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Bill would remove mugshots from public records

News & Record (6/18/2014): Photographs taken of people after they are arrested would  only become public records upon conviction if a proposal pending in the General Assembly passes into law. 

The N.C. House added a provision to a regulatory reform bill, Senate Bill 493, which passed the Senate in last year's long session, that would remove post-arrest photographs from records subject to the N.C. Public Records Law. The pictures, commonly called mugshots, have long been available.

This bill is the second attempt in theis year's short session to regulate how mugshots are used. Previously, the Senate included provisions in its budget that would make it a crime for a publisher to charge individuals to remove mugshots from the Internet. The Senate's proposal would also require publishers to remove the photographs in certain circumstances. 

The latest proposal from the House removes the photographs from the public record until a person is convicted. Law enforcement would have the leeway to release photographs before conviction if necessary to protect the public or when a person is charged with a felony. 

Both proposals are an apparent attempt to regulate the growth of websites and print publications that publish little more than the names, ages, addresses, charges and photographs of people who are arrested. 

Read the News & Record's coverage here


Jonathan Jones,
6/18/2014 4:15 PM