Smile, You're On D.U.I. TV

Maybe it's something in the water down in Phoenix. Now in addition to their off-the-wall Sheriff, Joe Arpaio, they have a County Attorney, Andrew Thomas, who's spending $700k on a DUI program that includes posting the mug shots of those arrested for driving under the influence on the web. Even MADD doesn't like it, and that's saying something.

The hall of shame is even worse for drunken drivers convicted of a felony. A select few will find their faces plastered on billboards around Phoenix with the banner headline: Drive drunk, see your mug shot here.

The Web site and billboards, which began last month, are the brainchildren of Andrew P. Thomas, the county attorney here who has served as the prosecutorial counterpart to the county’s hard-edged sheriff, Joe Arpaio, who has been known to force inmates into pink underwear.

Thomas is not without his critics. He's sometimes called "Little Joe" because of his closeness to Arpaio.

When he took office in January 2005, Thomas made it clear he was following Arpaio's playbook. Politics and retribution would be the order of the day.

Here's the first of 70 pages of misdemeanor mugs in Scottsdale.


While MADD says they've never heard of using the internet as a scarlet letter, it's been done before. Denver started John's TV, a webpage where you can view the mug shots of johns arrested in prostitution stings. The mugs also air on the city's cable station. As one of the Denver prostitutes remarked, when asked her opinion of publicizing the mug photos, ""Shaming has never done anything for anyone who has nowhere to go."

Here's a modified picture of Sheriff Joe in his inmates' pink underwear:

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  • Display: Sort:
    frankly, i'm surprised (none / 0) (#1)
    by cpinva on Mon Dec 10, 2007 at 07:37:52 AM EST
    someone hasn't tried to assassinate these guys yet. i'm not suggesting someone do that mind you, just expressing surprise that it hasn't occurred yet.

    someone on the edge will end up with both his picture on a billboard, and pink undied in the local hoosegow, for a D.U.I. conviction. given the ease of obtaining a gun in this country, he gets out, finds himself a piece, and goes hunting for DA and Sheriff meat.

    that said, apparently these guys represent the will of the local populace, since they were duly elected by the same.

    As mentioned, not a new concept. (none / 0) (#2)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Mon Dec 10, 2007 at 04:03:06 PM EST
    I really don't see any different between this and the City & County of Denver publishing the name and picture of those arrested/convicted of solicitation of a prostitute.  

    The practice of public shaming is an old, old tradition in this country, is it not?

    That said, I think there should be some consideration for some reduction in sentence for those unfortunate enough to be subjected to the ridicle of their neighbors.  

    Is it an effective deterrent or simply piling-on?

    Yup it is (none / 0) (#3)
    by Jen M on Mon Dec 10, 2007 at 04:42:25 PM EST
    an old BAD tradition. But then, pretty soon everyone's picture will be up for something or other. Running a red, jaywalking, wolf whistling at handsome men...

    When wolf whistling is outlawed... (none / 0) (#4)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Mon Dec 10, 2007 at 10:36:08 PM EST
    ...only wolves will have whistles?  Nobody should be able to infringe on your god given right to whistle at handsome men, Jen.  Pursuit of happiness, freedom of speech and all.  Sadly, there are some people out there that would outlaw things like "whistling in a seductive manner" or some such, given the opportunity.  

    I'm not totally convinced it (public shaming) is a bad thing for punishment of "lesser" crimes.  I'm not avocating for it either.  I haven't seen a good analysis of the effects and/or effectiveness of it.


    Go Sheriff Joe! (none / 0) (#5)
    by katmandu on Mon Jan 07, 2008 at 08:43:47 PM EST
    Not only are their pics on the internet, some
    lucky dui'rs will be put out on a billboard.
    I don't care if its effective or not, but its
    fun to scroll through the pics.
    Don't worry about jaywalkers and the like's
    pics being posted.  He only cares if you
    endanger other people's lives.  You can endanger
    your own all you want!!