Bill would restrict release of mug shots

10:03 PM, Feb 20, 2014   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- A state lawmaker has introduced a bill that would restrict the release of mug shots.

Mug shots have become fodder for newspapers and web sites that are about nothing else. Many of those sites charge the offenders hundreds of dollars to remove their images from those sites.

As written now, the bill would remove mug shots from public record. But the bill's sponsor, Rep. Brian Strickland, wants to amend his bill to make mug shots available to the news media but not to sites that charge to take down the images.

"This bill actually goes to the supply of that and actually tries to diminish the amount of mug shots that gets released to the general public to try to make sure that someone who actually has a case dismissed, or uses first offender won't have that mug shot haunt them the rest of their lives," Strickland said.

Strickland says he expects to rewrite his mug shot bill to allow the news media to access the material provided that they don't allow the images to be reused on sites that charge for their removal. He admits he's looking for a fine line between First Amendment rights and exploitation.

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