The Evil of Posting Mug shots of People Arrested

Posted by Richard Lawson | Jul 14, 2014 | 1 Comment

While making sure I didn't miss any Georgia DUI news, I came upon the Muscogee County Ledger-Enquirer this evening.  What was reported as part of the news are the 23 people arrested for DUI in the past several days.  I normally provide a link but will refrain because I don't want to give their publication my seal of approval.

For what possible purpose, other than to bring ridicule, could there be for posting those persons arrested for DUI?  These are not people convicted of any crime.  They have been arrested.  Will some or most be convicted?  Probably so but that is not a reason to pre-convict them online.  However, have we not learned anything from the countless cases involving people who were innocent of a crime, yet whose faces are plastered all over the media anyway?

Being arrested for DUI in Georgia is bad enough.  Nothing is served by publically shaming people.  Furthermore, “for profit” entities take these pictures and repost them all over the Internet.  These websites then charge people as much as $500 to have their image removed.  So, in effect the Ledger-Enquirer, and other newspapers are fueling an extortion racket run online by websites that profit from posting these pictures.

And what of the innocent?  These “for profit” websites are virtually impossible to contact.  Georgia Law requires them to take down images of those acquitted, however that law is unenforceable.

Even if enforceable, the damage to people is already done.  Employers are not required to wait for the outcome of a case before making an employment decision.  Many people charged with a crime, but not yet convicted, simply lose their jobs after they are arrested.  Then, when looking for a new job, their arrest photo is all over the Internet.  This is entirely unfair and evil.

Asking for newspapers and Internet search engines to self-regulate this issue is only fair.  It is not censorship.  I am asking publications to respect our legal process and presumption of innocence.  Once a person is publically ridiculed for being arrested, that bell cannot be un-rung and the damage is done.  Common decency says at least wait until a person is convicted before publishing their photo in a newspaper.  My personal position is that even a conviction for a misdemeanor offense is hardly news.

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Managing Partner at Lawson & Berry:


Roger Sharp Reply

Posted Jul 15, 2014 at 10:01:17

Thanks for an interesting perspective. I do agree with you, despite the fact that the attorney I had retained was arrested for DUI and possession of marijuana. He was aquitted (I guess he had a good lawyer). I had a “gut feeling”, got new representation and wasn’t surprised that the original guy was charged with DUI and leaving the scene two weeks later. This is one case where I’m glad his mugshot was online.

Leave a Comment

Georgia DUI Defense Attorneys

At the Law Office of Richard S. Lawson, we have offices conveniently located throughout metro Atlanta and throughout Georgia. If we do not have a convenient office, we will come to you. We practice throughout Metro Atlanta and North Georgia. If your case is in an area we do not serve, we will find you an attorney in your area free of charge. Our office is part of a State-wide network of Georgia DUI Lawyers. Contact us 24/7 for immediate legal help. Our attorneys are standing by. Your DUI Case will not defend itself. Your Best Georgia DUI Defense Begins Here!