Introducing New Laws
Guilty Until Proven Innocent?
I can say with honesty that I am one of the most kind and empathetic individual's a person could ever meet. A co-worker said to me one day, "Sherry, do you have a mean bone in your body at all?" My answer to that was, "Oh yes....if someone messes with my kids!" In fact, there are two things that will put me in FIGHT mode and I become like a soldier in battle. ONE, if someone harms a member of my family, especially my children, and TWO, if someone touches my bank account. As a result of what happened on July 26, 2014, I have been in fight mode ever since. My family's reputation was harmed and it also created financial hardship when we had to borrow money from family members and pull money from our retirement account to fight these accusations. The anger I felt over this incident began to eat away at my soul. Once I realized that being angry wasn’t accomplishing anything or making me feel any better about the situation, that's when I made the decision to take that anger and turn it into something positive by using this unpleasant experience to help others. So it is my personal goal to launch a campaign to introduce new laws in Georgia that will help protect the privacy of the accused as long as a pending court case exists. Personally, I feel it should be illegal to post information online about anyone who has been arrested until that person has been found guilty in a court of law. Choosing to publicly make comments about an individual while the case is still pending in court not only violates a person's right to privacy, it also violates a person's right to a fair trial. Shouldn't we all be given the right to protect our privacy, especially online? Is it really fair to print information that leads to the spread of gossip, ultimately labeling a person guilty until proven innocent? Why do some police officers believe it's acceptable to gossip about pending court cases on social media? This not only jeopardizes a person's right to a fair trial, it could also potentially jeopardize the outcome of the entire case, thereby preventing justice from being served on behalf of victims in cases where a crime actually did occur. Everyone has a Constitutional Right to have fair trial in the court of law, by an impartial tribunal, uninfluenced by social media.
Important tips to remember if you ever find yourself in a similar situation.
First and foremost, prevention is the best method. If you ever leave personal property behind at a previous residence, ALWAYS ask an officer to accompany you when you go back to retrieve it. This is for your own protection. Don't assume that you can trust everyone, even if you've known them your entire life.
Make a mental note of your surroundings, even if it's something that may seem unimportant at the time.
Document, document, document anything and everything you can remember. I put my skilled talent of being a detailed-oriented person to use and began documenting EVERYTHING immediately after this incident occurred, and I continued to document important facts as aspects related to this arrest progressed. My notes later helped create this website.
Compile a list of possible witnesses.
Obtain a copy of the police report as soon as possible and review for any discrepancies. Police officers do make mistakes, whether some want to admit it or not.
Obtain a copy of the police audio tape if one is available.
Educate yourself and know your rights.
If you believe your Constitutional Rights, civil rights, or dignity has been violated, please speak out. Report the incident to that individual's superior. If that goes nowhere, report it to the next level of authority and so on. I took my complaint all the way to the US Department of Justice and got a response! Don't let it go! I will help you! In fact, I encourage anyone who’s had an unpleasant experience with law enforcement to tell me your story and allow me to write a letter to the appropriate officials on your behalf.
FOR YOUR OWN PROTECTION, I would highly recommend that everyone invest in a dash cam. I purchased the DashCam Pro. However, I haven't been impressed with this specific brand since it stopped working within 3 months of purchase, so I am currently on the lookout for a better device. My only regret is not knowing that these devices existed prior to July 26, 2014.
Consult an attorney who will fight for you before taking any action.
It doesn't take a genius to recognize that there's something
seriously wrong with this picture.
who can, I ask that you please contact your local state law makers and help
support me in this fight by asking for a bill to be introduced that
would protect the identity of those who have been arrested by banning
the release of their names and mugshots until they are
convicted or have plead guilty in a court of law. I have attempted to
make it as easy as possible by formatting the letter so that you can
type your name on the signature line, save it on your computer, and
attach it in an email using the email link provided. And for those
who want to help, but don't want to go as far as asking for a change in
legislation, there are other things you can do that could possibly disrupt the
hard copy distribution of this voyeuristic tabloid of garbage. Consider speaking directly to those who
distribute the publications in their stores and tell them that you don't want this type of material
in your community. For example, if you
stop by a specific corner store or gas station on a regular basis for coffee
and gas and know the people who work there, they will most likely listen and adhere to
your concerns. If retailers stop
stocking these publications, it will diminish circulation and drive down the
value of ad space. This will cause
profits to subside, which will eventually cause the tabloids to disappear. You can also contact your local police and
sheriff departments and ask that they enforce internal policies refraining officers from participating in facebook gossip by banning them from making comments on social media in regards to arrest records that have been released to
I realize that
this issue is controversial and some people will have mixed feelings
about it, but please understand that no one is exempt from being falsely
accused and slandered. The names
of both my husband and son have been degraded over something that never
happened. The only way to prevent another injustice such as this from occurring is to conform the laws to fit TODAY'S society. What happened to my
family could happen to you too.
Everyone deserves the right to privacy.
Releasing mugshots to the public before a person has been found guilty in a court of law is an invasion of privacy.
Everyone deserves the right to a fair trial.
Releasing information to the public about an arrest, including a person's name and mugshot, can trigger online gossip about the case, thereby jeopardizing a person's right to a fair trial.
Everyone deserves the right to be protected from Social Media attacks.
Thanks to social media, online gossip about an arrest labels a person "Guilty until proven Innocent," and online gossip can quickly escalate into online bullying.
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