Every so often a prostitution case hits the media over its privacy implications for those who used the prostitute’s services. A case is playing out in Maine right now because “the John’s” that engaged the prostitute are being charged, too, and their attorneys are fighting to have their names shielded from the press and public.
Laura Dolce reports:
The first of the names of alleged clients of a Kennebunk prostitution operation will not be released this week, Kennebunk police said. That word came late Friday, after police said the Maine Supreme Judicial Court failed to rule on whether it would hear an appeal by an attorney seeking to block the release of his clients’ names.
Attorney Stephen Schwartz, whose first two motions to block the release of his clients’ names were denied by Biddeford District Court, took his appeal to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, also known as the Law Court.
Read more on SeacoastOnline.
If someone’s charged with an embarrassing misdemeanor and their name is disclosed – and lives forever on the Internet, even if they’re cleared – is that a concern that should justify not naming those charged with crimes? Should the courts consider whether all misdemeanors are created equal in terms of public disclosure of charges, or should transparency trump privacy?
If you believe in a free press, you’ll probably argue that their names should be disclosed, even though harm may accrue to them just by publication of their names in the context of particular charges. And as much as I’m a privacy advocate, I wouldn’t argue with you on this one.