Thursday, December 17, 2009

Federal court says mug shots not public records

A federal court in south Florida told a freelance journalist that his request for the mug shot of a securities fraud mastermind will go unfulfilled because the Freedom of Information Act does not apply to booking photos of suspects in federal custody -- at least not if you make the request in the Eleventh Circuit.

U.S. District Court Judge Paul C. Huck said the United States Marshals Service correctly withheld the mug shot of Luis Giro from freelance journalist Theodore Karantsalis' FOIA request because Giro's right to personal privacy was more important than the public's interest in seeing the photo.

The court rejected the Karantsalis' argument that Giro, who pleaded guilty to securities fraud in 2009 after six years as a fugitive, had no continuing privacy interest related to his crime. "[A] booking photograph does more than suggest guilt; it raises a unique privacy interest because it captures an embarrassing moment that is not normally exposed to the public eye," Huck wrote.

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Location Oakland, Ca - Private Investigator