Tuesday, July 18, 2023


By Tim Rohr

Re: the Guam Daily Post story "Moylan says billboards displaying convicts help deter future crimes."

Atty. Gen Douglas Moylan believes these types of signs will deter crime. I'm inclined to agree. However, re the subject sign, the first thing that jumped out at me was the question as to how the convict got so visibly beat up? 

Was he beaten up in prison by other prisoners, by prison guards, by the police? A picture of a person that badly beaten, and behind bars, may evoke sympathy if not an investigation. So yes, show us the criminals, but be careful. Looks like the AG may need some marketing help. 

Moving on, the Atty. General also makes an important point here:

Moylan also made the point that, unlike mug shots shown in the media, which are often published before a defendant is found guilty through a trial or plea – something that Moylan argues injures a person's presumption of innocence – the policy of the AG's office is to only post those already convicted of a crime. 

This is so absolutely true. I'm not sure what can be done about the publication of mug shots, but such publication does in fact, as Atty. Moylan says, "injure a person's presumption of innocence" - a key precept in our nation of laws and "one of the most basic requirements for a fair trial." And, in the case of wrongful arrest of an innocent person - which is not uncommon - mug shot publications may ruin the rest of an innocent person's life.

Meanwhile, Moylan goes on to mention something that I found disturbing:

“We have Child Support (Awareness) Month coming up. … We're still looking at maybe putting up several of the convicts up on one billboard, (that) sort of thing. Kind (of) mixing it up, so it grabs people's attention. … We've got to be able to communicate,” Moylan said. 

I found it disturbing because, in short, our child support laws immediately punish whichever parent doesn't have the children, even if the children were clandestinely removed and sequestered away from the abandoned parent by the abandoning parent.

Nothing has to be proven other than the children are residing with the parent who took them. The abandoned parent is immediately forced to pay with the full force of the courts and the police as the collection agency. 

In other words, abandoned parents, usually dads, are guilty till proven innocent, and some end up in prison while just trying to get their kids back. 

Meanwhile, Atty. Moylan may want to hold off on equating so-called "deadbeat dads" with convicted murderers by putting their faces on the same signs. 

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