The Passage of the NYS budget is already bringing about several changes for New York residents. One key platform for Governor Cuomo was criminal justice reform which also included a new law that prevents the sharing of mugshots that do not have a specific law enforcement need.
Cuomo said it was intended to target websites that extort money in exchange for taking down a defendant’s mugshot.
Alphonso David, counsel for the governor told News10 “When companies post information on websites they last forever and they affect the lives of people that are innocent.”
But, Washington Co Sheriff Jeffrey Murphy asked why Cuomo is trying to changing the rules regarding law enforcement instead of going after the websites themselves.
Murphy told News10’s Anya Tucker that he does not intend to change his policy on releasing mugshots, saying his interpretation of the new law comes down to its one exception- That mugshots can be released in the “interest of public safety”.
“My opinion is that any arrest is in the best interest of public safety. For instance, if someone is arrested for a sex offense of a child.”, said Murphy.
He is not alone, Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo and Warren County Sheriff Bud York told Tucker that they are also joining a growing number of law enforcement officials who believe the law, which falls under the Freedom Of Information Act, gives them the discretion to release any booking photos.
Tucker Stanclift: “That person could have been acquitted, it could have been a false accusation…”
But, Prominent defense attorney Tucker Stanclift disagrees. He says the new law is necessary because he’s seen mugshots hurt those wrongly accused or trying to re-enter society after incarceration. “Any competent employer is going to do a background check. And it’s not limited to court records. They are going to do a typical Google search. And your name and your photo is going to show up and you’re not going to get the job.”, said Stanclift.
He’s applauding the governor for taking on this and other issues such as bail reform.