The Miami Herald and Palm Beach Post recently explored the issue of posting mug shots online. For several Florida newspapers, mug shots draw a high volume of traffic to their websites. In fact, the booking blotter on the Palm Beach Post’s website generated about 52% of the 45.2 million page views in May.
However, some journalism watchdogs and ethicists worry that publishing mug shots doesn’t tell the whole story, since there are no follow-ups to the original post. In at least a quarter of all felony cases, the charges are never filed, are dropped, or the defendant is acquitted at trial, yet the daily blotter rarely (if ever) reports on this.
A few Florida defense lawyers are less concerned. Some see it as a chance to find prospective clients and point out that news shows like Law & Order have created a public fascination inthe criminal justice system. Others note that social networking sites like Facebook have already made people’s private lives public.
Publishing of mug shots on newspaper websites stirs debate, Miami Herald, June 28, 2009
Contact a South Florida criminal defense lawyer for information on your legal rights.