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Smile! You’ve been arrested

July 7, 2012

“Police mug shot” is a slang term widely used to describe the photograph that authorities take after arresting a suspect and booking that person on a charge. This practice provides law-enforcement agencies with a photographic record that facilitates identification.

This week’s issue: Should news websites routinely publish “mug shots” as, for example, the Naples Daily News does? Why or why not?

The debate — fairly one-sided in that it is loudly defended on the part of powerful publishers — is heard throughout journalism circles and sometimes carried out among citizens, too. News organizations attempt to justify the practice by noting that mug shots are part of the public record; that many people are interested in crime news; and that publishing mug shots is providing a public service.

And you can find the mug shots on other websites; often, a local sheriff’s office website will post that information. In Broward County, for example, Internet users can search a database.

An arrest and booking on a charge doesn’t mean a person is guilty (even in Eric Holder’s America!). Sometimes, charges are dropped or changed during the judicial process.

So, should news organizations routinely publish each person’s police mug shot when it becomes available through a database of arrests?

What do you think?

44 Comments leave one →
  1. Michael Mora permalink
    July 7, 2012 7:26 pm

    Personally, I’m not a fan of the transparency of the mug shot. Media outlets- such the Naples Daily News example- flaunt the individuals as if they were cattle on their way to the meat grinder.
    I’m guilty of assuming this inference often, which I blame the media for conditioning me cognitively. For example, in our twitter news feed, provided was a “Naples Naples man arrested after police say child porn found on camera.” In the article, on the left hand side of the page, I laid my eyes upon the face of evil, Mr. Maxwell Duffy.
    When I viewed the picture later, I was just as disgusted; however, a court of law hasn’t found Duffy guilty, which is contradictory to a society that proclaims, “Innocence until proven guilty.”
    If Duffy is proven innocent, such as the eventual outcome of the two 2006 players of Duke’s Lacrosse team, who’s to say Duffy will ever be able to obtain a job again?
    Malilika Rao, a writer for the Huffington Post, wrote an article on a “a graphic designer in Manhattan,” Mark Michaelson who has collected 10,000 mug shots. Michaelson isn’t the garden variety mug shot collector; rather, he has amassed a stylistic selection of individuals to his personal Facebook.
    These shots consisted of “odd faces, bear scars, weak chins, crooked teeth and cloche hats, visual details his trained eye can’t resist,” Rao wrote. The internet, nowadays, is a plague of photo-shop, memes, and other forms of various spam. What’s to stop the next Zuckerberg, with a Michaelson mug shot collection, from capitalizing in some form from these photos?
    The government’s classification of criminal carries a lot of power; therefore, mug shots should not be released unless the individual is proven guilty.

  2. Bob Reinhard permalink
    July 9, 2012 2:31 pm

    To question the purpose of the mug shot leads to question the purpose of the arrest report. In most cases the person who is arrested has their name published. This allows the readers to recognize the perpetrator. The publishing of the mug shot allows more people, who may not know the person’s name, recognition.
    This is good in some cases, but bad in others. In the case of a child pornography (as posted in this weeks tweets), it is good because parents of vulnerable children can be doubly prepared against trusting this person. It is bad because of the stigma that will be connected to the offenders family. Even though they are innocent or worse victims.
    While it might be a pleasant thought to prohibit this, the negative effect of not protecting the public outweighs any possible benefits. Besides, they can always make a million selling the movie rights!

    • rkenney permalink
      July 24, 2012 7:24 pm

      OK, except that it’s too early —and potentially libelous — to call a person who has been arrested a “perpetrator.”

  3. Dan Surgan permalink
    July 9, 2012 3:25 pm

    Dan Surgan

    I’m no lawyer, but legally I see no issue with the papers publishing mug shots as long as they are official public record. Ethically, it is kind of a dick move. Responsible journalism should not aim to lure readers with content that lacks actual reporting or actionable information.
    In my experience the ‘police beat’ features tend to have a majority of ethnic mug shots, which I believe indirectly suggests readers should be wary of non-whites in their area. Without detailed reports, readers are offered minimum insight into the not-yet-proven-guilty party’s predicament. These papers encourage readers to judge based on appearances not facts, and offer no actionable information regarding the actual safety of your area.
    Databases like the one in home county of Broward, offer little more resources, than the local police beat papers. The only time it was useful for the people I know is when we would look up former classmate’s and friend’s mug shots if we heard of an arrest through the grapevine.
    At the end of the day, publishers need to make money, if mug shots are legal and bring in readers, than we will keep seeing them printed.

