In a tremendous victory for many people whose mugshots are posted on websites that require payment in order to take them down, the 2013 Georgia Legislature has approved a measure (HB 150) restricting the publication of such mugshots and providing a mechanism for individuals in Georgia to seek the removal of their mugshots from such websites under certain circumstances (without having to pay).
To qualify under the bill, which still must be signed by Georgia’s Governor Nathan Deal, individuals must send a written request to “any person who is engaged in any activity involving or using a computer or computer network who publishes on such person’s website a subject individual’s arrest booking photograph for purposes of commerce” (HB 150 – 2013 – Lines 38-40) requesting that such photograph be removed. Website operators will be given thirty days to remove photographs from proper requests. The bill specifically states that failure to comply is unlawful.
Removal is only required for individuals:
- that have had their records restricted pursuant to Georgia Code Section 35-3-37,
- whose case “…[p]rior to indictment, accusation, or other charging instrument…was never referred for further prosecution to the proper prosecuting attorney…” and the arresting law enforcement agency closed the case,
- whose case was not prosecuted “[p]rior to indictment, accusation, or other charging instrument” because the statute of limitations expired,
- whose case was referred to the prosecuting attorney but dismissed “[p]rior to indictment, accusation, or other charging instrument,”
- with cases in which the grand jury returned two no bills “[p]rior to indictment, accusation, or other charging instrument,”
- with cases in which all charges were dismissed or nolle prossed after indictment or accusation,
- who pled guilty to or was found guilty of a drug possession charge and was sentenced in accordance with the provisions of Georgia Code Section 16-13-2 (conditional discharge) and the individual successfully completed the terms and conditions of his or her probation, or
- who were acquitted of all charges by a judge or jury.
If the bill is signed by Georgia’s Governor and becomes law, written requests will be required to include individual’s name, date of birth, date of arrest and the name of the arresting law enforcement agency. The website operators will be required to remove the subject individual’s arrest booking photograph “without fee or compensation.” Written requests will be required to be sent “via certified mail, return receipt requested, or statutory overnight delivery, to the registered agent, principal place of business or primary residence of the person who published the website.
For more information from the Hernan Law Firm regarding HB 150, or when the bill passes if you would like assistance determining your eligibility and requesting removal of your mugshot, please call (678) 275-4000 to set up a free consultation or click on Make An Appointment here on in the menu bar above.
To contact Governor Nathan Deal to encourage him to sign HB 150 into law, visit http://gov.georgia.gov/contact-us-0.