Governor Edwards signs into law a bill prohibiting the public release of most booking photos – also known as “identification photos” – prior to the subject’s sentencing. New Orleans Rep. Royce Duplessis is the author of the bill. He says the law – which comes into force on August 1st – will only apply to passport photos of people reserved for non-violent offences.
“We want to honor the constitutional principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ and muggings are generally harmful; whatever the outcome. It doesn’t matter if the person was released on a mistaken identity or if they are ultimately found not guilty. » said Duplessis.
The Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office, and a few others, have already adopted a policy prohibiting photo IDs at the time of arrest. Duplessis says he introduced the bill because passport photos are rarely taken down if a person has been found innocent, once they are made public.
“This will ensure that people who are NOT convicted will not have that photo ID that will follow them for the rest of their lives, like a digital scarlet letter.”
Duplessis says his bill will only apply to people arrested for non-violent offenses, and that the release of a photo ID will be acceptable if the subject is a wanted fugitive, considered dangerous and/or a threat to public safety.
“We’re just trying to make sure that someone’s reputation or standing in the community isn’t unfairly harmed. That’s the goal, and that’s the balance we’re trying to find.