Posting Drug Dealer Photos on Web: Public Service or Scarlet Letter?


Hardin County, Oh., Prosecutor Bradford Bailey has posted the photos of 192 convicted drug dealers on his website, says the Columbus Dispatch. “Would you not want to know if somebody's a drug dealer? Would you not want to know if you were about to hire them, or they move in next door to you, or they starting hanging out with your teenage kids?” he asked. “You don't want to be the one saying, 'If only I had known …'??”

Bailey likened his list to the sex-offender registry and said he sees it as both a public service and a crime-prevention tool. “If (dealers) are selling, they are also using, and if they are using, then they're probably out there breaking into your garages and homes,” he said. Some people see that another way. The characteristics of each case are different, and so, too, is each defendant, said Barry Wilford of the Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. “This policy makes no attempt to sort out those offenders who may actually pose a threat to the community from those who do not,” he said. “It seems incongruent to accept that an offender for whom the court imposed a term of probation constituted a threat to the public.” He said the list seems bent on public shaming, and he likened it to modern-day wearing of a scarlet letter.

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