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Opinions differ about "mugshot newspapers"

11:38 PM, Oct 3, 2012   |    comments
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The publication of hundreds of local mugshots in specific newspapers is sparking debate between a local sheriff and the publications' editors.

"Mugshot newspapers" solely publish mugshots from local jails and penitentiaries. They have been on sale in East Tennessee for the past few years.

Editors of those publications say they're doing a public service, but Roane County sheriff Jack Stockton said they're doing more harm than good.

"An odd way to make money. You shouldn't benefit from someone else's misfortune," the sheriff said.

With titles like Just Busted and Caught Up! Stockton said "mugshot newspapers" are harming the reputations of people who may be innocent.

"But to just leave it lying in a convenience store for someone to sell, and to make a profit off of someone's face or mugshot? I think it's a little too much," the sheriff added.

Editors of these papers say their purpose is to inform the public and not imply guilt. They have several warnings that the people profiled are innocent until proven guilty.

"Our intent is to not harm anybody. Our intent is to inform and empower people," said Just Busted manager Matthew DeGlopper.

In the five states where Just Busted is published, he has heard of other law enforcement officials that raised eyebrows.

He's also heard their praises.

"I get calls from detectives who like to use our newspaper to identify people, because our newspaper cuts down on red tape," DeGlopper said.

DeGlopper said he gets the mugshots to each East Tennessee county through sheriff's department websites or in person. All are public record, said Sheriff Stockton and DeGlopper.

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