  4. Eusebio Moreno permalink
    July 10, 2012 1:09 pm

    I personally believe that the legal principles that a person is “innocent until proven guilty” and that the government needs to prove its case against the accused beyond a reasonable doubt and in a fair manner form the basis for the criminal justice system. However, when the news media prematurely prints an accused person’s mug shot; before that person has an opportunity to defend him/herself in a court of law, the news media interferes with these principles by falsely leading the community to think that the person portrayed in that picture is a criminal. We’ve all heard the old cliché; a picture is worth a thousand words. Well it is true. By printing an accused person’s mug shot before that person has an opportunity to defend him/herself in a court of law, the news media is already prematurely influencing the opinions and perceptions of the community by portraying the accused as a criminal. Thus, after seeing a person portrayed as a criminal, most members of the community are quick to jump to conclusions and assume that the person is a criminal. It is my opinion that the news media should only print the mug shots of convicted criminals.

  5. mccallr80 permalink
    July 10, 2012 1:51 pm

    Personally I think newspapers and journalists should be allowed to publish “mug shots”. Ido agree with Dan that is a little wrong ethically, however I feel like the public has a right to know who among their community is commiting crimes or being convicted of crimes. In some cases the convicted will be found not guilty, but that doesn’t make the best stories for these papers… after all they are looking for what appears to be “breaking news” right? Most journalists are looking for what is happening at the exact moment, and waiting for a court case on one person could take months. So why not just let them publish their stories and if the public cares so much, they can follow up and find out for themselves if the person if guilty or not guilty. The papers and journalists are just doing what they are paid to do and there is nothing preventing them to having access to the public records, such as mugshots. Overall it’s just a mugshot, everyone has embarassing photo’s, trust me I’ve seen some on Facebook. I think it is ultimately on the news consumer to follow up on the story rather than jumping the gun and assuming someone is a criminal just because they were convicted and had a mugshot posted.

  6. Gregory Gold permalink
    July 10, 2012 2:19 pm

    I believe that mug shots should be posted on news websites and television broadcasts. It can give viewers valuable information on dangerous criminals. I also think that it would be terrible to post a mug shot of an innocent person because that can ruin their future. Also if someone is wrongly accused and their mug shot is posted, they most likely were involved or are an acquaintance of the criminal. Mug shots are the best way to know what the criminal looks like and are very important to the community to keep them off the streets.

  7. Natalia Molinary permalink
    July 10, 2012 2:38 pm

    In my opinion, there’s no need to justify the publications of mug shots. It’s just another service being provided to news consumers. I’d like to even say that it’s almost a duty to inform our community about the convicted criminals that may be lurking around the corner. When first moving down to Florida, I discovered that one of my neighbors was recently convicted of battery and had a few past petty larceny arrests. For a single female, living completly alone in a brand new state, this was a big help in giving me the knowledge of the kind of people that were living in my area (mind you, that being unfamiliar with the area, I had moved into the dangerous parts around Ortiz and 82). As a Forensics Studies and Criminal Justice major, I have kept this as a reference and I cant even tell you how many times I feel as though it’s helped me steer clear of possible dangers around me. Sure, some find it fun to laugh at all the horrible mug shots taken in mid blink or after a severe beat down from police after resisting arrest. It’s more than just a meere form of entertainment though. It provides a bit more background on those you may be interacting with. In addition to alerting you on criminals in the area, it’s also a great deterant. I’d die if my mug shot was plastered all over the internet and Newspapers. Even if it’s only me that feels this way, atleast it’s one less person to worry about getting into any trouble. In any case, I agree with the first post in which Mora pointed out that sometimes mug shots are produced to the public before any sort of conviction has occured. In this situation I believe that the reporter/journalist has done the community a disservice. They are potraying an inaccuracy and at times this can cause a sort of witch hunt. The community is steered into a way of thinking that could be completly wrong and all because the paper wants a story to tell.

  8. Adam Santa Fe permalink
    July 10, 2012 7:28 pm

    In my opinion I think that if it is public records then it should be ok to post it in the news. Police arrests are public records and if I wanted to find out who has been arrested then I can. I know a lot of people go on those websites just to see if they know someone who has been arrested. I don’t know if I would want to be associated with that but if they have to time to look that information up, they can. It also shows who the bad guys in that area are and who to watch out for when they get back on the streets. Predators that live in the city are public records and everyone tells their kids to stay away from that house. All of that is public recorders and we have the right to know who the criminals are in our town.

  9. Sabrina Prefer permalink
    July 10, 2012 11:33 pm

    I honestly think that mug shots should be allowed to be posted by newspapers and accessible on databases. I feel like news consumers should be able to see what these criminals look like so that they know who to watch out for and to be fully informed about what is going on in their town. It is unfair when someone is wrongly accused of a crime, but I think we should have the right to know what is out there. Though it would be preferable for pictures not to be published until we are one hundred percent sure that they were the ones that committed the crime, I am not going to argue against it. Not too long ago I checked out my hometown’s mug shot database, and to my complete surprise I found five people I knew within a matter of minutes. I had no idea these people had gotten in any sort of trouble with the law and it was very interesting, as well as sad to see these young people that have gotten arrested. I think it is important to have access to this kind of information. I sympathize for innocent people whose pictures have been posted, but I think that accessibility to mug shots has more of a positive effect on the community than it does negative.

