Nassau County Publishes Photos of Accused Drunk Drivers: An Ethical Quandary

Steven Sharp, Staff Writer, SSharp@albanylaw.edu 

      Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi initiated a controversial anti-drunken driving campaign in late May. (1)  The Nassau police asked news organizations to publish the names and photos of people charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) over Memorial Day weekend. (2)  Some news organizations followed suit, and Suozzi deemed the display “The Wall of Shame.” (3)

     Nassau County continues to release the personal information of people charged with drunk driving as an “ongoing initiative.” (4)  To date, Nassau County police have arrested 900 drivers since Memorial Day weekend; the county published photos of these drivers. (5) The sole exception precludes photos of drivers, who are under the age of nineteen, from being published in the media. (6)

     To be sure, Nassau County is flush with drunk drivers and the legal ramifications have not been successful in preventing the proscribed conduct. Last year, 4,013 drivers were arrested in Nassau County for drunken-driving related offenses, including twenty-two fatal alcohol related accidents. (7)  Estimates state that one in ten drivers in Nassau County may be impaired. (8)  Thus, Suozzi is hoping that the Wall of Shame “send[s] a message” that “if you’ve been drinking, and you decide to get behind the wheel of a car . . . we’re going to make sure that their friends, neighbors and families know about it.” (9) Continue reading “Nassau County Publishes Photos of Accused Drunk Drivers: An Ethical Quandary”