Commercial mug shot bill clears Ga. Senate

5:56 AM, Mar 26, 2013   |    comments
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  • Sophia Andrade's mug shot
  • Georgia State Rep. Roger Bruce (D-Atlanta)
  • Sophia Andrade

ATLANTA -- They've become popular viewing on the Internet, but pretty soon those online arrest mug shot websites could get some handcuffs of their own from Georgia's state legislature.

Monday evening, the State Senate overwhelmingly passed HB150 by a vote of 53 to 0.

Sponsored by Rep. Roger Bruce (D-Atlanta), the bill would force those mug shot websites to take down photos of those who've been cleared without charging them for it.

"Extortion" is what Bruce calls the common practice of mug shot websites to charge people hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, to remove the embarrassing photos.

Last December, 11Alive told you about Sophia Andrade, who's been haunted by hers for almost three years. She was arrested for domestic violence in Florida, but the charge was dropped and her record cleared.

Yet her mug shot is still out there, which she calls embarrassing and an obstacle to job hunting.

She's just one of more than 40 people who contacted Rep. Bruce to complain that the only way to get their photos taken off the Internet was to pay those websites large sums of money, and that still wasn't a guarantee.

Bruce's bill already cleared the State House, but Monday evening it was amended with the words "publicly available" to exempt legitimate law enforcement and news media outlets from using arrest photos.

Bruce did not object to clearing up what some consider a free speech issue.

His bill would still require commercial mug shot sites to remove photos of those cleared within 30 days.

The bill now goes back to the House where it will have to vote on the Senate wording change.

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