From the Detroit Free Press
For the third time in two decades, the Detroit Free Press on Monday won a lawsuit over the public’s right to see the mug shots of criminal defendants charged in federal court.
But if history is any indication, the government will fight the order and continue keeping the booking photos out of the public’s view. An appeal is expected.
In a 34-page ruling today, U.S. District Judge Patrick Duggan noted that the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals already has spoken on the issue in concluding that people in mug shots “do not have a privacy interest warranting nondisclosure.” Consequently, Duggan wrote, he is bound by law to uphold that decision.
First Amendment and Free Press Attorney Herschel Fink said he hopes the issue can be put to rest.
“This is our third lawsuit, so we can only hope that three strikes against the Department of Justice and they will be out,” said Fink, arguing the public “has a legitimate interest in seeing who has been arrested and charged with a crime … and a vital interest in knowing about crime and law enforcement.”
Attorneys for the government were not readily available for comment.