It's about time they saw this and did something about it. Now hopefully all other states will follow suit. This extortion is a major problem as you can see more by clicking the "Offendex" or "Extortion" links below the title.
By Paul Crawley
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 HB-150 (PDF) 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.
- It should take down everything, or if they are going to leave them up, stop extorting people to remove their photo, extortion is a crime.
"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.
- Extortion is not free speech, it's a crime!
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.