LABJ Forum: Taken Downtown Live on CNN
Trotting out handcuffed criminals before a lineup of photographers and camera operators used to be reserved for violent criminals and the grizzlier the crime the better. Those often scruffy figures have been replaced with a fairer, though no less notorious sort as executives like Adelphia Communications Corp.’s John Rigas and WorldCom Inc.’s Scott Sullivan have made the “perp walk.” So the Business Journal asks: Is it appropriate to trot arrested corporate executives out in front of the media?
Dean of Academic Affairs
Los Angeles City College
If it’s used as a deterrent and shows people that they’re going to be hard line, it’s a good idea. It’s like capital punishment was supposed to be. It’s good for the government to say, “We’ve had enough. This is going to happen to you.”
Senior Vice President
In this country, you’re innocent until proven guilty so it’s not right. On the other hand, a CEO is similar to a public official and is responsible to the stockholders, so if there’s any possibility of wrongdoing, it should be dealt with in the public domain. But if he or she is proven innocent, there should be just as much camera exposure. When things are negative, we tend to have more camera exposure than the positive, and that’s the frustrating part.
It doesn’t bother me in the least. They’ve done some bad things and hurt the financial industry as a whole; plenty of people are out of work. Parading them around may persuade other people to steer clear of nefarious activities. It’s hurt the rest of us out there trying to make and honest buck.
Mayor Pro Tempore
City of West Hollywood
Even though people don’t normally equate violence and larceny, with the number of lives impacted and even ruined by some of the corporate criminality that seems so pervasive, it would be unjust not to. These peoples’ greed has been shameless.
Marcus & Millichap
It’s appropriate because whether it’s a blue-collar crime or a white-collar crime, it’s still a crime. The public that has been harmed should definitely see who the perpetrators are. Part of the penalty phase is being publicly humiliated for their actions.
Paramount Contractors and Developers Inc.
I don’t know what they’re trying to accomplish, but if that’s the protocol is, it shouldn’t make any difference whether they’re a suit and tie guy or not. If you’ve broken the law in a way that’s done serious damage to the general public and individuals in particular, those are the consequences they have to face.