Q&A: Is mug shot a public record?

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From The Herald Republican (Angola):

Q: A reporter requested a mug shot of a person who had been arrested. The jail staff said they could not provide the photo until the prosecutor filed formal charges.

Is this not a public record as part of a jail booking?

A: HSPA’s position is that a mug shot is not an investigatory record but an administrative record – a photo taken during the booking of an arrestee.

So this public record is a disclosable record and should be available for inspection and copying.

If the sheriff disagrees with that stance, ask the state public access counselor to act as a mediator. I believe that office would agree with HSPA.

Contact Steve Key, HSPA executive director and general counsel, with media law questions at skey@hspa.com or (317) 624-4427.

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