In response to a letter from the ACLU of Colorado, the Weld County Sheriff’s Office posted a disclaimer on their online arrest report website ensuring that no observer visiting the site would believe that the report listed persons who had been convicted of committing a crime. The online arrest report contains the names and criminal charges of daily arrestees in Weld County. Prior to the ACLU of Colorado’s letter, the website contained no information or disclaimer regarding the meaning of the arrest report.
The ACLU of Colorado received a complaint alleging that an employer viewing the online arrest report had fired his employee, believing that the employee had been convicted of the crimes listed on the arrest report. Shortly after the arrest, however, the district attorney declined to even press charges for crimes for which the employee was arrested. In response to the ACLU of Colorado’s concerns, the Weld County Sheriff’s Office added the following disclaimer to its website:
The arrest records available through this website are public information. Any indication of an arrest does not mean the individual identified has been convicted of a crime. All persons arrested are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Said ACLU of Colorado Staff Attorney Taylor Pendergrass, “This small but significant change serves to lessen the possibility of prejudicing any arrestee’s case or misinforming the public. While a daily arrest log may appropriately be public information, law enforcement agencies must be careful to provide such information in a considered and appropriate context.”
Taylor Pendergrass , ACLU of Colorado Staff Attorney
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