  10. Vicki DeBow permalink
    July 11, 2012 10:34 am

    News organizations should definitely be permitted to publish mug shots. It does not matter if these organizations are paper newspapers or news websites; this is part of freedom of press. Since mug shots are public records, anyone has access to view these photos. All these organizations are doing is entertaining their readers. If these criminals do not seek to have their mug shots in the news then they should not break the law. We all have a right to know what crime looks like in our neighborhoods and who is being arrested for what. If one of my neighbors is a thief I do not want to find out about it from gossip, the mug shot in the news would be more factual for me. Perhaps if criminals are afraid of their mug shot being published in the news, then they will be more hesitant with their actions. Personally, I enjoy looking at the mug shot section in the papers. It is reassuring to know that police are keeping us safe by throwing these criminals behind bars. Now if someone is wrongly arrested and their mug shot is posted, I think that the news organization should post a public apology. If false arrests are made frequently, these publications will encourage police to do further investigation before making an arrest. In my opinion, mug shots should be published more often.

  11. Pamela Perez permalink
    July 11, 2012 11:09 am

    Even though I find that “Police Mug Shots” can wrongly accuse an innocent person, I agree that they should be published on TV and newspapers because there is more to lose if they do not get published. People need to be aware of who is even a suspect of any crime so they can be extra careful with their children. For example, like some other students mentioned it, newspaper published reports like the case of the Naples man that was arrested because police found child porn in his camera are important because people have the right to know what crimes are been committed in their town and need to see these people’s faces to know who they need to watch out for. Even though he is just a suspect and he has not been found guilty yet, it is important that parents know this because there is a possibility this man is guilty. Although suspects are just suspects and haven’t been found guilty, neither have they been found innocent and if the police arrested them is because there is a possibility that these persons can be guilty of a crime. If cases like this wouldn’t get published more tragedies could occur. If the community doesn’t get informed of suspects of different crimes how are they suppose to protect themselves or their families of been the next victims? Yes there is a possibility these persons can be innocent but since all these records are already public records and anyone can go on the county website to check on them, it doesn’t hurt more to publish them on the newspaper or TV for the safety of others.

  12. Erik Hurd permalink
    July 11, 2012 11:33 am

    The debate on publishing “mug shots” (booking photos) can be simplified by defining the issue. For a subject to be arrested, a Law Enforcement Officer must have probable cause. Probable cause can be defined as the totality of circumstances, facts, evidence, and statements in a case indicate the subject probably committed the listed crime/offense. Probable cause is not proof beyond a reasonable doubt which is required to find a subject guilty in the court of law.

    Every news outlet in our local area including; news papers, television outlets, and radio stations report major crimes. In the reports, the names of people arrested for crimes like murder and rape are released for public safety reasons. In this case, probable cause, meets the criteria. So since, probable cause is an established level of vetting. The daily “mug shots” and police blog should not be an issue based on established guidelines.

    I personally think, citizens view “mug shots” for the same reason they drive slowly by crash scenes (rubber necking.) People are interested in the misfortune of others. Like the gladiators of Rome, death and misery are used as primitive forms of entertainment.

  13. Taylor Faris permalink
    July 11, 2012 12:01 pm

    I personally belive the posting Police Mug Shots is completely acceptable with some guidlines. Although I see where it can potentionally damage someones creditabiliy within their community, let alone other areas where the mug shot is viewed. Yet, Mug shots our public documents and can be viewed by anyone wheather it be on the Police departments home page or a search engine database.

    I do however think our legal systems goes pehaps a little overboard with what mug shots are posted. There is no need to post a mug shot of individuals “publically intoxicated” for example. Mostly everyone at one point or another how wound up drinking too much and been a little “disordley”, some just get the unfourtunate end of the stick and end up being arrested or have a booking charge. So is thier mug shot a really nessassary for the public eye to see?

    The Police departments should focus soley on posting these booking charges on thefts, domestic violence, arsen cases or other life threatening cases in the area. These mug shots add useful information to the public, so one can be protected in the future and provent types of crimes like these. Instead of publicly embarrassing someone for their “drunken” night at the wrong place in the wrong time.

