult criminals and emulate them.

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2005-08-01T15:30:53-06:00
ID
64666
Comment

I agree L.W., the minor in this instance should have his indenity protected as best it can be, given the circumstance. There appears to be many gray areas regarding media guidelines. L.W. I hope youíre not proposing the judicial system only attempt to rehabilitate convicted minors without the issuance of any consequence for their crime. If the sixteen year old charged in the murder of LaKita Williams is guilty, he should not be given the opportunity (i.e. life in prison) to emulate adult criminals within society.

Author
K RHODES
Date
2005-08-02T15:23:45-06:00

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