New Legislation Would Target Websites that Publish Mugshots

August 5, 2014 · 22 comments

Websites that publish arrest mug shots and charge people to remove them may soon face legal sanctions in California, thanks to new legislation unanimously approved by the state legislature today.

Senate Bill 1027, sponsored by state Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, would make it a crime for websites to charge a fee to remove, correct or modify mug shots and fine them up to $1,000 for each violation, according to Hill’s office.

The mug shot scheme, which Hill said “amounts to extortion,” is a growing practice, according to Hill’s office.

“We’re all accountable for our behavior, but that doesn’t mean someone should make money by spreading your booking photo on the Web – especially if you were never convicted for a crime,” Hill said in a statement.

More than half of all arrests in California never lead to a charge or conviction, but the online mug shots have the potential to ruin reputations and job prospects, Hill’s office said.

The legislation now heads to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk for his signature or veto.

The bill would not restrict access to mug shots by individual members of the public or the media, according to Hill’s office.

At least seven other states have laws to restrict websites from charging a fee to remove a mug shot, and at least 11 other states have introduced similar legislation this year, according to Hill’s office.

1 Z-Man August 5, 2014 at 10:43 PM

OH RIGHT, As if there are that many suspects who were actually the mistaken person being charged of the crime!

2 ??? August 5, 2014 at 10:59 PM

Is this why the mug shots on mobile patrol say unavailable ?

3 PhilthyPHRESH August 6, 2014 at 12:29 AM

Because it’s invasion of privacy. I was just talking about how mobile patrol is gonna get sued the only reason they didn’t yet is because no one know about it.

4 more than half of arrests don't lead to conviction? August 6, 2014 at 6:01 AM

that’s kind of sad

5 hmmm... August 6, 2014 at 7:18 AM

I can see the reasoning if someone were really innocent. But what about that website that posts mugshots of sex offenders in your neighborhood? Even if some of the locations are outdated, it is good to know what a person looks like if they are a potential threat to your family/children.

6 Rollo Tomasi August 6, 2014 at 7:23 AM

Arrests are part of the public record, and mugshots are part of an arrest. There is no invasion of privacy in publishing mugshots on a website. This legislation makes it illegal for the website to charge for removal, modification or correction of the mugshot.

Reading comprehension, people.

7 Cautiously Informed August 6, 2014 at 7:39 AM

Charging people to have mug-shot photos removed- can anyone say blackmail?

8 Mug August 6, 2014 at 7:57 AM

Find the businesses that do this, and then put there mugs on the web.
See how they would like it.

Maybe they’d be willing to pay to get their mugs off the “web”.

Slime bags.

9 94598 August 6, 2014 at 8:15 AM

…..and speaking of extortion, How bout going after Angie’s list and Yelp next !

if you don’t pay, they remove positive reviews!

10 Concord Guy August 6, 2014 at 8:20 AM

I’m no fan of the California legislature and the preponderance of nanny laws that are generated. This law, however, is necessary. These people posting mug shots on the internet are not acting for the public good. Their intent is to make money from those who want their mug shots removed. It is predatory and extortionist.

11 Tom August 6, 2014 at 8:29 AM

To avoid having your name published, you might try avoiding being arrested in the first place.

12 @Tom August 6, 2014 at 9:08 AM

Yeah,, good idea,, but what if you were wrongfully accused???

You think that never happens?

13 Tom August 6, 2014 at 9:41 AM

Of course it happens. You misread my point. Stay out of trouble, and everything is going to be all right.

We don’t live in a perfect world. Keep your nose clean, and lessen your chances of ending up in jail or prison.

Thank you for sharing you opinion.

14 anon August 6, 2014 at 9:49 AM

They can still post, but not ask for money to take it down. This bill doesn’t get it off the internet or web site. Maybe there are other laws to do that.

15 Silva August 6, 2014 at 10:05 AM

Tom, you seem like a reasonable sort. One day my husband was doing yardwork in our front yard (Oakland) and was placed under arrest because he had a very common Spanish name, much akin to John Smith in English. The police thought he must be the fellow the Salinas police were looking for by that name. My husband was 23 years younger than the Salinas dude, and had never been to Salinas. He was promptly carted off to spent the weekend locked up in Salinas as it was a friday afternoon. Monday he managed to convince a judge that he wasn’t Salinas dude. He still had to make a court appearance at a later date with another judge which was just an additional nightmare, but it was finally straightened out. Sometimes it doesn’t pay to tidy up your yard after a hard week at work. Oh no, that wasn’t the moral of the story now, was it! I myself have never been arrested, then I’m as white as they make ‘em.

16 Law Abiding Citizen August 6, 2014 at 11:04 AM

I was falsely identified by an old lady, who later realized she had made a mistake when the real intruder to her home returned while I was being booked.

Worst experience of my life.

If it could happen to me, it could happen to anyone. An “A+” student throughout school, UC Davis graduate, law-abiding citizen (I’m one of the good guys).

If you ever find yourself in a situation where you have to ID someone for a crime, I BEG YOU TO PLEASE BE 100% SURE. You can ruin lives if you are mistaken.

I don’t think mugshots should be posted until after conviction. When I see them posted on here, it reminds me of the Salem Witch hunts. Innocent until proven guilty (even the guys with the neck tattoos- lol).

This bill has my full support.

17 Cat Wrangler August 6, 2014 at 11:27 AM

Perhaps we should put offenders in stocks in public square as well.

18 @Tom August 6, 2014 at 11:39 AM

Innocent people are having their names/photos published… Please let me know how innocent people can avoid being arrested??? Stay indoors 24/7?

19 psychosos August 6, 2014 at 2:40 PM

they need to remove eviction records form online. i have an eviction for failure to pay rent from 2012. makes it hard to rent a place. it’s not fair at all to the tenants. everyone deserves housing. it’s a universal right.

20 Cowellian August 6, 2014 at 2:55 PM

Oh, you don’t want prospective landlords to know that you’re a deadbeat that doesn’t pay rent?

21 anom August 7, 2014 at 4:34 PM

I do believe if someone is convicted and charged for a crime it should be a public record but countless times have people been wrongly accused of a crime and been proven innocent while having charges listed under their name that they’re not guilty of. That can/has ruined reputations and business for people.

22 Victor mature August 7, 2014 at 8:43 PM

Pussification of america. California where suspects have more rights that victims. So sick of this state.

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