  14. Jessica Sotelo permalink
    July 11, 2012 12:35 pm

    For this issue I believe that the media, especially now-and-days, invole racial profiling and stero typing that plays a big part in everything and the way we precive people before know their story or what really happen. The media has the power to control how people see others just by putting a picture of someone and descride his or her crime in a matter of 30 seconds and everyone watching already put a full lable on that person. Not to say that this is wrong all the time cause there are many people who are just mentally ill; however, a person on trial, whos picture has been blown up on T.V. and on the web, can be proven not gulity but most peolpe would never follow up on it and not see that he or she was not guilty. And that person can go their whole life getting precived as a criminal when they never commited a crime in their life. So as for the question should the media pulished mug shots before being proved gulity I do not believe in that and would rather hear the news of what is occuring but both the media and the news consumers and get it wrong.

  15. Jessica Sotelo permalink
    July 11, 2012 12:48 pm

    I believe that the news media now- and-days can put a mug shot of someone who has just been arrested and blow it up on the news. Now in the matter of the 10 seconds that picture is on the screen everyone who is watching it at that very moment just put a profile on that person without even hearing the case. This is how stereo typing and racial profiling play a huge role in the criminal media. I am not trying to say that they always get it wrong because there is some people that are just mentally ill and people should now right away but if there is a question and that person has not been proven guilty yet they do have a right to privacy, because once that picture goes out for the public to see that person’s life will never be the same if proven not guilty. Most people will never follow up on that case and see that person is not guilty and if they run into that person and a job or just on the street they are feared and judged at very second. So as for the question should websites routinely published mug shots, I do not believe in it until that person is proven guilty.

  16. Jessica Sotelo permalink
    July 11, 2012 12:54 pm

    I believe that the news media now- and-days can put a mug shot of someone who has just been arrested and blow it up on the news. Now in the matter of the 10 seconds that picture is on the screen everyone who is watching it at that very moment just put a profile on that person without even hearing the case. This is how stereo typing and racial profiling play a huge role in the criminal media. I am not trying to say that they always get it wrong because there is some people that are just mentally ill and people should now right away but if there is a question and that person has not been proven guilty yet they do have a right to privacy, because once that picture goes out for the public to see that person’s life will never be the same if proven not guilty. Most people will never follow up on that case and see that person is not guilty and if they run into that person and a job or just on the street they are feared and judged at very second. So as for the question should websites routinely published mug shots, I do not believe in it until that person is proven guilty because things get misinterpreted in the media.

  17. July 11, 2012 1:01 pm

    I don’t care for how local publications show off all the current mug shots. If their main claim as to why they do it falls under “providing public service” and “the public’s right to know”, that is bologna. They do it because it’s entertaining for people to glance over and it’ll sell a few impulse buys. In gas stations, I often see publications that only contain mug shots, with the most conspicuous suspects in larger shots on the front page. These papers are just making a profit off easy exploitation.
    Anyone with internet access can visit their county sheriff’s website and see all the mugshots they need to/want to. I can vouch that this is very easy to do. And given that this is available to us, there is no need for it to be in the daily paper. Assuming papers are meant for daily news, pictures of people that got arrested recently wouldn’t be the first thing I’d look for.
    And then as you mentioned, these people are suspects while in the pics, not proven guilty yet. A number of people in these mugshots may be proven innocent and don’t deserve to be publically disgraced; and for that matter, do any crimes charged warrant public humiliation?

  18. Angela Navarro permalink
    July 11, 2012 1:02 pm

    “A picture is worth a thousand words” this quote is more than evident when it comes to mug shots. These mug shots are posted everywhere and readily available to us, whether on our local news media website or even posted on flyers in break rooms at work (my job constantly posts updates on mug shots of people who shoplift). When we look at the photos of these “convicted criminals” we make judgments, we assume that they are bad people, and even feel a bit threatened and scared by these pictures, and although some of these pictures can lead us to wrong full convictions the mug shots are completely necessary.
    As show in this link, CNN-Mug Shots, public service or legal blackmail? CNN displays in the title of the short article that most people either view mug shots as public service or legal blackmail. With our changing technology the access of these mug shots has become convenient to us over a simple click of the internet as shown in the CNN link as well as the Naples Daily news link posted up for us. In an instant we can see if our own neighbor has been convicted of a crime, or if a person down the street is a sex offender, even keep an eye out for shop lifters, either way it allows us to be warned and to be safe of maybe future dangers.

  19. July 11, 2012 1:05 pm

    Oh my goodness, absolutely! I definitely believe the media or news outlets should post mug shots of people who have been arrested but more prominently convicted or convictions. If it is someone who just had a random DUI then I do not believe a mug shot should be shown because usually they get released the next day. But now let’s talk about the person who gets a DUI and is proven to have killed someone or ran them over seriously injuring the victim. There should be a fine line of what should and shouldn’t be posted, no doubt.

