The New Scarlet Letter
In 1850, Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote The Scarlet Letter, a novel about a young woman who is publically shamed by her Puritan village after committing adultery. She is forced to wear a big red “A” on all of her clothes so that everyone knows what she’s done.
Today, our legal system generally does not embrace public shaming as a valid punishment for committing a crime. But the Internet has still made a new kind of “Scarlet Letter” possible thanks to the proliferation of mug shot websites.
Mug shot websites “scrape” mug shots from all kinds of sources, including law enforcement databases. They work against the American concept of “innocent until proven guilty.” The police take a mug shot when someone is arrested, but an arrest is not a conviction. Nevertheless, these websites claim that they are doing a public service by making these individuals wear the scarlet “A” of their arrests for the rest of their lives.
Getting targeted by a mug shot website can disrupt and destroy your life. The community you live in may lose trust in you. Family members and friends who come across this information online may stop talking to you without even asking for your side of the story. And potential employers or clients will usually pass you by, even if you were never convicted of any crime.
What if you were convicted of a crime? If you did your time then your sentence is over. Should a third party, private website have the right to impose an additional sentence of public humiliation upon you? Should you be forced to wear your scarlet “A” for the rest of your life?
Getting the new scarlet letter removed is often an uphill battle if you try to do it alone. You can pay one site, only to have your photo appear on a different site a few weeks later. Thanks to the scrapers, the photo may even reappear on the same site. These sites may even demand your money over and over again, even if you can prove that you were never convicted of a crime.
Fortunately, there is a way to end this cycle of public humiliation. InternetReputation.com can help you remove these damaging mug shots for good, giving you the ability to make a fresh start at last. And you won’t have to pay the very people who are trying to profit from your shame.
Haven’t you been punished enough?
Professional-Grade Portraits: Available From Your Police Mugshot Photographer
When professional chef Cat Cora was arrested on suspicion of DUI, the Internet started buzzing. She’s a celebrity, and people seem to enjoy watching the rich and famous disintegrate into a hot mess right before their very eyes. But when the mugshot was released, people started asking questions. How did she look so good? How did the photo look so crisp and sharp?
Turns out, this is a complicated question with many different answers available.
For starters, the officials that arrested Cora suggested in interviews that they couldn’t process the star for her arrest on the night of that arrest. Instead, they placed her in a sort of holding cell, so she’d have a little time to sober up and clean up. She was then allowed to come back to the facility more than a week later for her mugshot. Presumably, she was also allowed to shower, slap on a little makeup and otherwise beautify herself before that shutter snapped. So her pretty face in her photo wasn’t due to happenstance. It seems that the chef had a little time to prepare.
But all of the prep work in the world isn’t enough to produce a lovely photograph. Lighting also plays a role, and the lighting of this shot is quite stunning. It’s so good, according to some bloggers, that it merited a little more research. Turns out, the vendor that sold the police department its equipment also designed a system involving light boxes on both sides of the sitter, along with another light directly overhead. This system seems to flood the sitter with natural, glowing light that can make the cheekbones stand out and the skin shine with health.
Given that the average portrait taken at Target can cost a person close to $200, this mugshot might seem like an excellent deal. There’s no sitting fee involved, the lighting is great and duplicates are relatively easy to attain with just a few searches and a few moments of spare time online. Unfortunately, there are other costs involved with a mugshot.
Having your police photo online could derail your chances of getting a good job (or any job at all), and your neighbors might find it all too easy to deride you or avoid you for your criminal acts and the subsequent publicity your arrest might garner. No matter how good your photo might be, your reputation might never be the same. We have a solution.
At mugshotremovalcompany.com, we can remove your mugshot from almost any website in existence today, and in most cases, we can take down your photo in just minutes. As soon as you send us your information, we can get started. We can also ensure that all searches for your name are free of any mention of your arrest and subsequent mugshot. Ready to get started? We are ready to help when you are.
Mugshots Tell Just Part of the Story
At the end of a Hollywood blockbuster, a person who’s capable of doing terrible things is finally caught by the authorities, and in a blaze of smoke and gunfire, he’s captured, slapped in handcuffs and hauled away to face justice as the music soars. The arrest marks the moment when the good guys take control of the situation, and it’s usually pretty clear that people who are arrested are guilty of the crimes that spurred their arrest.
People who watch a lot of movies may believe that the faces they see on mugshot websites are also guilty. In fact, they may be almost positive that they’re looking at guilt when they visit Mugshots.com or Arrests.org. The reality, however, is much more complicated. For example, in June of 2013, a parent was arrested after attempting to enter a school board meeting. According to news reports, the parent had previously been served a trespass warning, as he’d called a school district employee in a manner that could be considered “harassing.” When this parent attempted to attend a school board meeting, the authorities claimed he was violating his trespass warning, and they asked officers to arrest the parent.
The man’s mugshot was likely available almost immediately, and anyone seeing that shot might have thought they were seeing a man who had become unhinged and couldn’t stay away from places in which he’d been told to avoid. This assumption is reasonable, but it’s also absolutely incorrect. According to later news reports, no threatening behavior ever took place, so the original warning made no sense at all, and the arrest should have never taken place. In the words of one blogger, the charges were “trumped up.” The arrest never should have taken place at all, and as a result, the mugshot showed the face of an innocent man.
