* Press release…
In an effort to protect the privacy and reputation of individuals in Illinois, state Rep. La Shawn K. Ford, D-Chicago, has introduced a measure that will allow people with low-level charges to see their day in court before their police photograph or mug shot is posted online.
“In our communities, too many people are falsely arrested and later have charges against them dropped. Posting their arrest photo online creates a false narrative and paints these individuals as criminals, even if they are never proven guilty,” said Ford. “An online mug shot of an innocent person can ruin a person’s life and destroy families. This practice is unfair and unjust, and must be changed.”
Ford introduced House Bill 5998 on Thursday. This corrective measure will make it unlawful for a mug shot to be shared publicly unless an individual is convicted, providing privacy for innocent individuals as they navigate the criminal justice system. The bill also works retroactively and would require current mug shots to be taken down if a person was not guilty or had their charges dropped. There is also a caveat in the legislation that would require websites to take down photos of people who provide an order to expunge or seal their criminal information.
“This measure allows people to truly be innocent until proven guilty, and not simply tried in the court of public opinion,” said Ford. “Information posted online can be accessed by millions of people instantly and once it is on the internet it can be captured and used forever. This history can cause huge hardships on innocent individuals who are searching for employment, housing, and many other necessary things in life. This legislation will prevent people from continually facing discrimination for a crime that they did not commit.”
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