    But take this into consideration, what if you plan on moving somewhere and you want to check out the community. Wouldn’t you like to know if your possible future neighbor is a sex offender and you have a child in your household? I personally know I wouldn’t want to live next to drug offenders or sexual predators. Would you? For the media, I would not want to see normal arrestees for traffic violations or anything not of seriousness. Just the really bad people with serious offenses should be publicized in my opinion.

    I used to live in Sebastian, Fl. where they had their own channel dedicated to people that have been arrested, was a sex offender or even a wanted felon: name, address and offense along with their mug shot. It is all public records anyways and I believe some should be publicized for the protection of communities and families. I personally liked the fact and spent countless hours watching the TV station of all the convicted felons and sex offenders.

    Yes, it makes the criminals credibility even worse seeing their face and offenses on TV but just think of the family the media will save by just airing where sex offenders or wanted felons live. CCSO and other criminal justice agencies already have sites where you can look someone up so what would be the difference to publicize it more on the media- hint: they already do on Facebook!

    So if “News organizations attempt to justify the practice by noting that mug shots are part of the public record; that many people are interested in crime news; and that publishing mug shots is providing a public service,” then why can we easily look these up by databases through every local Sheriff’s department and even through our most widely media ever- FACEBOOK? It is all public record guys, it is just up to us on whether or not we chose to research it or not.

    • rkenney permalink
      July 24, 2012 7:29 pm

      Many fine points, but no convincing argument supporting the ethics of publishing the mug shot of someone who isn’t guilty.

  20. Amanda Moore permalink
    July 11, 2012 1:09 pm

    I recently read an article about a Greenville, North Carolina newspaper called “The Busted.” “The Busted” can be found anywhere in Greenville and is known for printing pictures of all of the individuals in Greenville who have been arrested on their front page of the newspaper. The publisher of the newspaper, who wishes to remain unidentified, claims that the paper is “not out to embarrass anybody, we’re just out to be a tool in the community for everyone in the community to know what’s going on around them.” The photos are clearly controversial, but mug shots always will be controversial. Personally, I think printing mug shots completely exposes an individual and creates embarrassment for not only them, but also their family and associates as well. If one of my family members is arrested and their picture is posted in the Naples Daily News, I would be horrified. Even though getting arrested isn’t a positive thing, it does not always make the individual a bad person. When seeing a mug shot, you automatically have negative thoughts about that individual, sometimes not knowing a single thing about them. However, mug shots typically intrigue readers and if a newspaper knows that mug shots are an important asset to their paper (increasing readership or circulation sales), they will not take them out. Which is understandable, but is it ethical?

  21. Laura Siebenmorgen permalink
    July 11, 2012 1:10 pm

    Absolutely. I think that once a criminal has been arrested and THEN found guilty, their mug shot should be available to any person who may come in accidental contact with that criminal. American citizens have a right to knowledge and have a right to protect themselves. Fortunately there is already a mug shot based newspaper that runs through Lee and Collier counties called “Locked Up”. “Locked Up” is posted weekly and can be found in most convenient stores.
    While there is some humor in the ridiculous stories shared about crazy arrests, there is also a seperate column that separates the DUI/Drug Charge criminals from the Sex Offenders. The Sex Offender column allows you to view their mugshot, their offense and their current address. It is shocking to read how many of these sex offenders live within a one- mile radius of your own home.
    I feel privileged to have this information at my fingertips, especially since I want to have kids one day. As a future parent, I want to know exactly who my neighbors are and that my children will be safe. Current mug shots of criminals through print is an effective and smart way to remain aware and spread knowledge and to better know the people you surround yourself with.

  22. Chris Ruskai permalink
    July 11, 2012 1:24 pm

    I think that the publishing of police mugshots is a necessary part of the news as long as there is one stipulation: it should be easily clarified that the person was arrested and charged with a crime, but not necessarily found guilty.

    As for the argument that it can ruin an innocent person’s life: It should be up to the consumer to “open the freezer” and determine the person’s status before passing judgement.

    Finally, I believe that the publication of mugshots is a necessary way for the consumer to be alert to possibly dangerous criminals.

  23. Derek Maloney permalink
    July 11, 2012 3:15 pm

    I think that news agencies should publish police mug shots. I view it as a way of informing the public who has been arrested, and what they have been arrested for. I agree that it is a public service, allowing communities an easily accessible source to find out who in their community may or may not be dangerous. A lot of people who are arrested get released on bail, so it is a good idea to be familiar with any potentially dangerous people in your neighborhood.
    However, I also believe there should be restrictions on posting mug shots. For example, the Naples Daily News states that “Arrests indicate suspicion of crime, not guilt.” This should be a requirement for all news agencies that post mug shots. If a news agencies website doesn’t contain an easily visible statement proclaiming that the people shown have not been found guilty of a crime, then I don’t think they should publish the mug shots. I think that the benefits of informing the public outweigh the potential harm that could result in the posting of a mug shot of an innocent individual.

