By JEFF JOBE
It seems the names of juveniles committing terrible crimes are making their way to front pages of news outlets across our country. If a person living next door to you is accused of murder I am confident you would certainly want to know. The age of the accused would be of little concern.
Yet a pattern that seems to be unfolding in Edmonson County isn’t involving school shooters or repeat felony offenders with little chance for rehabilitation. It is exposing the names and even using juvenile’s mistakes caught on film in public service announcements – something I haven’t seen in my 20-years of hometown news coverage.
There is a website/online local news operation owned by Edmonson Voice, LLC. My understanding of a (LLC) is that the Limited Liability Corporation allows profits to pass through the owners’ tax returns, thus the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) refers to them as pass-through entities. My understanding is this LLC is owned by a local gentleman named Darren Doyle.
It is absolutely within the Doyle family’s legal rights to publish the names of juveniles and even use videos he gets from their alleged crimes involving juveniles. Perhaps this will be a business model of the future and one Brownsville will embrace but it isn’t one my family will follow.
One of the biggest challenges I face when buying a family newspaper is balancing existing traditions and policies with our own. I’m proud to say when it comes to protecting minors and working to encourage rehabilitation for juveniles the founding family of the Gimlet, and all Jobe newspapers are one and the same.
The reference of rehabilitation is the foundation in which the Attorney General and the Kentucky Legislature used to establish the laws KRS 610.340. That statute prohibits law enforcement from disclosing identities of individuals under the age of 18 to public scrutiny.
The sticky issue here is the owner of the website, Darren Doyle, and the elected sheriff Shane Doyle are brothers. This Sheriff is unlike all others in our service area in that he doesn’t redact names of juveniles. He also released the public service announcement video depicting local juveniles on fire, depicting the dangers of huffing after the February 1, 2016, yet no crimes were ever charged. With the recent March 6 story just last week Darren Doyle wrote a story with a headline: Edmonson County Teen injured in single vehicle accident, charged with DUI. Inside the story he wrote, “The Sheriff’s Office said that they found the driver, [I removed name] (16) of Chalybeate, unconscious. He was transported to the hospital by Edmonson EMS and later transported to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville, according to the Sheriff’s Office.”
I grew up in a small town here in Kentucky and remember how politics and cliques can be used by some. This drives me to stand up for equality by establishing sound policies for our newspapers, ones that I could live with even if my own child was involved.
These children made mistakes but under no circumstances should anything be released that could lead to them being ridiculed for fighting for their lives because they were consumed in flames.
The Attorney General and Kentucky’s legislature has made it clear that a child deserves the opportunity to rehabilitate without public scrutiny. A sheriff’’s department releasing or even confirming a juvenile’s name has removed any possibility of this happening. The juvenile is now searchable for DUI for the rest of his life.
I want them and their families to know as for this newspaper publisher I look forward to printing the good they will do in their lives because of the blessings to surely come because of these terrible wrongs.
Jeff Jobe is founder and CEO of Jobe Publishing, Inc. His commentary reflects his personal views and does not reflect the views of personal or professional associations and affiliations. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his previously published commentary at www.jobeforkentucky.com