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Bending over backwards Jim Donnelly Artful Codger donnelly@his.com I have a question that should be addressed to Squire Sheridan, I think.

I'm just looking for a legal opinion about something that I hear all the time on the Washington network newscasts.

Suppose they're talking about a bank robbery. They might say something like: "A man approached a teller with a gun and demanded all her money. Suddenly he turned around and shot the security guard. The suspect then fled with a bag of money."

They might even add that the police so far have no suspects.

Then why do they refer to this guy as the suspect? Shouldn't they say "The robber fled with a bag of money" instead of "the suspect fled"? But they do it all the time.

I suppose I can understand that they don't want to violate any of the bank robber's rights, but how would it violate anything to call him "the robber" before any individual is identified as a suspect? Today the D.C. police arrested a fellow called Antoine Jones, and the TV folks are calling him "the suspect." That's OK with me, but they've been calling him "the suspect" all along, even before they knew who they were looking for, when there were no suspects.

Isn't this an example of bending over backwards to be fair to bank robbers?

Jim Donnelly



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