Over the last week, I have heard about 20 commercials from our local prosecutor's office informing me that there is a web site I can visit with pictures of drunk drivers. Uh, why? Is this supposed to somehow help me, driving down a street at night, such that I might just recognize the oncoming driver from 300 yards away, despite his headlights, as being someone I saw on the web site?
Actually, no. The prosecutor believes that the criminal justice system does not impose harsh enough penalties, so he is using his office and public funds to add an additional penalty not specified by the court or the legislature: Public shaming. I was happy to see that Reason picked up this issue today:
Taking Thomas at his word, he is imposing extrajudicial punishment,
based on his unilateral conclusion that the penalties prescribed by law
for DUI offenses provide an inadequate deterrent
In addition, Mr. Thomas is very likely emulating the example of our self-aggrandizing county Sheriff, Joe Arpaio. Sheriff Joe has built a PR machine for himself at public expense, in large part through extra-legal get-tough-on-criminals show-campaigns like this one.