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Georgia Legislator Will Introduce Mugshot Legislation

Representative Roger Bruce Will Introduce LegislationTo Protect Against Exploitation of Headshots for Profit

Atlanta, GA – December 7, 2012 – Representative Roger Bruce has recently caught the attention of national media with talks on introducing legislation in 2013 to protect individuals who have headshots for police records, commonly known as “mugshots.”

These headshots are visible to the public on the sheriff’s county website and there are no guidelines on the usage of the headshots. This allows third-parties to post the headshots on a personal website and request a fee to have photograph removed.

The proposal will make it illegal to ask for money to remove the headshot from the website. It will also require the sheriff’s department to copyright all mug shots posted on their website. Including a copyright on the mug shot will remove the incentive to exploit “mugshots” for a profit. Lastly, Representative Bruce hopes this will provide victims a legal platform to rightfully have their headshots removed and sue for any damages caused by the improper use of their photo.

“When someone is arrested, your political party is not a concern. This is not about Democrats or Republicans. This is a non-partisan issue, and anyone can be victimized in this situation,” said Rep. Roger Bruce. “No one deserves to be subjected to this kind of scrutiny and abuse for money when they have not been convicted of a crime. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty.”

Rep. Roger Bruce filmed a segment with ABC explaining the importance of this proposal. His segment will air on Tuesday December 11, 2012 on World News with Diane Sawyer at 6:30PM and Nightline at 11:30PM.

Atlanta DUI defense lawyer Michael Hawkins is interested in following the proposed legislation, but wonders how viable the bill will be when the General Assembly meets in January.  “It is a problem, no doubt.”  Hawkins said.  “These websites and magazines that publish mugshots are taking advantage of citizens in a manner that our founding fathers could never have foreseen.”  Hawkins referenced the historical value of public humiliation – consider the stocks a convicted person would be placed in on the town square. “The difference here is twofold – first, the internet means it will be there forever. Second, these photos are being published based merely upon a person being accused of a crime, not being convicted.”

It is unclear whether copyrighting photographs that are taken in the context of performing a governmental public duty (identifying arrestees) will actually deter for-profit use of book-in photos. It is a routine part of every arrest, whether it is felony involving violent crime or a misdemeanor such as driving under the influence (DUI).  CHeck the DUI News Blog for updates on this story and the legislation in Georgia.

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Mike Hawkins

Mike Hawkins

ATTORNEY MICHAEL HAWKINS is one of only four lawyers in Georgia who has been recognized by the American Bar Association as Board Certified in DUI Defense. Hawkins is listed among the Best Lawyers in America in DUI Defense and has been named a Super Lawyer in Atlanta Magazine for the last 9 years. The Hawkins Law Firm handles only contested DUI charges. They have the experience, skills and commitment to make a difference for their clients and their proactive approach to fighting DUI cases has proven successful. The reputation of your lawyer can make a difference in the outcome of your case. After 20 years of practice, Mike and his staff have developed strong working relationships with judges and court staff, and with prosecutors and their staff. Mike is a graduate of Emory University School of Law and is a former DUI prosecutor in metro Atlanta. He is recognized nationally and has been invited to teach DUI Defense seminars all over a dozen states. His goal is simple – to work hard towards keeping a DUI off your record. Most of the clients that the Hawkins Law Firm assists are professionals who want to protect their record and keep their drivers license. If you or someone you know has a DUI charge and needs a lawyer who works hard to achieve positive results, call the Hawkins Law Firm.

2 Responses

  1. Hello Everyone:
    If you have read the newsletter you will know by now that the Mug Shot Bill has been dropped.  It is Bill HB 150.   People all over the Country are calling Rep. Bruce’s office inquiring the status of the bill.  I do not want to make any assumptions, so for those who are unaware of how the legislative process work you can see the details below or you can go to http://www.legis.ga.gov for legislative information.   
     HB 150 is currently assigned to the Judiciary Civil Committee, and I found out today that our first hearing on the bill will be on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013.   I do not have the time at the moment, but I wanted to give you a heads up and ask that you come out to the hearing to testify.  Our aim is to let the committee hear from us the ones whose lives have been negatively impacted by these mug shot companies.   
    I must share with you that Rep. Bruce has been soliciting support of this bill every chance he gets (colleagues and any official that will listen).   He has really gone above and beyond to push this bill on our behalf, and I am very proud of him.  I see it every day, but he needs us to do our part.  We are stronger in unity, so I implore you to make an effort and come out, not just for you, but for others that is and will face this kind of extortion.  Realistically, there are no guarantees that the bill will pass, but we are off to a great start and we have to give it our best effort.  We will keep pressing until we get the changes we need.  Please let me know who can testify next Monday. I will send the time and room # as soon as possible.  Lastly, I want to share a timely quote I read today.
    “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
    – Margaret Mead
     Please note: I have BCC everyone to secure your privacy.  
     Tracking a Bill Through The General Assembly
    Legislator sees need for a new law or changes in existing law and decides to introduce a bill.
    Legislator goes to Office of Legislative Counsel. There, attorney advises legislator on legal issues and drafts bill.
    Legislator files bill with the Clerk of the House or Secretary of the Senate. On legislative day after filing, bill is formally introduced. In chamber, bill’s title is read during period of first readings. Immediately after first reading, presiding officer assigns bill to a standing committee.
    In the House only, on next legislative day, Clerk reads bill’s title (second reading) in chamber, although actual bill is now in committee. In Senate, second reading comes after bill is reported favorably from committee.
    Bill considered by committee. Author and other legislators may testify. If controversial, public hearings may be held. Final Committee action reported in a written report. Committee options are:
    Recommend Bill or Resolution Do Pass;
    Recommend Do NOT Pass;
    Recommend Do Pass with changes (amendments or substitutes);
    Hold Bill.
    Clerk or Secretary prepares a General Calendar of bills favorably reported from committee.
    Legislation which was second read the day before is placed on a calendar in numeric order for floor action prior to the the Rules Committee meeting to choose bills for consideration.
    After a certain point, set by rule, the Rules Committee meets and prepares a Rules Calendar for the next day’s floor consideration from bills on General Calendar.
    The presiding officer calls up bills from the Rules Calendar for floor action in order as they appear on this calendar.
    Once presiding officer calls bill up from Rules Calendar, Clerk or Secretary reads bill’s title (third reading). Bill is now ready for floor debate, amendments, and voting. After debate, main question is called and members vote. if bill is approved by majority of total membership of that house , it is sent to the other house.
    Bill is passed if:
    If second chamber passes bill, it is returned to chamber where bill was introduced.
    If first chamber rejects changes and second chamber insists, a conference committee may be appointed. Committee report is accepted by both chambers.
    Bill is enrolled and sent to the Governor (if requested). Otherwise, all enrolled bills sent to Governor following adjournment sine die.
    Governor may sign bill or do nothing, and bill becomes law. Governor may veto bill, which requires two-thirds of members of each house to override.
    Act and other laws enacted at the session are printed in the Georgia Laws series. Also, act is incorporated into the Official Code of Georgia Annotated. Act becomes effective the following July 1, unless a different effective date is provided in act
    Sophia Andrade
    2013-2014 Legislative Assistant for Rep. Roger Bruce:
    Georgia House of Representatives
    608 Coverdell Legislative Office Building
    Atlanta, GA 30334
    O: 404-656-0314
    F: 404-656-0250

  2. The meeting wil be held at 9:00am at the GA State Capitol Building in room 132. If you can please come support this bil.

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