You can buy the new “Cuffed” magazine for a dollar to ogle the faces of the recently arrested.  There are some who believe “Cuffed” is an inappropriate invasion of privacy while others argue the mug shots are part of the public record and any right to privacy was lost upon arrest.

Should mugshots be part of the public record upon arrest?  Or should mugshots be protected unless and until a guilty verdict is decided?

The particular outrage against “Cuffed” is that copies of the magazine are being sold for a dollar.  Making money off of mugshots, in some jurisdictions, appears to be illegal but I don’t understand the how or the why of that argument.

If mugshots are part of the public record, how can we determine what it means to “make money” using a mugshot?  Local newspapers publish mugshots every day as part of their mandate to preserve the public record — for profit — and they accordingly sell advertising and charge subscription fees.  Are newspapers in violation of the “making money meme” off an “invasion of privacy” found in the public record?

Websites like Mugshots.com and TheSmokingGun.com owe their entire success to publishing mugshots wrapped in advertisements — so there seems to be a long history of mugshots being available for use and publication by anyone interested in making the effort to find them.

I would prefer no mugshot be made available as part of the public record unless someone were actually found guilty.  Merely arresting someone should not trigger a public record mugshot because the temptation to trifle with criminal processing and the judicial system for personal gain is too ripe for exploitation by the mean as well as the politically tempted seeking misguided public retribution.

3 Comments

  1. I don’t see why someone should see a mugshot ever unless the party is proven guilty. Mugshots imply that something wrong was done. If you see a mugshot of a celebrity the tendency is to think, “I wonder what they did…” even if it turns out they were completely innocent.

  2. I agree. I’m not sure what the advantage of a “public record” really is when the information can be negatively used against someone today in our instant propagation. Why do we care who was arrested or who was divorced or arrested? I know people who religiously read the public record reported in their local newspapers every day just to keep up on the gossip.