GA: Georgia lawmakers hold out hope for bill that would restrict publication of mugshots

Source: 2/26/24

Sheriff’s offices posting mugshots of booked people has been a commonplace practice for a while now. It also has some blood on its hands. 

“An 18-year-old committed suicide because they did not have the money to get the mugshot removed, and he could not get a job,” said Tyrone Democrat Rep. Derrick Jackson. 

Georgians who have not been convicted of a crime have lost their jobs and reputations because of their posted mugshot. Those with criminal records have unemployment rates at 27% according to the Prison Policy Initiative. For something as minor as a parking ticket, websites take these mugshots from the sheriff’s department’s website and memorialize them for profit. 

Atlanta Democratic Rep. Roger Bruce is trying to do something to change all of that. 

Bruce proposed House Bill 882 this year, legislation that would restrict sheriff’s offices from posting mugshots until the person has been convicted. If someone had been proven or assumed innocent, they could request their mugshot to be taken down. If the website doesn’t comply, they get a $500 fine every day until the photo is deleted.

Designated mugshot websites, such as the Georgia Gazette, upload mugshots with little context about the charged crime. After someone pays a fee for them to take it down, they often upload the photo on a different website and ask for more money, Bruce said. 

It used to be a lot more work to remove the mugshots. Bruce worked on legislation in 2013 that required mugshot websites to take down the photos of innocent people in 30 days at their request. Bruce is now trying to get rid of the websites entirely. 

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However, issues with the workload placed on the sheriff’s office came into comment after J. Terry Norris, executive director of the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association said that offices were already overwhelmed as it is. The extra effort of tracking down those who have been convicted through the courts makes the bill “totally unachievable.”

Lack of resources isn’t an excuse to hurt people. That’s the systems problem to sort it out. Just like the current BS with all the registries being black and white in terms of where the person is placed on the registry.

That burden is especially placed on freelance reporters who would have to prove their credentials as legitimate to access the mugshot. 

Same as above. That’s your problem to work out. You rushing to make a dollar (and don’t pretend you’re doing this for some greater good) isn’t an excuse to hurt people. 

I’ve got no sympathy for the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association. They are like the union for the sheriffs. They are constantly jacking off with the Sex Offense Registries. In regard to the Registries (and likely everything else), they constantly and continually support sheriffs operating outside of the law. They support sheriffs wasting an insane amount of resources and support their incompetency. Which is a huge part of why they are “overwhelmed”. They are offensive a**holes who need to go f*ck themselves.

So I don’t care what they say. They already burn more $$$$$$$$$$ and other resources than they should, for little results. They should try to fleece taxpayers more so they can do their jobs.

That aside, I think mugshots should be published simply because no one should be hiding or disguising what is happening. The public should be aware when a person is arrested, who is being arrested, how many, what color, why, all that. We absolutely cannot trust government to do that out of public view.

Also, it will aid public safety in that a criminal might be recognized by other victims.

I’m not a big fan of hiding anything that is happening, in general.

That said, I think it should be required by law that if you publish a person’s mugshot that you later fully report what happened to the case. If the person is not convicted, then require the paper (or wherever) to report that 2 times. If they printed a mugshot on the front page, then the exoneration must be printed exactly the same way and on at least 2 different dates.

Shouldn’t be a big deal at all. Government feeds people mugshots. It can just as easily feed people exoneration information and all tied to original mugshots/arrests. Lame asses need to stop making excuses about how that can’t be done. It can.

Lastly, I don’t have any sympathy for the for-profit, exploitation websites (or whatever). Make them do the same thing with mugshots – if they publish one, they must equally publish the final disposition. And what is with people having to “request” that information be taken down? Force that or fine and arrest them.

Hmmm…all one has to do is to run as a populist president and wham! Instant millionaire from sales of the mugshot! Make sure that the prosecutor in your case is named Fani…

The people in the article are chickens**t when it comes to saying not publicizing photos prior to conviction is an issue. Before there were ways to publish photos, there were words, which were enough then to convey messages of arrests, etc w/o them. It was not hard then and it would not be hard now. Just do it already.

At the same time, to the point about work effort by LE…that is BS…it is not hard to do a database search about those who are convicted. They’ll whine about it all even though they know it can be done just because they don’t want to do the work and know it is a way for more financial support from outside the office, e.g., legislature. Wipe your fingers after taking the bite of the donut and do what you know you can do…

Ridley is only playing politics. The only reason why he doesn’t want mugs released to the press is because they did it to his party’s president. He’s trying to send a message to his base. Why don’t he just agree not to release mugs until a person is convicted. Just do the right thing for once. As far as Georgia Sherrifs collaborating with these private websites, they all can suck eggs.

Bruce is now trying to get rid of the websites entirely. 

I have an easy solution: restrict their access so they are not fully public records. A number of State do this already.