Mug Shot Publication Hits the Stands

Lynchburg, VA - "Gotcha!" newspaper has hit the stands in Central Virginia, and not everyone is happy about it.

The hot seller costs a dollar and features dozens of local mug shots, even poking fun at some people like a "Goateed Guys" section or a "Gentlemen, Beware Blondes" spot.

But not everyone is laughing.

"It's almost like it's supposed to be funny but it's not really funny cause these are people's lives they are messing around with," said Sarah Knudsen, a Lynchburg resident.

The weekly publication includes offenses such as DUIs, driving without a license, and drug possessions.

"It seems to me they are looking down upon these people. Yeah, they made mistakes but we shouldn't ridicule them," said Wes Cole who opposes "Gotcha!"

"I was kind of like what's the purpose of it? What's the point?" said Brenda Berchie, a resident.

Defense attorney Leigh Drewry doesn't get it either.

"This is horrendous. I would never waste my money on something like this," said Drewry.

He says it's voyeurism and says ultimately it's justice that pays the final cost.

"It tramples on the presumption of innocence that we all enjoy. It's appealing to the public's fear of crime," said Drewry.

But some defense attorneys disagree.

"I don't think it would affect the trial or a case, because once the trial begins everyone sees the client anyway," said Joseph Sanzone.

There is a disclaimer in the paper that says, "Not very arrest leads to a conviction and all suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law."

But Drewry says the publication is sending a very different message.

"What it's saying is these people are guilty simply because they have been arrested, said Drewry.

"The flipside of having all the freedoms we have is that people are free to publish things. We have free thought in this country," said Sanzone.

The publication also lists health inspection reports and local crime news.

In the editorial section it says "Gotcha!" has three objectives: To provide the public with information, deter crime and raise safety consciousness.

All the mug shots in the publication are public records.

Look at Gotcha!'s Facebook page.