April 22, 2011 at 4:10 PM ET
Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio is known for putting prisoners in pink underwear to humiliate them; now he's taken yet another step to make their lives miserable, asking the public to vote online for the "Mug Shot of the Day" at the sheriff's website.
"Numerous people are booked into our jails each day," it says on the site. "Vote for the mug shot you like best then see if your choice makes mug shot of the day tomorrow! You can change your mind as often as you like but your final vote will be the only one cast. Tell us what you think!"
Mind you, none of these folks have been convicted; they're just in custody.
It's a clever move by the crafty Maricopa County lawman, who also has political ambitions. The not-surprisingly-not-very-attractive group featured on the website varies from day to day, and includes those in custody on charges of everything from drugs to murder, to criminal trespassing as well as failure to appear in court.
Hence, the Mug Shot of the Day "leaderboard" changes as new suspects are put in jail. On Friday morning, Patrick Leroy Holt was "winning," a la Charlie Sheen, with the most votes. Among the charges he faces: abuse and reckless assault. Next in line was Katrina Bree Dierx, charged with first-degree murder and armed robbery and other charges.
It's not a pretty parade, and the point Arpaio says he's trying to get across by the online voting is, "More eyes on arrestees may result in more leads to criminal investigators," or that a crime victim might recognize a suspect, according to a report in The Arizona Republic.
"Similar schemes in the past have met with mixed results," the newspaper notes. "Federal courts rejected Arpaio's attempt to stream video of inmates, but the sheriff maintains inmate mug shots online."
But hey, it's all good. The sheriff's website proclaims, in tiny print, underneath all the photos: "Mug shots reflect bookings within the last 3 days. Individuals booked prior to that time will not be displayed. PRE-TRIAL INMATES ARE INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY." The capital letters, by the way, are all upper-case like that on the site, as Lilliputian as they are.
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