Missouri House bill wants to make it illegal to make money off of a mug shot

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A new Missouri House bill wants to protect the rights of people who find themselves in trouble with the law after some websites are making money off of mug shots.

Websites like Mugshots.com pull these pictures from law enforcement then post them. The only way to get them down is to pay a price.

"That seems awfully close to extortion," Derrick Freeman said.

He has never had his mug shot taken, but some of his friends have.

"Admittedly, the friends that I've had who have been arrested have ended up having to pay the consequences for it," Freeman said. "It's kind of enforcing the idea of guilty until proven innocent."

That’s the exact reason why Missouri State Representative Caleb Jones sponsored House Bill 1665 , making it a class A misdemeanor. The bill also states the person could receive up to $10,000 if their mug shot is used.

"It's a difficult thing because they are public records and as public records they should be out there and available for people to peruse, but this really seems to be an abuse of that ability," Representative Jones said.

The bill exempts the news media and other organizations that don't use mug shots to make money.  It is up for another reading in the House before it could move on to the Senate.

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