‘Mug shot’ sites pose First Amendment dilemma


GENE POLICINSKI
gazettextra.com
October 25, 2012

You can’t put a price on justice—but some are trying to charge a fee to fix what others call an injustice.

There’s nothing good about getting arrested, even if the charges are dismissed or you’re found innocent at trial. The same goes for having a “mug shot”—a photo made at a jail or holding area—taken and filed with a county lockup or police department, complete with ID information.

In the past, those arrested usually could count on something called “practical obscurity” to keep their images and records out of sight. Given that just a tiny number of arrests are newsworthy, prompting news organizations or others to seek such photos, arrest data and mug shots would remain part of rarely accessed government files.

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