Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi plans on releasing the names of all people arrested for DWI (driving while intoxicated) over the Memorial Day weekend. Hopefully, executives, legislators and other politicians in Westchester, Rockland, Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island don’t follow in his foot steps in circumventing the criminal justice system. Not only does he plan on releasing these folks’ names and addresses, but he is providing the local media with their photographs and urging them to release this information.
We can all agree that DWI is an extremely dangerous and potentially a life altering/ending crime for the driver of a vehicle as well as passengers and others on the road. There is just no excuse for it. However, releasing the accused’s name prior to a conviction is not only presuming guilt instead of innocence, but is nothing short of a smear and scarlet letter. Now, we can all agree to disagree, but maybe Mr. Suozzi should be more tactful, professional, and less grand standing in his pursuit of finding a deterrent for what is objectively a terrible crime. If Mr. Suozzi wants to deter people (and rightfully so) from this behavior and insists on making public names, photographs and addresses, then why not at least wait until there is a conviction and why not do it regularly as opposed to doing it for one holiday weekend? Anyone can be arrested for a crime anytime. An arrest is not evidence of guilt.
As a former prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and an experienced criminal defense attorney, Jeremy Saland knows that people are often accused and sometimes convicted of crimes they did not commit. History teaches us that not only are cases dismissed prior to trial, but people have been incarcerated for years only to be exonerated at a later date. Therefore, in order to protect not only your rights, but your integrity and livelihood, you need to contact a criminal defense attorney who will aggressively fight to get you the best possible outcome in your case and put you where you need, and want, to be.