  24. Andrew White permalink
    July 11, 2012 3:16 pm

    I feel that it is legal and ethically acceptable to publish mugshots. They are part of the public record so withholding them would be unacceptable. Ethically…it is kind of unfair to some people who are charged but then found innocent, I assume having everybody think that you were a criminal would be unpleasant. Personally I would feel better if it was made clear that these are people who have been charged but not yet found guilty when publishing mugshots, because let’s face it when you look at a mugshot you don’t think of a person whose potentially innocent. In spite of that, I believe the public should have access to this information in order to be informed about potentially dangerous people.

  25. Hayley Pottruck permalink
    July 11, 2012 3:34 pm

    I personally think that this can go both ways. The pros to having this public is that I think that people deserve to know about the HARDENED criminals. This includes people such as rapists, pedophiles, murderers, etc. If people are a menace to society people need to know about them.
    Although, there is definitely a con side to this argument also. These pictures could publicly humiliate someone and ruin their life. I only believe they shouldn’t put their picture up publicly if their crime isn’t extreme. This includes first timers to marijuana charges, a traffic violation, etc. I think this because these pictures could potentially ruin this persons life. Especially if it is a younger person because everyone makes mistakes which is why I put first offenders.
    So I think that it should be up to the officers discretion if it should be put public. If it is a little crime it should not be public, but if it is a hardened criminal or a menace to society people deserve to know and it should be shown publicly.

  26. Kaitlyn Battistoni permalink
    July 11, 2012 3:52 pm

    In my opinion I certainly think “mug shots” should be put up publicly. These people who were arrested should be seen by the public for what they have done. That is the arresties fault for making that mistake and their mug shot should not be hidden like a secret to society. Mug shots help identify people and possibly let the public know to watch out for them in the future. In the society that we live in now going public with mug shots is benefiting everybody. Going public with these pictures posted is a great source to people interested in arresties. I perosnally think though mug shots should be seperated by categories they asre charged with and also put if they were found guilty or not. First of all, splitting into different categories will help people go through thousands upon thousands of mug shots and easily find a person. second of all, beneath what they have done there should be noted if the person was found guilty or not, this could help the public know if they were punished or released. In semation, mug shots should be open to the public to see.

  27. Arielle Hyppolite permalink
    July 11, 2012 3:58 pm

    I don’t think that news organizations should routinely publish each person’s police mug shot . Due to the fact as stated above, an arrest and booking on a charge doesn’t mean a person is guilty, so therefore why take a mug shot of someone and have their picture available for everyone to see when charged might be dropped and the picture will stay in the internet forever. This picture may hunt them for the rest of their lives. As you know, when someone is applying for a job, the manager always makes sure to do a background check on his or her future employee. When the background check is in process and he or she sees the mug shot picture, the job offer will automatically slip through the person’s hands. Even if they weren’t guilty of anything and charges were drooped, the manager will want to hear none of that. Therefore leaving the person without a job and struggling day by day to provide for his or her family.

  28. ryan christie permalink
    July 11, 2012 5:23 pm

    Personally, I don’t think news outlets should be muddying up our mainstream information with everyday crimes. People get arrested every hour every day, that does’t mean everyone needs to know about it. Though, public scandals are plasters all over the news and other media outlets, regardless of their importance, I believe there is place for all information and criminal photos shouldn’t be in mainstream news. If someone wants to find that information they can go to the real place to find it, like a sherif website or sites of that nature. As it says in the blog, the police aren’t always right and sometimes people are wrongfully booked or charged get dropped, and in that case I wouldn’t want my mugshot in the newspaper for a crime I didn’t even commit.

  29. Briana Smith permalink
    July 11, 2012 5:27 pm

    I do not think that news organizations should routinely publish each person’s police mug shot. At least not right as it becomes available through the database of arrests. I think the media should wait to publish the mug shots to see if the criminal is actually guilty of the crime, or if it’s just speculation. If the charges are dropped, then it is pointless to have someones mugshot, saying they’ve committed a crime, when they really haven’t. It’s almost unfair. I do think that if one going to do the crime, having your mugshot posted, should be one of the consequences to ones actions. I also think that it can be a mater of public safety, I think that everyone deserves to know what criminals are out there, what they have done, and what they look like. I think that mug shots of criminals should be posted, they brought it upon themselves and the public needs to know about it.

