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Bill limits publication of mug shots

By Shara Park and Dave Cawley | Posted - Mar. 6, 2013 at 6:52 p.m.

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SALT LAKE CITY — A new bill on Utah's Capitol Hill would ban the practice of publishing mug shots in a magazine or website that requires money to take them down.

HB408 surfaced on Capitol Hill Tuesday. It was crafted by Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, with input from law enforcement like Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder.

If approved, the measure would require people requesting a copy of a mug shot to sign a statement that the photo will not be placed in a publication or on a website that requires payment in order to remove the picture. Violators would face a class B misdemeanor for writing a false statement, up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Winder said the bill would strike a balance, allowing access to the booking photos by the press for legitimate news stories and by those doing background checks.

Proposed Penalty
  • Class B misdemeanor
  • Up to six months in jail
  • $1,000 fine

But it would also prevent those found innocent or whose charges were dropped from having their mug shots remain on the web.

"Nobody wants to have pictures of themselves in the worst situation in their life spread across the Internet," Winder said.

In January Winder announced mug shots would no longer be available on the Salt Lake County Jail website.

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