Media to feds: Give us the mug shots — they’re public

A Detroit Free Press-led battle over the public's right to see mug shots of criminal defendants is back before a federal appeals court today, only this time the media company has loads of backup — roughly 60 news organizations have joined in the fight.

At issue is a policy by the U.S. Department of Justice, which has refused to release mug shots of criminal defendants on privacy grounds, even though courts have repeatedly ruled that the public has a right to see those photos.

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NFOIC’s State FOIA Friday for October 11, 2013

From NFOIC:  A few state FOIA and local open government news items selected from many of interest that we might or might not have drawn attention to earlier in the week. While you're at it, be sure to check out State FOIA Friday Archives.

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Peter Scheer: NYT still has the power to alter the facts of the very story on which it is reporting

From First Amendment Coalition: Long gone are the days when major newspapers and network news operations had the power, through their selection of stories, to set the political agenda. That's a change for the better, to be sure. But the best of the ancient media regime are still peerless in their ability to compel change in the actions of the people and institutions they report on.

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Mugged by a mug shot online

From The New York Times: IN March last year, a college freshman named Maxwell Birnbaum was riding in a van filled with friends from Austin, Tex., to a spring-break rental house in Gulf Shores, Ala. As they neared their destination, the police pulled the van over, citing a faulty taillight. When an officer asked if he could search the vehicle, the driver — a fraternity brother of Mr. Birnbaum’s who quickly regretted his decision — said yes.

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Bill would make N.J. mug shots available to the public

From Daily Record:

The public may finally gain access to mug shots if a local assemblyman can help it.

Assemblyman Ronald S. Dancer, a Republican who represents parts of Ocean, Monmouth, Burlington and Middlesex counties, has introduced legislation that would render the police photos of arrested suspects as public records throughout the state, available for the public and news organizations.

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South Dakota panel narrows focus on open government ideas

From San Francisco Chronicle:

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — A task force seeking ways to make South Dakota government more open has narrowed its focus to a list of proposals ranging from giving citizens access to crime suspects’ mug shots to making sure board and commission meetings are public.

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