Mug shots are public records, but not just any ordinary public record. In a 1999 federal court case it was said that "a mug shot’s stigmatizing effect can last well beyond the actual criminal proceedings" (Times Picayune). Mug shots can cause people to lose a current or future job (Gizmodo). Even though mug shots are public records, there is a big difference between releasing a mug shot on request, and publishing every mug shot automatically online.
Certain companies, such as mugshotsworld.com, commercialize on mug shots by posting mug shots taken from local police department websites, and offer a "removal service" by charging $200 to take down an image. These companies rely on mug shots being easily available.
It is the goal of this petition to ask the Denton Police Department to reconsider its online publishing policy for mug shots, and to instead consider releasing mug shots only on request instead of en masse. By implementing such a policy change, commercial companies with questionable motives won't be able to exploit mug shots for profit so easily.
Times Picayune Publ’g Corp. v. U.S. Dep’t of Justice, 37 F. Supp. 2d 472, 477 (E.D. La. 1999)
Gizmodo, How People Profit from Your Online Mug Shot and Ruin Your Life Forever, http://gizmodo.com/5949333/how-people-profit-from-your-online-mug-shot-and-ruin-your-life-forever
World Publishing Company v. United States Dept. of Justice, 22 February 2012, http://www.ca10.uscourts.gov/opinions/11/11-5063.pdf