Tales of Justice

Should posting suspects’ mug shots on the Internet be off limits?

  • Alvernia Criminal Justice

On most social media networks, users have the right – no matter how unclear and difficult the process can be – to restrict public access to the photos they post. So why is it that mug shots can be broadcasted on the Internet, even when the suspect has yet to be proven guilty?

State Senator Joseph Robach (R-Rochester) is introducing a bill to the state of New York, which would make mug shots taken at the time of a person’s arrest no longer available to the public until that person has been convicted.

The proposal is a response to web sites that post mug shots then demand money from people cleared of crimes to take them down. Robach says without a prohibition, there is no mechanism to rectify embarrassing use of the pictures after the fact for people who are cleared.

What kind of effects do you think this law could have on police enforcement? Is this proposed legislation a slippery slope that could lead to more prohibitive photography, such as the press’ ability to photograph suspects entering and exiting court buildings?

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