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DA Watch: Montgomery County Tweets DUI Arrests this New Year’s Eve

Over in Montgomery County, District Attorney Brett Ligon has announced that on New Year’s Eve 2009, law enforcement will post all drunk driving arrests on Twitter.  Actually, he’s been tweeting about drunk driving arrests – among others – for awhile now (since Christmas).

This is getting lotsa attention for DA Ligon.

For example, plaintiff’s personal injury lawyers at Jim Adler & Associates — you’ve seen their ads if you watch any TV whatsoever — have already posted on this at their firm blog.  They call this a “sweet” idea, discuss how “shame” may be a great deterrent to the holiday car crashes caused by drunk driving, and then conclude their post (of course) with a reminder that if anyone wants to file a wrongful death or serious personal injury claim based on drunk driving, well … they DO do that kind of work.

Techies and geeks interested in the tweeting aspects of DA Ligon’s brilliant idea are writing about this, too.  Gizmodo already follows the DA on Twitter (Ligon can be seen at twitter.com using the name “MontgomeryTXDAO”) — and they’re reporting they will be reading this “comedy goldmine in the making.”

It’s a story that is getting national media coverage.  MyFoxCharlotte is covering the story, quoting Montgomery County assistant district attorney Warren Diepraam as claiming he initially came up with the idea of tweeting all drunk driving arrests between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day.

Here’s some things that should be considered …like innocent victims suing for damages ….

1.  This isn’t being posted on a government site.  It’s been tweeted on a personal account set up at www.twitter.com.

2.  Anyone arrested for DUI is still innocent until proven guilty.  What happens to those who are later found innocent?  The “shame” of the tweet is already out there — and assuming arguendo that the tweet does cause harm and humiliation, then can the victim sue the twitterer individually for the harm done?  Remember, this isn’t a government account.  Can they sue the assistant district attorney, who so proudly claims the Shaming Tweet Strategy as his big idea?  Can they sue Twitter, too?

3.  What about expulsion of a drunk driving charge now the road?  Do expulsion orders need to include social media sites now?


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