  30. Cassie Unterbrink permalink
    July 11, 2012 5:47 pm

    I believe the fact that newspapers are allowed share information like mugshots is neat because we are all curious creatures and we enjoy spotting those who have done wrong and ended up behind bars. I also believe this is somewhat personal information though and that one should be able to decide if they want there mugshot out there for all to see. It can give somebody a bad name and publicity that the person would most likely not enjoy. I got thrown into this situation myself unfortunately. I got caught in “the wrong place at the wrong time” as the cop told me. I was just coming home from a night at the movies and my roommate threw a massive party. My attempts to end the party myself failed, but sure enough the cops were there to end it soon enough. 15 people were arrested that night, and me being the owner of the house got all the chargers for my roommates underaged drinking friends. My roommate fled the scene and I got associated with this huge party that I did not want to be a part of, I was not doing any wrong. Later, my mugshot ended up on the front, first row on the Slammer. I was not happy about this at all. I would be made fun if at gas stations where they sell this newspaper. And now anyone can search my name and find my mugshot as well. Although it might be funny to look over people’s mugshots, one has to remember that what is posted on there is not always completely accurate. I was at a disadvantage because there is now a bad reputation associated with my name that may be assessable forever.
    Just like we are always talking about in class, a good researcher goes to all sources to find out correct information. It is clear that pictures can often times be misleading.

  31. schuyler houfek permalink
    July 11, 2012 5:48 pm

    I think if someone is arrested, for example for a DUI. There is a mug shot taken, but should not be put into newspapers that is not public that is private information. Only wanted suspects and felons should be made public, so the public can help to catch the suspect. But there should be a database where someone can look up a person’s name and see is if the person they are working with is wanted or not.

  32. Brendan Koning permalink
    July 11, 2012 5:57 pm

    I understand the merit behind releasing the mug shots as a part of “transparency” for the police department, but I question the necessity. In this country there is a saying of “innocent until proven guilty”. With the untimely release of these pictures, a person can have irreparable damage done to their character. It maybe a different story if the newspaper printed a retraction if the individual is cleared of these chargers, but the damage is already done.
    I have a great example of how I, personally, came across this. My co-workers and I have a game called “guess the mug shot crime”. We have a blast guessing who is in for public intoxication or battery. Until it’s someone you know. I was clicking through it one day and came across one of my close friends. He looked disheveled and in pain. I quickly exited from the window, but my co-workers had already seen his face. Though he was cleared of the charges, his picture still remains to haunt him for as long as cyber space exists.
    So I am against the immediate posting of these pictures. Only after they are found guilty should they be released. This helps to curb the destructive nature of a picture.

  33. Michael Coats permalink
    July 11, 2012 5:59 pm

    Aside from the possibility of defacing a suspect of a crime through publicizing actions, why shouldn’t an individual become the center of attention if they were involved in a crime? We need to remember how and why they got there in the first place. Whatever actions they assessed was their wrong doing and it should be known. It’s basic principle of journalism: opening the freezer and telling others what you found. Journalist organizations are doing there jobs by sharing the story as it quickly surfaces. They say the cream always rises to the top and as evidence will do its job and bring justice upon those individuals who are in the wrong, no one can really blame law enforcement as well as journalists for theorizing over a case. I don’t think speculation should be criticized in the sense that one’s “mug shot” is placed for all to see, it just gets messy when others point fingers and claim “I told you so.”

  34. Nurjahan Khatun permalink
    July 11, 2012 6:02 pm

    I totally agree with Ashley Nicole Handley. I think posting some police mug shot is okay, but it can be unethical in some cases. The news media shouldn’t post random mug shots just because it’s funny or whatever. Posting too many random mug shot, can lose the intended value. It can even be exciting to some people for their picture being viewed on the newspaper or on television.
    In order to keep our society safe, I believe that news media and should mug shot criminals, perpetrators, and wanted people. This would help people to be more aware of their neighborhood, neighbors or friends; and if further information is needed then they can just access the public records.
    Parents who are concerned about their children being outside, afraid of perpetrators, then they can do neighborhood check on the Internet to see who lives where.

  35. michael houfek permalink
    July 11, 2012 6:03 pm

    I believe that Criminal Mug Shots should be available for the public to see. It is important for people, especially families to know who the dangerous people are in their area. As far as how available these mug shots are is a different story. For example, if there is a criminal on the run for a double-murder, his mug shot should be shown on the news and in the paper. If the case is a simple DUI charge, that imformation is on more of a personal level. If there is a company hiring for a job, they should be able to search a database of names, that will show if that person has any charges, from a misdermeanor to a felony. Knowing this information will help them make a decision to better their company.

