Guest Column

January 17, 2014

The Law and You: Technology allows public to track criminals

So you made a complaint with the police to have someone arrested.

Maybe it’s your daughter for stealing your checks, an ex-boyfriend for stalking you, a nephew who took your car without permission, a friend who got your pin number and withdrew money from your account. 

You don’t know what’s happening, and you are worried and afraid. 

Has the person been arrested yet? What are the charges? Did the judge set bail? Was it posted, or is the defendant in jail? 

What if the case is older and the person already was sentenced to county jail or state prison? How can you find out if she has been released?


Having someone locked up can provide safety and peace of mind. 

This is certainly so when the defendant presents a danger to the victim. There are other cases when the decision to arrest is necessary to not only stop the crime but also to protect the perpetrator. 

Your loved one may be stealing from you to support his drug habit or assaulting you because she won’t take her prescribed medication. 

They need help that they are unwilling to get voluntarily.


That sense of security, when the perpetrator is jailed, can be shattered by unexpected release. 

Here, the emphasis is on “unexpected.” There will come a time for release, and it is best if that can be planned for, especially if your safety is in question. 

Not knowing where the defendant is can cause anxiety and fear that they will show up on your doorstep. 

The police or DA may be able to keep you informed, but they do not always know immediately.


During my time in private practice and as district attorney, it was often time-consuming and frustrating calling courts and the jail trying to learn the status of a particular defendant. 

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