How many times have you seen a mugshot online and wondered, "What did this person do?"

I would wager that most people have had that thought at least once when seeing a mugshot.

Well, the appearance of mugshots online will be fewer and farther between, thanks to a new law enacted today in Louisiana.

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According to KLFY TV10, Governor John Bel Edwards signed into law the "Mugshot Bill", putting restrictions on the use of mugshots.

Mugshots, the photos taken by law enforcement officials of an individual upon arrest, have long been used in media. Whether used to alert the public about a wanted individual or to announce a breakthrough in a case, mugshots have been used to catch the eye of the public.

Of course, the old adage of "never judge a book by its cover" usually goes out the window when we see mugshots, especially of suspects from Florida.

WBBH -- NBC 2
WBBH -- NBC 2
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The new law limits the way law enforcement agencies can distribute the photos unless the suspect was arrested for certain charges:

  • Sex offenses
  • Human trafficking offenses
  • Offenses affecting the health and morals of minors
  • Offenses affecting the health and safety of persons with infirmities
  • Video voyeurism
  • Cruelty to animals
  • Dogfighting

The new law. according to KLFY's post, will allow law enforcement agencies to disseminate booking photos to inform the public when a dangerous suspect is on the loose or a fugitive is being sought.

Bill Cosby mugshot
Image via Montgomery County district attorney's office
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It also allows for the release of the booking photo if the suspect pleads guilty to the charges for which he was arrested.

WGNO released a copy of the law, which can be found here:

C.(1) No law enforcement officer or agency shall publish, release, or disseminate in any format a booking photograph to the public or to a private person 17 or entity... - WGNO

For any photo that is released of a suspect who has not yet been convicted or has not yet admitted to the charges, law enforcement agencies must include a disclaimer saying as much.

I understand the desire to limit the dissemination of mugshots: if I were arrested on trumped-up charges for a crime of which I am not guilty, I would be upset.

What about you?

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