  36. Katie Meador permalink
    July 11, 2012 6:06 pm

    I believe that mug shots are necessary for police records. The photographed may or may not be proven guilty during trial or may have charges dropped before going to trial, but taking mug shots helps the police keep track of all persons suspected of criminal activity, so that there can be fewer mix ups when dealing with cases. Since many people have the same name, but do not look alike, mug shots simply help to ensure police have captured the correct offender. In addition, making mug shots public in media outlets helps to give awareness to the community. No mother or father wants their child running around a neighborhood among neighbors they know nothing about. Say that a person living in their block is a sex offender. While a parent may see a sex offender’s name in a national registry, they do not know the sex offender’s face. However, getting online or reading the newspaper and seeing the face of the criminal allows the parent to know not to let their child near his or her house. Publicizing mug shots can also help in the business world; it creates more transparency and may stop people from hiding their past and failing to mention that they were arrested on job applications. I am not saying that all people with mug shots are bad. I know quite a few people that have been arrested, and they are not bad people they just made a bad decision at the time, such as a DUI, possession of an illegal substance, or guilty by association. In all of these circumstances a person would get a mug shot so they can get put into the legal system. I think certain crimes such as sex offenders and assaults should be made public so that people of the community know who they are living by, but not all mug shots should be posted to the public such as DUI, illegal substances, guilty by association, or public indecency should not be posted to the public on public cites such as newspapers or the internet.

  37. Janelle Silva permalink
    July 11, 2012 6:14 pm

    Although mug shots are part of public record, i don’t believe that publishing companies of newspapers should make any form of profit off of the individuals whose mug shots are being used. Since it is public record, anyone who is curious about those that have been convicted of crimes can easily go online to the local police force website and search for photos of criminals in the area. I agree with publishing the photos if the publication does not charge any sort of extra fee for them. I have often seen the newspapers in 7-eleven that only have mugshots of those convicted, no news of any sort, and that i strongly disagree with since they’re charging $2.00 for the paper. However if its being published on a website i feel that is acceptable since the local police force does that anyway. Its just making it easier for readers to access that information.

  38. Ashley permalink
    July 11, 2012 6:27 pm

    For employers, friends, and family, I do think that, “mug shots”, should be published for the public, whether that be through news media, online websites, or any other informational databases. If you make a decision to do something in public that is against the law, the public should be made aware of that decision. If that person finds it embarrassing or “none of anyone’s business” than they should have thought of that before they broke the law. If I was an employer and found one of my employee’s “mug shots” on the news Monday morning, it would definitely make me think twice about the character of my employees and whether, or not, their future should be with my company. There are reasons why convicted felons have a hard time getting work, it is because it says something about someone’s decision making skills and lack of judgement. I do not find this practice to be an invasion of someone’s privacy; all of this information found through the news paper media sources can be found on that county sheriff’s website. There must be some sort of deterrent towards individuals going out and committing senseless crimes that blemish their record. If having a misdemeanor or felony on your record is not enough, maybe having your picture in the newspaper for thousands to see will offer that to some.

  39. Dani Toll permalink
    July 11, 2012 6:47 pm

    News organizations should absolutely publish mug shots when they become available through public databases of arrests. This does do a public service to people who are curious about these photos, but may not have other reasonable ways to access the information without the printed photos in newspapers in their local convenient stores and on their local street corners.
    The public needs to be aware of crime news for it’s own safety as the very simplest reason. If a dangerous individual can be identified and avoided by a person in an instant because the person remembered that face from a mug shot photograph, then publishing these mug shots is a service journalists need to provide to their community.

  40. July 11, 2012 6:54 pm

    I believe that the mugshots should become available once the person under arrest has been proven guilt by a jury of their peers. When I began reading the article my first thought was to instantly say, “No, they performed a crime and don’t deserve the right to stay anonymous.”, but as was mentioned in the article, sometimes they might not even be proven guilty. The public is quick to judge anyone arrested as guilty right away, perhaps the issue may lie in educating the public that these people don’t instantly become guilty. I don’t think it is the medias responsibility to teach these things, but everyone should know this.

  41. Casey Brogan permalink
    July 11, 2012 6:56 pm

    I don’t believe that a person’s mug shot is something that should be available to the public. Personally I find most mug shots that I see to be extremely embarrassing, especially for woman. When someone’s found not guilty their mug shot and record should be taken off all law enforcement websites. If they’re are found guilty they still shouldn’t have their face posted on the internet but their arrest records should still definitely be available to the public, but I find no reason to have a mug shot be available to anyone with internet access. When a newspaper publishes a mug shot it sends the wrong message. It says to me, “This is a horrible person who did something awful”. The image sticks with me while reading the article and takes away my ability to personally convict because of that blank, “I did it, so what”, stare looking at me the whole time.

  42. Alex Smythe permalink
    July 11, 2012 6:56 pm

    I don’t think that posting mugshots is a bad thing. Sometimes its nice to see who the suspect is, especially when they may be released soon and can be troublesome in the neighborhood. When the mugshots are posted, its just giving access to what the people want. There is nothing wrong to me except if the picture takes up too much room or destroys integrity of the paper or article somehow. Pictures are worth a thousand words. It is public record and the truth is what journalism is all about. (I am typing this from my phone, sorry.)

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