Sunday, May 16, 2010

SOUND OFF: WHEN KIDS DO THE CRIME

Of the readers responding to an unscientific poll on my column's blog, 74 percent believe that it is OK to publish photos of teenagers younger than 18 who have been charged as adults, while 26 percent believe that newspapers should withhold such images, as they do with those of other juveniles charged with crimes as such.

"It's not OK to publish pictures of minors, regardless of what they are charged with," Katie writes, voicing the minority view. "The accused may have acted as adults, but they are still under parental supervision (supposedly) and deserve some measure of privacy."

Charlie Seng of Lancaster, S.C., sides with the majority and goes even further, taking issue with the whole idea of withholding the identity of teenagers charged with crimes.

"I have never been one to advocate allowing teenagers to get away with heinous crimes without having both their identities and their photos published," he writes. "Our laws preventing this are wrongheaded and based on times when kids in this age group hardly ever acted in this manner. Maybe, if they were embarrassed with being given notoriety in this manner, both they and their complicit parents would be shamed into ceasing this type of activity."

Check out other opinions here, or post your own by clicking on "Comments" or "Post a comment" below.

Jeffrey L. Seglin, author of The Right Thing: Conscience, Profit and Personal Responsibility in Today's Business (Smith Kerr, 2006), is an associate professor at Emerson College in Boston, where he teaches writing and ethics.

Do you have ethical questions that you need answered? Send them to rightthing@nytimes.com or to "The Right Thing," New York Times Syndicate, 630 Eighth Ave., 5th floor, New York, N.Y. 10018.

c.2010 The New York Times Syndicate (Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate)

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