Senate Introduces Bill Limiting Publication of Electronic Snapshots | WNTZ

BATON ROUGE — The Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee on Wednesday introduced a bill that would limit the release of electronic snapshots unless an individual is convicted, deemed a threat or on the run.

The law project, House Bill 729was written by Rep. Royce Duplessis, D – New Orleansand the House voted 76-21 to approve it last month.

Duplessis, a criminal defense and civil litigation attorney, is the author of the bill to protect the reputations of people who have not yet been convicted of a crime. The bill would limit the public dissemination of mugshots by law enforcement and allow people to have their booking photos removed from websites without paying for their removal.

“In 2022, with all the websites and all the photo-sharing capabilities, once those snaps are published, it’s literally a digital scarlet letter that follows you for the rest of your life,” Duplessis said.

Under the bill, law enforcement officers may not “publish, broadcast or broadcast in any form any reservation photograph to the public or to any private person or entity” unless the individual is a fugitive, a threat, or convicted of a crime, or if a judge deems it necessary in the interest of public safety.

If Louisiana residents are acquitted, disbarred, evacuated, or pardoned, they can request that their reservation photos be removed from “remove for payment” publications or websites. These entities would have seven business days to comply.

These sites, which operate nationwide, usually require payment to remove the photos. But under this bill, referral fees would not be allowed.

During the hearing, two sets of amendments were made to the bill.

Most notably removed the video footage from inclusion in the bill.

The second set of amendments added an exception for crimes of violence based on a law that lists 55 offenses including murder, rape, armed robbery and harassment.

The latter has created a debate about whether the harassment has risen to the level of other crimes for which mugshots could be published. It was noted that this amendment would be amended on the floor to remove stalking from the bill.

This amendment also stipulated that guilty pleas and no contested pleas would be included in the exceptions, allowing law enforcement to release such snaps as they would those convicted by judges or juries.

The changes have allayed concerns from newspapers and TV news outlets, which often feature police snaps.

Several people objected but chose not to speak due to time constraints.

Only two people have spoken in favor of the bill, Glenn Foster Sr. and Sabrina Foster. They are the parents of the late Glenn Foster Jr., a former New Orleans Saints player who died last December in Alabama police custody after allegedly speeding and evading police.

His parents said the last image his four children saw of him was his passport photo.

The invoice was sent to Legislative office and is pending review.

Jacob L. Thornton