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Copyright (c) 1998 Kansas Law Review, Inc.
Kansas Law Review

COMMENT: Every Picture Tells a Story: Is Kansas City's "John TV" Constitutional? *

* Art Hubacher

April, 1998

46 Kan. L. Rev. 551


"What we're trying to do is to bring a sense of shame to the individual defendant . . . ." -Kansas City Councilmember Ed Ford 1 "Let me be very clear: This initiative is not about punishment." -Kansas City Councilmember Teresa Loar 2

I. Introduction

May 8, 1997, Kansas City, Missouri Fire Department Captain Jerry Walden left Station Thirty-Nine to "run errands" while he was still on duty. 3 He drove away in his own car without the permission of his supervisors. 4 A short time later, police arrested Walden on a charge of soliciting prostitution. 5 Within days, Walden's picture, name, date of birth, and place of residence were broadcast on cable television in Kansas City along with the fact that Walden had been arrested for a "municipal offense related to prostitution." 6 But Walden's story did not reach the public via one of Kansas City's commercial television news programs. Rather, the City itself broadcast the news of Walden's arrest over its government cable television channel. 7 At the time his image and arrest record were being beamed into thousands of homes, Walden had yet to stand trial or be convicted of this crime. 8

John R. Osgood, a former assistant U.S. attorney, held the post of Jackson County legal advisor when he too made a surprise appearance on cable television. 9 Osgood's picture, like Walden's, was broadcast in August 1997 after he was arrested for offering money to an undercover police officer ...
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