Alabama law bans publication of prostitution mugshots

Nov 22, 2016
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Alabama law bans publication of prostitution mugshots

The motivation behind this law banning the publication of prostitution mugshots is total bullshit (prostitution = trafficking and sex workers are presumptively victims), but the law itself is good for those accused of a victimless crime for which many in society choose to shame them.

From The Anniston Star…

It’s illegal to publish official post-arrest photographs of people accused of prostitution, under an Alabama law that went into effect Aug. 1.

Newspaper editors across the state are just finding out about the law, which passed a final vote in the Legislature in May. Press advocates say it’s probably unconstitutional.

“It’s a very blatant form of prior restraint,” said Dennis Bailey, lawyer for the Alabama Press Association, which represents Alabama news media outlets.

Under the new law, the mugshot of a person arrested for prostitution “is not a public record and may not be published in any printed or electronic media or provided to any person” without an order from a district judge.

“We’re trying to look at these women less as criminals and more as victims, and we don’t want to see them be revictimized,” said Rep. Jack Williams, R-Birmingham, sponsor of the ban.

Williams has been pushing for years for changes to the state’s prostitution laws, arguing that prostitutes themselves are in most cases victims of human trafficking, more in need of help than of punishment.


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