Thursday, March 26, 2015

Virginia SB720 Arrest Photos on Internet; Civil Penalty from Monetary Requirement to Remove Posting Becomes Law But What About Websites Like Gotcha! (Owned by Richmond Times Dispatch) that Post Mug Shots Immediately After an Arrest and Before a Finding of Guilt Occurs?

SB720 has been signed into law by Governor McAuliffe 

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:  

That the Code of Virginia is amended by adding a section numbered 8.01-40.3 as follows:

§ 8.01-40.3. Unauthorized dissemination, etc., of criminal history record information; civil action. 

Any person who disseminates, publishes, or maintains or causes to be disseminated, published, or maintained the criminal history record information as defined in § 9.1-101 of an individual pertaining to that individual's charge or arrest for a criminal offense and solicits, requests, or accepts money or other thing of value for removing such criminal history record information shall be liable to the individual who is the subject of the information for actual damages or $500, whichever is greater, in addition to reasonable attorney fees and costs. 

This is good news….. but what about publications like Gotcha!? 

Gotcha! was founded in February 2010. It prints the mug shots of not just convicted people but of arrested people who may have charges dropped down the line or who may be found….. not guilty. 

Gotcha! might NOT be “black-mailing” the people they list to be removed from the Internet (as SB720 specifies) but the damage Gotcha! creates because co-workers, employers, landlords, neighbors, parishioners and acquaintances see the mug-shot can never be captured.   

Woman Buys Billboard in Campbell County Virginiato Tell Everyone Her Father (Who Resides There) was Convicted of a Pre-VSP Registry Crime, Calling Him a Sex Offender

Video: Woman posts billboard to warn of father's criminal conviction, March 26, 2015
Campbell County, Virginia

Robby’s Rule 2015 if signed into law by the Governor which is a terrible, terrible proposal wouldn’t go back far enough (July 1980 to July 1884) to satisfy Tamara Martin (1975/76) vengeful goal. If her father has not been accused or convicted of a sexual crime since 1976 then he has made a successful re-entry and demanding a public label for someone I’m guessing is a senior citizen doesn’t help anyone except Ms. Martin’s self-serving goal to humiliate and destroy her father’s ability to survive in a small town.  

Ms. Martin might be protected under the right to free speech but this billboard is harassment, the attempt to defame and an act of vigilantism cloaked under the typical mantra…… the public has a right to know. A claim I’ve been hearing for the last 7 years of advocating for data-driven reform of our registry but yet myth, fear and hate are all too often the genesis and outcome of most of our newly passed laws.