MNGOPer's bill to restrict access to mugshots criticized as "poor policy" by journalism prof

MugshotCollage.jpg
Collage via JohnTV.com
A bill set to be introduced this legislative session would make it much more difficult to obtain mugshots.
Rep. Pam Myhra, R-Burnsville, was recently contacted by a constituent who reported their mother's mugshot had appeared on a website that publishes booking photos en masse.

The website offered to scrub the photo from the internet for a $500 fee, Myhra told us. But after her constituent forked over the money, the photo popped up on another site of the same sort.

SEE ALSO: Rep. Phyllis Kahn to introduce bill restricting e-cigs during next legislative session

As a result of stories like that, Myhra is chief author of a bill that would dramatically restrict access to booking photos in Minnesota.

"It's basically extortion," Myhra said.

"Some people who appear on these sites have been convicted, and some haven't, but they're all being shown as if they were convicted of something," she continued. "That's really unfair and wrong, especially when individuals are trying to get out there and get a job."

PamMyhra.jpg
Rep. Pam Myhra

Currently, county officials will typically send booking photos via email free of charge. But Myhra's bill would bar officials from providing mugshots "in an electronic format," require those seeking them to pick them up in person, and institute a fee "of no less than $5... to the law enforcement agency for providing the photograph."

"A number of states are trying to deal with situations where bad actors are harvesting the mugshots of people who aren't necessarily convicted and creating websites with these photos," Myhra said.

But Jane Kirtley, the Silha professor of media ethics and law at the University of Minnesota's School of Journalism and Mass Communication, criticized Myhra's bill as "very bad policy."

(Click to page two for more.)



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113 comments
glitch242
glitch242

when you are a criminal you should have no rights plain and simple, the embarrassment of having my mug shot posted weights more on my pride then it ever did on my wallet, 

Felipe Onekwenhtara
Felipe Onekwenhtara

Holy shit I went to high school with one of the guys in this picture, lol.

Jessica J. Debner
Jessica J. Debner

Dumb policy...public record is public record...how is this good use of legislators time??

midwestexplorer81
midwestexplorer81 topcommenter

What they should do is limit email requests to no more than 10 mugshots a month in Minnesota and if you want more you can come down to the station and pay a nice big user fee to have them printed on photo paper. That way if you want to publish them you can have fun scanning them one by one. In many stories the mug shot is irrelevant anyways or if they want photos they can usually pull them from facebook. There isn't many reasons why you would need the mugshot of every single person arrested in a given month besides to exploit them. Let's keep in mind innocent until proven guilty.

alsdkfj
alsdkfj

""It's basically extortion," Myhra said"

No, it's not.

Erin Munn
Erin Munn

Unless someone is convicted of a crime, mugshots should not be released. It's a violation of privacy.

Sandra Fredine
Sandra Fredine

Well, Mitchel, aren't you just a ray of prune juice to a person with diarrhea? Hope you never lose your job or have a health emergency for you or a family member so you can always live in the bubble that says you have complete control. Bless your pea-picking little heart.

Bryan McCutchan
Bryan McCutchan

Oh I see. Because a story that bears a view Mitchel doesn't agree with that means it must not be true. Got it. :)

Adam Klugherz
Adam Klugherz

@mitchel fetting There are people that say it causes problems for them... the fact that you are not one of those people is good for you, but completely irrelevant to the fact that a lot of people claim they've suffered real life problems because of this.

Bryan Doherty
Bryan Doherty

Lol Stefan Read I wouldn't be sad if they were.

Mitchel J Fetting
Mitchel J Fetting

I guess I'm not "the average person" because mines out there and im not upset.

Mitchel J Fetting
Mitchel J Fetting

Then why are you associated with those people Denyse? No one I know would care. I choose my friends more wisely than that. And as far as employers go, they use real background check services. Not some back alley website.

Mitchel J Fetting
Mitchel J Fetting

Sorry, but all arrest records are public, and for good reason. How would you like to be wrongfully arrested and then when someone finds out they can't even do a records search to find out why. I'd think that would hurt a job more. Having a co worker tell your boss, hey, so and so was arrested last night.

Mitchel J Fetting
Mitchel J Fetting

It has never caused me problems. And mine is easily seen with a simple Google search.

Mitchel J Fetting
Mitchel J Fetting

I have never had a problem with this costing me a job. And I don't think I'd want to work for an employer so idiotic they use Google and these sites for a background check.

