SB720 has been signed into law by Governor McAuliffe
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of
That the Code of
is amended by
adding a section numbered 8.01-40.3 as follows: Virginia
§ 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.