House bill could reform websites posting police mugshots

Mar 27, 2014

Missouri Capitol
Credit File Photo / KBIA

Missouri lawmakers are trying to crack down on commercial websites that post police mugshots of people who have been arrested, then demand money to have the photos removed.

A House bill given first-round approval Wednesday would require the operators of such websites to delete the photos for free within 30 days of a request. Violators could be charged with a misdemeanor.

The House sponsor, Columbia Republican Caleb Jones, called the mugshot businesses "extortion." Many people whose booking photos are posted are never charged with crimes, but still must pay to have the images deleted.

The bill would exempt the news media and organizations producing something for public information, entertainment or education. The measure needs a second House vote before moving to the Senate.