Mitchel J Fetting
Mitchel J Fetting

Its morally messed up. But they aren't doing anything illegal.

Mitchel J Fetting
Mitchel J Fetting

And the point i was making was there has to be a court order to pay. And if there is you probably owe the money for being a jackass and I have no sympathy.

Miranda Rose Grimmius
Miranda Rose Grimmius

No. In Mississippi they sell a magazine with peoples mugshots,what they were arrested for etc. Also pictures of people on the run.

Sue Kennedy
Sue Kennedy

I would restrict them until a person is convicted. If they are acquitted it should never be made public.

jason.dorweiler
jason.dorweiler topcommenter

I agree with this because it obviously could effect your background check, dependent on what kind of job you are applying for. 

Adam Klugherz
Adam Klugherz

I'm ok with them being available to the public before a conviction if the government has a reason for releasing it.... however, it's pretty clear that doing so does cause damages and I think anyone acquitted that has had their mug shot released is entitled to compensation from the government, any media that displayed it etc...

Stuart Allen
Stuart Allen

sorry for your loss the system favors females everytime

Jacob Wambli Apawia Mani
Jacob Wambli Apawia Mani

Well, the idea is not to get to this point. Just stay out of trouble....your ass will follow!

Todd Ray
Todd Ray

Innocent until proven guilty. Do not believe access should be granted until there is a conviction.

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

Wow, a Republican actually doing something useful.  Now I have to say Republicans are worthless time wasting idiots only 99% of the time.  Too bad she will more than likely add some provision condemning gay people to the bill because Republicans only like being mean. 

Bryan McCutchan
Bryan McCutchan

Publishing private citizen's mugshots is a modern day version of branding someone with a scarlet letter. I have had trouble in my past, and it does not help me move forward with my life when I am turned down for a job or I am reminded by people when they google me. A person should be punished according to their actions. Unless it's murder or rape, it shouldn't be a life sentence.

Eddie Lyndberg
Eddie Lyndberg

All you nay sayers all live in gated communities and are out of touch with the common man on the street

Eddie Lyndberg
Eddie Lyndberg

No. I want to know who these low life are and what they look like so I can avoid them!

Denyse Pahl-jones
Denyse Pahl-jones

Because people judge you as guilty as soon as they see a mug shot, regardless...

Dave Eckblad
Dave Eckblad

For your sake, it should be. Stop descending into tabloid territory.

swmnguy
swmnguy topcommenter

These mugshot websites and scandal sheets are taking the public record and re-selling it, and extorting people for money to pretend to stop publicizing it (because they actually just publish it again on a different site and extort again). We should clarify the laws on use of this information to make illicit use more actionable.  It's public information, so it belongs to all of us.  I didn't authorize these blackmailers to publish this data.  If they want to give the profits back to those of us who paid to create the asset in the first place, we could talk about that.  But they're stealing the value of a public resource every bit as much as if they went to a State Park, cut down trees, sold the firewood, and kept the money.

Aus Tin Padilla
Aus Tin Padilla

I don't think mugshots should be public record or on the internet until someone has actually been convicted of a crime, I bet the average person would be upset if they were found not guilty but still couldn't get a job due to having a mug shot come up when employers enter their name in to google.

Dan Mason
Dan Mason

I'm for leaving them public but god damn, Jimmy Yang has a point.

Denyse Pahl-jones
Denyse Pahl-jones

Then they should take them down without asking for a profit...that just seems wrong.

Denny Stenberg
Denny Stenberg

it gives nosey pitiful bottom feeders somethin to look at

Sandra Fredine
Sandra Fredine

Good points, Jason. I agree with you, thanks for clarifying.

Pitgirl
Pitgirl

By deleting her post doesn't make it go away, right Denyse ? Just like being arrested and having your mugshot taken, there's always reprecussions to what we do in life. And when we get arrested, it's public information. Weeding out the BAD in one's life is a very good start. From working myself in the Criminal Justice system, I never once experienced anyone being arrested falsely.

allyourbasearebelong
allyourbasearebelong

But what about those arrested first, then proven innocent later?  Too late, the damage has been done.

Pitgirl
Pitgirl

Didn't ya know, the prisons are just full of innocent people, that's what the criminals say anyways !!! I myself working in the criminal system have never experienced anyone innocent being arrested.

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