MOUNT VERNON — Defendants in Mount Vernon Municipal Court need only ask and they can keep their cases from being included in press releases issued by the Office of the Mount Vernon City Director of Law.
According to Brittany Whitney, assistant director of law, she has a “black and white” policy that “seems fair.”
“If anyone asks, then I won’t include it,” Whitney said, explaining that most of her cases include defendants with private attorneys.
Other considerations are taken into account, Whitney said, including defendants with mental health issues.
“Our main concern is case conviction and we will work with the victim,” she said. “That’s the angle I’m looking at to be black and white.”
Law Director Rob Broeren concurred, telling the News case details can be omitted by request of victims citing an instance when a domestic violence victim requested information regarding the case be withheld.
The question of how it is determined, what cases are included in press releases and which are not, was posed to the director of law’s office after the News was asked why a particular sentence was never included in releases received by the News.
Case information, however, is public record and accessible through the court’s website, www.mountvernonmunicipalcourt.org.
Press releases received by the News will state the number of cases where defendants were found “guilty after hearings and trials” held in court on specific days. However, if a defendant asked for his or her case not to be included in the case, the number of guilty pleas or convictions in court could differ from the information released.
The News does make edits to the submitted information including the removal of the opening sentence regarding number of cases and unnecessary wording such as “was found guilty” for the sake of space.