An open letter to the public from Ottawa County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Mulligan
Crime is frightening, worrisome, and terrible, but it is also the source of great interest to the public. A quick county of the number of “true crime” programs on television illustrates just how much interest people have in crime and its effects on society. Indeed, the criminal act, the criminal, the lawyers, law enforcement, and the justice process can all combine to make fascinating news. So, it is unfortunate for those hungry for news that the requirements of justice and due process at times interfere with all-encompassing reporting. This interference is the result of certain ethical constraints that require prosecutors to not disclose facts about pending cases.
But even more unfortunate is that, when these facts are not supplied, some will assume things about cases that are simply not true. The result can be a news story that is more sensational than newsworthy.