A mugshot simply can’t tell a complicated story like this. It’s a snapshot that documents only the tiniest of events that took place on that day, with only the scantiest of information provided. The charges that sparked the arrest might later be dropped, the person might be acquitted by a jury or the whole thing could have been a gigantic misunderstanding. The judicial system does an excellent job of separating the innocent from the guilty, but it’s also a system that’s cumbersome and time-intensive. A mugshot simply can’t tell this large, long, lengthy story.
That’s why you should take your mugshot down, right now, if you’re arrested. People who see your image might reasonably think you’re guilty, no matter how your case might turn out in the end, and the reputation damage you might suffer could be intense. We can help, contact us for additional information.
Oregon’s New Mugshot Law Provides Little Relief
If you’ve not read your company’s guidelines, and you have no idea where those old documents even are, visit your company’s human resource department. Those professionals would likely jump at the chance to provide you with information that could keep the company safe. But if you have the nagging suspicion that you’ve already done things online that will get you in trouble with your boss, visit us at www.internetreputation.com. We’re happy to help.
When we first heard about Oregon’s proposed mugshot law, in April of 2013, we felt certain that the legislation had no chance of getting past the desk of Governor John Kitzhaber. It was a reasonable prediction, given that the head lobbyist of the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association was prepared to raise a fuss to keep the bill from ever becoming a law, claiming that the restrictions would also put a damper on a reporter’s ability to get just the right image to run alongside a story about crime.
As it turns out, we were wrong and Oregon’s mugshot bill was signed into law by Governor Kitzhaber. However, the law that was signed has little resemblance to the bill proposed in April, and those revisions could keep people from experiencing any kind of meaningful relief when they’re arrested within the state.
The original bill contained language that would have prohibited the mugshot industry from participating in Oregon. Rather than using computer programs that simply seek and copy mugshots from governmental databases, administrators of mugshot websites would be forced to physically visit the agency that holds the mugshot, and they’d have to pay a fee for each photo they requested. The bill also placed a limit on the number of mugshot requests that could be made at one time.
The law that was passed struck down all of these provisions, and new language was inserted to take its place. The new law says nothing at all about how the mugshots are obtained, but instead specifies that administrators should remove mugshots when the charges resulted in an acquittal, or when the person has worked to get the charges expunged. That removal can’t be associated with a fee. The history of the bill, along with a small summation, can be found here.
Reports about the bill were overwhelmingly positive, with sources quoted by KPIC in Roseburg suggesting that the law ended practices most people felt were “unfair.” Similarly, coverage provided by the Oregonian suggested that the bill was a “good step” that would protect the rights of people who lived in the state.
But those who hoped to find mugshot relief through this bill likely have little to celebrate. If they’re arrested, their mugshots will still be almost instantly available online, and they won’t be able to take those photos down until their cases work their way through the legal system, which might take months or even years. The mugshot website administrators can keep applying the same business model, grabbing photos and using them in any way they’d like, and there’s little that people can do to fight back. This is especially true of people who choose to plead guilty to their crimes. The law has no relief for them at all.
That’s why we continue to work so hard to provide clients with mugshot removal services that are quick, effective and inexpensive. We don’t think anyone in Oregon should be penalized for an arrest, and we’re willing to do what it takes to get people relief, right now.
What Rights Do I Have to Get My Mugshot Off the Internet?
Lawyers are among the most hated professionals in the world. In fact, in a recent study, only 18 percent of respondents agreed that lawyers contributed “a lot” to the well being of society, which puts lawyers beneath business executives, in terms of respect from the common man. Even so, when people see their photos appearing on mugshot websites, the idea of calling a lawyer often springs to mind. After all, there simply must be something illegal about publishing a private photo for personal gain, right?
Unfortunately, the answer is complicated, and often, people have very few legal rights when it comes to removing mugshots from the internet.
Most laws in this country are designed to keep information open to the public. The federal Freedom of Information Act, for example, allows people to obtain almost any record that’s been generated by a public entity. According to the United States Department of Justice, the law is designed to keep people, “… in the know about their government,” and as a result, there are very few records that are exempt from this law. If a governmental agency creates the documents, citizens have a right to access them.
Police officers and sheriff’s deputies are members of the government, and the documents they create are part of the public record. As a result, arrest documentation is often considered protected by the Freedom of Information Act. As a result, these documents belong in the public domain, and they can be obtained and used by almost anyone, in almost any way. Claiming that the documents are private is nonsense, since the laws make these records public.
Some states make special exceptions for people who have been exonerated of their crimes. In Georgia, for example, legislation signed into law in May of 2013 allows people to request a free removal of their mugshot within 30 days if they meet a stringent set of requirements. Other states are considering similar laws. Those who have been arrested in Georgia or other states with similar legislation might be able to work with the sites directly, as long as they’ve been somehow exonerated, and the laws of their states provide them with a clear set of rights they can apply when their mugshots appear.
Those who have not been exonerated or who haven’t had their cases expunged just don’t have the same level of protection. The records are public, and the sites often have the legal authority to publish them. People who appear can’t even claim that the photos are somehow defamatory, according to legal experts, as the photographs don’t distort the truth about the person. They’re a simple record of an event that actually took place (an arrest), and as a result, they can’t be removed on the grounds that they’re demeaning.
The one right sites can’t take from you involves hiring help. If you appear online, you always have the right to hire a company like ours to help you. We can quickly and effectively remove your mugshot in mere minutes, no matter the crime and no matter the nature of your arrest, and we keep all of our records confidential.