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Senator’s mug shot ‘extortion’ bill advances
August 05, 2014, 05:00 AM Daily Journal Staff Report

Jerry Hill

A Peninsula lawmaker’s proposed bill to criminalize websites that post mug shots and charge the subjects money to take them down advanced Monday to the governor’s desk.

The legislation authored by state Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, would prohibit the for-profit sites from soliciting or accepting payment to remove, correct or modify mug shots. The bill does not limit access to arrest records and booking photos by the media and other interested parties under the California Public Records Act.

Violations would carry up to a $1,000 penalty.

The state Legislature Monday unanimously supported the bill which now heads to Gov. Jerry Brown for signature or veto.

Hill equates the practice of charging people to remove mug shots and restore their reputations with extortion.

“We’re all accountable for our behavior but that doesn’t mean someone should make money by spreading your booking photo on the Web — especially if you were never convicted of a crime,” Hill said in a prepared statement.

Hill described the sites as “fly-by-night enterprises that often sully reputations and hinder employment opportunities, regardless of whether charges are dropped.”

Seven states — Georgia, Illinois, Colorado, Oregon, Texas and Utah — have passed laws restricting the practice of charging payment for mug shot removal and at least 11 others have introduced similar legislation this year.



Tags: shots,

Other stories from today:

Man accused of two masked robberies enters no contest plea
Cancer-struck arsonist jailed for hospital fire
Half Moon Bay streets to be repaved

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