Equal treatment when a suspect is cleared - & then cleared

Well, that didn't take long.

Earlier this week I wrote about the case of a woman who was acquitted of the charges filed against her. The home health care nurse had been accused of stealing more than $80,000 from a dying neighbor who had hired her.

The jury disagreed and found her not guilty on all charges.

She was plastered on our front page at the time the charges were filed.

After her acquittal, she sent me an email to remind me of a conversation we had after her initial arrest. I promised her that I do try to track these cases - and I remember how we played the story initially. I assured her at the time that if she was acquitted of the charges, I would give that development equal treatment on Page One. In fact, when I got her email after her acquittal last Friday, I had already posted the update on her case on our website and Facebook page.

Fast forward a few days.

Yesterday I was staring at the same situation.

Michele Wanko had been charged in the fatal shooting of her husband in their Parkside home back in April 2013. She had apparently been getting a lesson in how to handle a gun from her husband when the gun went off. Her husband was fatally shot.

A jury acquitted the woman of two key charges, third-degree murder and aggravated assault. They could not reach a verdict on another charge of manslaughter. Yesterday the Delaware County District Attorney indicated they would not seek to re-try Wank on those charges.

This was not initially going to be our lead story today.

I had designed a front page surrounding the story of a young Ridley boy who had been honored for saving his family members during a fire in their home.

It was a nice story.

But then I remembered what I wrote just a few days ago.

When Michele Wanko was arrested, it was front-page news.

So how could I not do the same when she was cleared?

In both of these stories, there is nothing that prevented me from burying these stories inside the paper.

Except that it would be wrong.

We splash them all over Page One when they're charged.

They deserve the same when they are cleared.


Anonymous said…
Couldn't agree with you more. Thank you for being a man of your word.