New law banning mug shot ‘extortion’ signed by governor unconstitutional.
The law is unconstiutional. Does not apply to newspapers, online newspapers or some online publications. Who decides "who" is a publisher and who is not? The law is a Chinese Fire Drill and can never be enforced.
In order to take advantage of this new law, a person is required to:
•Make a request to the company in writing and send the request by certified mail;
•Includes their name, date of arrest, and the name of the arresting law enforcement agency;
•Send copies of certified documents, such as a disposition sheet, that show the charges have been dismissed;
•Include the URL or other information about where such arrest and booking records are located in the company’s publication.
New law banning mug shot ‘extortion’ signed by governor
State Sen. Paul Thurmond (File/SCETV)
New legislation signed into law by Governor Nikki Haley on Tuesday would crack down on websites that post mug shots and charge hundreds of dollars to remove them.
Both the House and Senate unanimously approved the final language earlier this month. The new law targets those websites that post arrest records and booking photos by declaring such sites to be “transacting business” in South Carolina.
Lead sponsor State Sen. Paul Thurmond, R-Charleston, said such sites currently demand money to take the mug shot down even if the individual is later cleared of any crime.
“What they do is they extort money from people,” the Charleston attorney said. “Obviously, if the charge has been dismissed or they’ve been found not guilty, then the information is not accurate. So what they end up doing currently is they will request hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to remove it from their website.”
The new legislation bans those websites from charging a fee to remove the information. It also requires the site to remove the photo if contacted by an individual who was later cleared of the charges or had them dropped. The website operator would face up to $1,000 in fines and/or two months in prison if they do not comply.
Thurmond said having mug shots so easily visible on the internet can prevent a person from being hired or hurt them in child custody cases.
“Frankly, some of these websites provide a service to the public in that regard,” he admitted. “But when you are found not guilty, or when the charge is (not prosecuted) or dismissed, you should have the comfort to know that you’re going to be extorted for hundreds of dollars by some random company just because they pulled your mug shot off of a public domain.”
The law does exempt newspapers or online news sites, but encourages them to post updated information if the individual is cleared. The language was added at the request of the South Carolina Press Association, which stated the public has a right to know if prominent individuals or elected officials are arrested and have the charges dropped.
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