Why are mugshots made public before the suspect is convicted by the court?

Several reasons.

  1. Mugshots can help find people when they have absconded, or warn people when someone is out and dangerous. So there is a good reason to share some mugshots.
  2. Our legal system requires openness as per the federal constitution, and I imagine most if not all state constitutions. As such, this sort of information is not considered private and can be shared. Any effort to keep mug shots private would result in lawsuits by the press and lay people. This would be under the First and Sixth amendments as well as the various Freedom of Information Acts. However, in 2016 a federal court ruled that federal mugshots are no longer routinely available under the federal FOIA. This is partially in recognition of the damage that mugshots can do online. In its opinion, the court noted that, “[a] disclosed booking photo casts a long, damaging shadow over the depicted individual.” The court specifically mentions websites that put mugshots online, in its analysis. “In fact, mug-shot websites collect and display booking photos from decades-old arrests: BustedMugshots and JustMugshots, to name a couple.” Some states have passed or are looking to pass laws to prevent release of mugshots prior to conviction. New Jersey, is one example.

    1. As the federal court recognizes, and as we all know, the reality is that if your picture in a mug shot is out there, regardless of whether you were convicted, it can have an unfortunate impact on your life. In the old days, this wasn’t too much of a problem because it really wasn’t easy to find mugshots. Now, with companies allegedly seeking to extort people into paying to get their images off the web, it has become a serious problem. Those companies may get in trouble if it can be proved that they are working in concert, getting paid to take the picture off one site and then putting it on another. But that is rare. In most cases, the picture is just public data to which there is no right of privacy under the law.
    2. The underlying purpose of publicity is to avoid the government charging people and abusing the authority to do so. It was believed that the publicity would help protect people. And it does when you have a country that likes to hide what it is up to. But, it also can cause harm in a modern society like ours, where such things end up on the web and can cause permanent damage. Unfortunately, it is a bit of a catch 22. We have the right to know issues and free speech rights smack up against privacy rights and serious damage of reputation for people who have not been convicted of a crime. The law will no doubt continue to shake out over the next few years as it struggles to catch up with the technology.

This information was taken from Quora. Click here to view the original post.

Have you ever wondered about it? Do you think it's acceptable to post photos of people before the court announce them guilty?

#Society #Quora


What are your thoughts on this subject?
Janette Will
An interesting article. However, in Australia 🇦🇺 photos of people alleged to have committed crimes are usually not released until the person has been convicted. This is done to protect the persons privacy and to uphold the rule of law that says a person is innocent until proven guilty. It is also considered that publishing photos of an alleged criminal could prejudice their ability to have a fair trial.
Oct 31, 2018 4:33AM
jack patti go
Who knows! I have never been arrested, but if I had, I wouldn't want my picture plastered anywhere!
Sep 11, 2019 8:37PM
Russ Dobell
Not All "Mugshots" are released, example, No Juvenile fotos are shown publicly, or most accused "Child Molesters" prior to conviction, nor anyone accused of treason.
Mar 9, 2019 6:13AM
Jane Elise Naylor
This is about the USA, not the same everywhere in the World!!!
Jan 15, 2019 6:04AM
Rob Bowman
Interesting people you Americans and your beloved constitution, if only you could think outside that box you might realise it is not as great as it is made out to be,
Dec 31, 2018 7:49PM
Barb Beck
Barry Wade, It is a coming. He is running scared and is trying to outsmart Mueller. I don't think he can....if nothingf happens to him, our justice system will be for naught.
Dec 19, 2018 10:58PM
Judy Wilson
Yes, this was a very interesting article.
Dec 9, 2018 6:53PM
Barry Wade
where is dt mug shot
Oct 26, 2018 1:48PM
Interesting. Thank you.
Oct 15, 2018 12:08AM
Laura Urrutia
Even you can look it up sex offense. I was shocked to see that some of near by my house.
Oct 1, 2018 5:53AM
Pamela Spallin
I don’t agree that mugshots should be made public you could ruin an innocent persons life forever especially with the technology todayn
Sep 26, 2018 10:06PM
Conrado De Leon
In my part of the world, mjug shots were asked to be shown in every paper, son people would recognise a crook. Then, some "human rights" scoundrel sued, claiming it violated the crook's rights. Nice.
Sep 17, 2018 1:24PM
Darlene Davidson
Raises some interesting issues and questions.
Sep 16, 2018 4:30PM
Lydia Coutts
Leapy Lee, EXACTLY.
Sep 11, 2018 6:18PM
Axel Brosi
being wrong or guessing wrong affecting a person who is innocent MUST BE CONSIDERED A CRIMINAL OFFENCE and must be punished in a most draconian way
Sep 10, 2018 9:43PM

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