Monday, July 9, 2012

Shawnee Kansas man in hot water after posting mugshots of people arrested in Kansas.

Well as if there wasn't enough negative stigma around someone that has been arrested, someone has taken it to a new level.  A Kansas man has created a website that posts up the mugshots of people arrested in Johnson County.  Now this is kinda a jerk thing to do but this has already been done.  The Johnson County sheriff's office already does this with inmates, so that relatives and such can confirm who has been arrested and have some basic information about their charges.  But this guy took it a step further.  Way further.  He then promoted the website and charged people to take their picture and information off the site.

Imagine.  You get arrested for something as simple as failure to register your car. (Pretty common especially since the Kansas Department of revenue just went through a huge computer system problem that lasted for months) This jerk takes your photo and blasts it all over the internet.  Then you go and try to get a new job, or have a job interview.  The employer searches your name on google. Bam they come up on this moron's website. Not good.

So then after people start calling this jerk asking to have their name taken off the website, what does this jerk do?  He charges them nearly $200.00 to take it down.  This guy is a total bottom feeder.  Here is the article that inspired this post.

SHAWNEE, Kan. (AP) — A northeastern Kansas man whose website posted mug shots and addresses of people arrested in Johnson County — then asked for up to $200 to take them down — is defending the site in the wake of a massive backlash from critics who complained it took advantage of people who hadn't been convicted of anything.  Matthew Creed, 30, of Shawnee, said he developed the website,, as a community service to help make people aware of potential lawbreakers in their area.  "That was the biggest thing, to make others aware of those that were living around them that were breaking the law and to try to get those breaking the law to think twice about their future actions," Creed said Friday.  Critics slammed the website, which launched in May, saying it was akin to extortion or blackmail. The Johnson County District Attorney's office said Friday it was continuing to investigate whether Creed had violated any state laws.

"This guy is just a bottom-feeding vulture," said Jay Norton, a lawyer in Johnson County who represented some people featured on the website. "The idea that he was trying to help the community is a total farce." Creed's website featured a map of the Kansas City metro area with dots showing the Kansas or Missouri hometowns of people arrested in Johnson County. Clicking on the dots brought up the mugshots and addresses of people arrested — whether they were formally charged, much less convicted, The Kansas City Star reported ( ).  Some of the photos were of people arrested for such infractions as being a minor in possession of tobacco or driving with expired registration.

Creed said Friday that the current version of the site was an initial test version and that it hasn't yet been fully realized. The site was temporarily offline late Thursday but was back up Friday evening.  "It's going through a transition," Creed said. He said in the future, he would like the website to focus more on charges related to drugs, alcohol, sex abuse and child support nonpayment, and perhaps eliminate some of the lesser charges.
Numerous websites post news of arrests, and often include mug shots. Some offer people a way to get such postings removed for a fee. Creed struck a nerve by combining both features, including an elaborate scale of payments to remove photos and arrest information from the site — $199.99 for prompt removal, $149.99 for removal within a few days.

Creed said he is seeking to have the site established as a nonprofit and intends to give 40 percent of proceeds to other charities. As an alternative to charging for removal of postings, he suggested he could do it if a person performed 180 hours of community service.  Creed said he knew he was delving into gray areas of the law but thought his business model was legal.  Wayne Logan, law professor at Florida State University, said Friday that Creed doesn't have any legal authority "to impose community service on anybody" and that while websites like Creed's may be legal, they also raise ethical concerns because they're "trying to make money off other peoples' misfortunes."  "Of course these are arrests, not convictions very often, so there's an important distinction there," Logan said.  Citing "Wanted" posters, Logan said people have been publishing information about suspected criminals for decades, but noted that the online factor in naming and shaming is different.

"The Internet is both more pervasive and more permanent. The reputational ramifications are much more significant," Logan said. "There's a kind of perverse gratification people get from looking at other people being in difficult circumstances."

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