SAPD posting pics & info of ACCUSED prostitutes & johns.

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Remember how we were taught, as we were growing up, that in America you are “innocent until proven guilty?”

I’d had the impression that this “presumption of innocence” was something we Americans inherited from England’s Magna Carta.  Actually it goes back to Jewish Talmudic Law (“Every man is innocent until proved guilty”), 3rd-Century AD Rome (“Proof lies on him who asserts, not on him who denies”) and Islamic Law (“Avert the prescribed punishment by rejecting doubtful evidence.”)  Pretty universally accepted sentiment, it seems.

But like so many such things, presumption of innocence is an ideal easily forgotten and ignored by a power-hungry state, and has to be defended year after year, just like all our freedoms.

Now we’ve got the Santa Ana Police posting the names, birthdates, and PICTURES of men merely ACCUSED of prostitution-related crimes.  Since 2014 the OCDA has already done that on their website, but only to people CONVICTED of these crimes.  If the public embarrassment and opprobrium is part of the PUNISHMENT intended to deter people from this behavior, how is it right to subject people who may very well be found innocent, who may have just been in the wrong place at the wrong time, to this punishment?  I call bullshit.

SAPD Chief David Valentin.

Tuesday, Dec. 24:

Right now the SAPD website shows six guys (no women), five of them accused of “prostitution” or “loitering for purpose of prostitution,” one accused of pimping out a minor.   Does the code “prostitution” include soliciting prostitution, or are these five guys accused of being male prostitutes?  

Also, when this program was announced in May, SAPD said they’d keep each suspect up online for 15 days, but a couple of these guys have been up since November – more than a month.  How long has this been going on, how many people have been humiliated this way, and of those how many have been acquitted or convicted? 

So many questions to ask SAPD Public Information Officer Anthony Bretagna, and/or Chief David Valentin, before I can write a story about this.  Tuesday the 24th, and Thursday the 26th, I call those two gentlemen numerous times, leaving messages about my concerns, and don’t get a call back. 

Thursday Dec. 26, 5pm: 

The website (which I wasn’t going to link to) is suddenly scrubbed clean! 

Did I make that happen? 

I still want to know what happened, and why.  Updates to come…

UPDATE Friday Jan. 3

It seems they have NOT stopped this program – so much for the Power of Blogging. They took six guys down on Dec. 26 and the site was empty for a week, but now there’s three new guys up. Two for “loitering for the purpose of prostitution,” and one for “pandering an adult.”

Meanwhile I finally heard back from a secretary or something, who promises me that Corporal Gonzalez, head of the SAPD Vice Squad, will call me soon. Chief Valentin and PIO Bretagna have been on very long holiday vacations.

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at, or 714-235-VERN.