Website that charges to remove a mugshot
Rep. Roger Bruce (D-Atlanta)
Sophia Andrade's mugshot and cleared court record
ATLANTA - Let's face it. We all love to look at mugshots, especially goofy ones.
But theoretically any of us could end up with one, even if we're later cleared of an offense.
Even so, just try getting it off the internet.
"I just wanted to disappear because it was humiliating," Sophia Andrade told 11 Alive News on Friday.
"I took myself off Facebook; I took myself off Linkedin; I took myself off everything and it just wouldn't go away," she added.
Andrade is angry that her mugshot just won't go away.
She was arrested in Florida in 2010 after her ex-husband accused her of domestic violence.
Court documents confirm the charge was dropped and her record was cleared, but her mug shot continues to pop up on the internet.
Commercial mugshot websites want her and others to pay them hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to take it down.
"It's a racket and I just refuse to pay any of them," she said.
"People are being extorted," State Rep. Roger Bruce (D-Atlanta) told 11 Alive.
"I don't think it's right and that's why I'm trying to do something about it," he added.
After complaints from Andrade and more than 40 other constituents, Rep. Bruce plans to introduce a bill to regulate mugshots in Georgia.
It wouldn't affect police agencies or the news media, but it would be aimed at commercial companies that charge to remove it from their websites or publications.
In addition to requiring free removal, his bill would also allow lawsuits for damages as well as require police agencies to copyright mugshots they take.
Even though he's a Democrat in a Republican controlled legislature, Bruce considers it a bi-partisan issue.
"You don't get arrested and then they ask you if you're a Democrat or a Republican," he said.
He also claims several other state lawmakers have contacted him about co-signing his bill, which is unusual.
There have been a few class action lawsuits against commercial mugshot websites, but so far they are perfectly legal.