Newark 'Vice News' Lists Alleged Drugees, Prostitutes, Customers
Apr. 03, 1990
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) _ City Council is publishing its own newspaper, a ''Who's Who'' of names and addresses of alleged prostitutes and their customers in an effort to use shame to cut down on their business.
''We can't print enough copies. There's a great demand for these things. People are looking for their husbands, for their neighbors,'' Council president Henry Martinez said of The Newark City Council Monitor News Supplement.
The quarterly newspaper, which recently published its third issue, is mailed to voters and has a circulation of 60,000. It also lists people arrested for drug offenses.
But an American Civil Liberties Union official says the paper should be discontinued.
Deborah Ellis, legal director of the ACLU in Newark, said printing the names of arrested people treats them as though they have been convicted.
''I would feel differently if they publicized the names if people are convicted,'' Ms. Ellis said. ''Under our system of justice, you're not guilty until you're convicted, not when you're arrested.''
Martinez said the publication follows the same practice as most newspapers. A council survey found that 90 percent of New Jersey newspapers publish the names of people who are arrested.
The Star-Ledger of Newark, however, does not publish the names of those arrested for prostitution-related charges. City officials asked the newspaper to include the arrests, but it refused, Martinez said.
Rick Everett, assistant city editor at the Star-Ledger, said the newspaper decided not to run the names because they were disorderly person offenses, and deemed not newsworthy.
Martinez disagreed: ''In the old days you'd pick up the prostitute, it was called a victimless crime. Now, with AIDS and all the crime, there are victims left and right.''
He said statistics show that 40 percent of the prostitutes arrested in Newark are men dressed as women. While a small percentage of the customers seek tranvestites, others think they are picking up a woman and the result is often robbery, Martinez.
''We want to keep the johns out,'' Martinez said. ''If there was no market for that type of activity we wouldn't have so many problems.''
A danger with printing the names, Martinez concedes, is the chance of mistakes.
The March issue of the newspaper includes an apology to a man who was identified under the prostitution and solicitation heading. The newspaper mistakenly printed his name because another man, who was arrested, gave the newspaper a fictitious identification.
''Now we delay releasing the names, especially with the prostitutes, because they give a lot of phony ones,'' Martinez said.
Upcoming issues will publish the names of car thiefs, Martinez said.
''Are the car thiefs going to react the same way as the johns?'' he asked. ''No. They're not going to care much. But their neighbors are. The neighbors will be watching.''