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Thread: Mugshots Shouldn't Be In The Public Record

  1. #1
    Arete GuavaDrunk's Avatar
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    Default Mugshots Shouldn't Be In The Public Record

    In a nutshell:

    If the best argument for keeping mugshots in the "public information" category is that they've always been in that category, or that they help people instantaneously vet their dates and children's baseball coaches, then open records advocates (of which I'm one 99 percent of the time) need to rethink this issue. Mugshots are a tool that allow police and crime victims to identify and track suspects through the criminal justice system. Making them publicly available turns an investigative tool into a lifelong punishment.
    Source: http://www.theatlanticcities.com/tec...-private/7159/
    retrieved 08/10/13

     


    These mugshot websites aren't for leering, say their creators (even though that's why these sites rank so high on Google—people surf them for a looong time), they're for keeping you and your loved ones safe. Yet people lived without having this information at their fingertips until about 2010, when the first of the mugshot sites began to pop up. Were things really so bad back then?
    Two decades ago, unless you were a celebrity or a nobody accused of a particularly heinous crime, your mugshot wasn't worth much. Today, it's worth something to a lot of different parties: mugshot sites want to bank on prying eyes, neighbors want to know more about their neighbors(...)
    Perhaps more importantly, the court noted that mugshots "contain information that is intended for the use of a particular group or class of persons." That line is probably the best argument for exempting mugshots from public record laws. Like fingerprints, mugshots are used by law enforcement to identify people. Over time, the press began to treat them as "public documents," and some courts have agreed.
    The New York Times drew some much needed attention to a very ugly business: websites that trawl sheriff and police databases for mugshots, post those mugshots on their own sites, then charge arrestees to have their mugshots taken down. Since its inception the industry has grown to include scores of sites that will post your mugshot, as well as intercessory businesses that charge hefty fees—ranging from $195 to more than $800—to have your photo removed from one or more Internet locations.


    What do you think?

    Prompts:
    Would you or have you previously used a website which lists mugshots? (Did it also list the conviction or accusation?) Did the website/the action make you feel squiggly inside?

    Is this question relevant given current government access to and misuse of much information already?

    Personal reputation and its social consequences.

    Your privacy, forgiveness for old jaunts, right to know who you associate with, 'once mugshot-ed, always suspicious' or Do People Behave The Same Way In Any And All Situations? Voyeurism in the current Zeitgeist - is the habit of tracking celebrities' daily minutiae spilling into our everyday lives? etc etc
    Reason is a whore.

  2. #2
    InvisibleJim's Avatar
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    I don't think they are terrible.

    Any action you undertake you should be willing to say 'I did that because it was what I wanted to do, considering the consequences.'

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    lump's Avatar
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    i don't know about mugshots per se, but i think its good that its not too hard to find out somebody's criminal record and if they have a history of violence, etc. when i was volunteering at a shelter for abused women they were really huge on pushing that you should look up the names of anybody that you date and giving out the website for seeing their criminal history. anybody can look up anybody for whatever reason, w/e, i've done it out of idle curiousity, but if you don't want anybody to know you beat up your ex or stole a car maybe you should have thought about that? afaik they only show adult records so presumably if you get yourself in trouble you know what the consequences are.

    i dunno how mugshots are really worse than seeing the rest of the record except for the embarassment factor. and then sites like the smoking gun which i guess i see on a similar level as people of walmart or something, there's always going to be a market for laughing at people.

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    boom boom boom blackburry's Avatar
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    add numerous assault charges as well as hard drugs to that list and sure.

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    boom boom boom blackburry's Avatar
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    Have you ever met a crack head?

    They can be pretty dangerous.

    I personally would want to know hard drug history. ..

    (I'm not sure if you're also assuming marijuana...in which case: I said hard drugs~~~~)

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    aka Slacker Slacker's Avatar
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    I think that as a society we dehumanize people who have been convicted of crimes. People are still human beings and still have value and deserve to be treated with dignity, regardless of what mistakes they've made. I agree with letting people know if someone has committed a crime so people can protect themselves, but I feel like even the sex offender list is misused. It's used to dehumanize people as a method of punishment- including people who aren't actually a threat - instead of being used so people can protect themselves and their kids.
    It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.
    -Mark Twain


    You can't wake a person who is pretending to be asleep.

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    Glorious Member mu4's Avatar
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    I have no problem with mugshots being public record, however it seems this article is more about extortion than public record.

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    lump's Avatar
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    @William i found my ex's criminal record (including a mugshot) by doing a search of records provided by the county government. it was free.

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    lump's Avatar
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    i showed it to people and laughed too cuz it looked like he was on the verge of tears. hahaHA.

  10. #10
    Creepy-bg

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    Quote Originally Posted by mfckr View Post
    Oh. Well that's peoples' own fault then being suckers for something they can get free.
    they had a case in just the last few months here with one of these companies. they were using their "sexual offender" database to extort people, adding their enemies and even sometimes random people, then wanting a payout to "fix the error" or whatever.

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    i think trials and executions should be televised so citizens can feel that order is restored, and that justice has been served.
    It was in the reign of George III that the aforesaid personages lived and quarrelled; good or bad, handsome or ugly, rich or poor, they are all equal now.

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