Georgia Considers New Bill to Restrict Public Access to Mug Shots

Although mugs have been available to the public for years, the measure questions whether those who were arrested should benefit from them.

IN ATLANTA — A bill pending in the legislature would forbid county jails from posting the recent arrestees’ mug photographs. However, there is opposition to the bill.

In Georgia, mugs have been public documents for many years. But whether that’s fair to individuals who have just been detained is the question this measure poses.

Shortly after leaving the Fulton County jail on Monday, a guy sadly stated, “Yes, it will be public record.”

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The 55-year-old was taken into custody throughout the night, but he later reported that the allegations against him had been withdrawn. He refused to be photographed or to give us his name.

He declared that he would back legislation that would stop his mug shot from being made public right away.

Georgia Considers New Bill to Restrict Public Access to Mug Shots (1)

“I would prefer for that not to be the case,” he stated. “Because it’s cruel and unfair to people.”

A plan sponsored by state representative Roger Bruce (D-Atlanta) would conceal mug photos until a jail inmate is found guilty of a felony. “You have not committed a crime just because you were placed under arrest. Bruce said to 11Alive News, “You’ve been accused of a crime.”

News coverage frequently uses mug shots. They appear on the internet and often remain there for eternity. “If you’ve been exonerated, you should not have your mug shot out on the internet,” Bruce added.

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In recent years, 11Alive News modified its policy to only use mug shots.

In situations where the station is probably going to conceal until the trial phase
However, the distribution of accused people’s images is a necessary component of a free society, according to Richard T. Griffiths of the Georgia First Amendment Foundation, if the suspect is at large and a threat to public safety.

“The booking photo allows us to identify the individual who has been brought into custody. Because the public is aware that he has been placed under arrest, that person is effectively shielded from abuse. Griffiths stated that “he hasn’t disappeared,” as is the case in totalitarian nations.

Griffiths further asserted that Bruce’s plan would stop sheriff’s offices from disseminating mug photographs of individuals who have escaped from detention.

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