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Pointing to ‘lasting harm,’ booking photos targeted in new bill

After jail, what's next?
After jail, what's next? (KPRC-Pixabay)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Pointing to “lasting harm” from booking photos posted online, a Senate Democrat has filed a proposal that would prevent the release of the photos taken when people are arrested.

Sen. Randolph Bracy, D-Orlando, filed the proposed public-records exemption (SB 444) on Wednesday. It will be considered during the legislative session that starts March 2.

The bill would allow the release of booking photos in certain circumstances, such as if a person poses an immediate threat to the public.

“An arrest booking photograph that is used or published on the Internet can remain online in perpetuity, causing persistent and permanent damage to the person even if the charge against him or her subsequently is dropped, the person is ultimately found not guilty by a judge or jury, or his or her arrest record is subsequently sealed or expunged,” the bill says. “In the absence of the special circumstances specified in this act, the potential for lasting harm from use or publication of an arrest booking photograph online far outweighs any immediate public benefit of viewing the arrest booking photograph of a person who poses no immediate danger to the public.”