Arrested reputation: Woman upset after mug shot goes public

Arrested reputation: Woman upset after mug shot goes public »Play Video
NAMPA, Idaho - Lois Wilson of Nampa was arrested back in February. Her information was put on the Canyon County Sheriff Department’s website.

"On the website they put me down as gang activity and intimidation of a witness and it's embarrassing," Wilson said.

After months of dealing with the legal system the charges were dropped. But Wilson says she's been convicted in the court of public opinion.

"I don't like that - that's not who I am. People look at you differently now," Wilson said.

Current arrest pages are maintained by sheriff's departments. Canyon County Sheriff Chris Smith says it provides an important public service.

"It benefits victims," Smith said. "They can check to see if a person has been arrested relating to their crime or if an individual is released, they're able to find out if they're out of custody."

The sheriff also points out that arrests fall under public records. The department is obligated to release the information to the public and the media.

"Since we put current arrests on the website it's become the most popular portion of our website county wide hands down," Smith said.

Neither Canyon nor Ada County have a section on their websites that let you know when charges are dropped. The information is out there but you do have to do a little digging to find it.

You can follow a specific case from beginning to end on Idaho's online court repository website. Just enter the person's name and follow the prompts. Whether there's a conviction or dropped charges, it'll be on there.

But Wilson says it seems few in the community take the time to follow up.

"I used to have faith in the justice system, but I don't anymore. It takes a lot away from you when you've been arrested for something you've not done and everybody is telling you you're guilty,” Wilson said.

Wilson says she is filing a tort claim for defamation and false arrest against the county.