A federal appeals court in Georgia agreed with a Florida district court that mug shot photos aren’t included in the Freedom of Information Act, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press reported. The Atlanta, Georgia Appeals Court and the southern district of Florida court both ruled that mug shot access is a breach of “the personal privacy rights of those depicted.”
The Florida district court found “a booking photograph is a unique and powerful type of photograph that raises personal privacy interests distinct from normal photographs . . . [it] captures the subject in the vulnerable and embarrassing moments immediately after being accused, taken into custody, and deprived of most liberties.” Also, mug shots aren’t in the public interest, outside of “satisfying voyeuristic curiousities.”
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However, the decision “creates a split in the circuits,” because a 1996 appeals court in Cincinnati decided that mug shots didn’t have any “recognizable personal privacy.”