Q&A: Juvenile mug shot

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From the North Vernon Plain Dealer and North Vernon Sun:

Q: If a juvenile is convicted of a felony (rape), is his mug shot a public record available to print in the paper? 

A: Did they process him as an adult in jail or detain him in a juvenile detention center? Does the detention center take head shots as part of processing juveniles?

Our position has always been that mug shots are not investigatory records (police have already made the arrest), but are processing records. As such, they would be subject to inspection and copying because there is no statute that says they are confidential.

Remember if law enforcement officials deny your written request, they are required to cite the statutory authority that they are relying on to keep the record secret. If they give you a code citation, I’ll be happy to give my opinion on the legalities of it.

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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