Missouri measure targets arrest mugshot websites

People humiliated by online mugshots of their past arrests will soon have greater legal options in Missouri.

Gov. Jay Nixon has signed legislation making it a misdemeanor to publish police booking photos on websites and then seek money to take the photos down.

The new crime will be punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

The legislation also says people who suffer "humiliation or embarrassment" by such websites can sue for actual and punitive damages.

The Missouri legislation also applies to any information about a person's name, address or charges that is published with the solicitation or acceptance of money to remove it.

(Section 407.1150)

THe bill specifies that it must be unlawful for any person engaged in publishing or disseminating criminal record information through a print or electronic medium to solicit or accept a fee or other consideration from the subject individual to remove or correct criminal record information. A person wo knowingly and willfully violates these provisions will be guilty or a class A misdemeanor. Any individual who suffers a loss or harm as a result of a violation of these provisions may be awarded an amount equal to $10,000 or actual and punitive damages, whichever is greater, and resonable attorney fees, court costs, and any other remedies provided by law. Humiliation or embarrassment must be adequate to show that the plaintiff has incurred damages; however, no physical manifestation of either humiliation or embarrassment is necessary for damages to be shown. Click here for additional information about HB1665.

The measure will take effect Aug. 28.