Missouri House Bill 1665


Summary

Missouri House Bill 1665 would require anyone who has posted an arrest booking photo on a website to remove it upon written request by the person in the image if that person was acquitted of the charge, the charge was dismissed, access to the information about the case was restricted or law enforcement has elected not to pursue criminal charges against the person.

A violation would be subject to criminal prosecution. It would also allow any “consumer” to recover actual and punitive damages, legal fees and other legal remedies if he or she suffers harm due to the website failing to comply with a request to remove an arrest photo.

The bill was amended to include an exception for “any business or organization that is engaged in bona fide news coverage or production of a feature production for public informational, entertainment, or educational purposes.”

Status

Gov. Jay Nixon signed the amended bill into law. The bill is effective August 28, 2014.

Analysis

Arrest photo legislation would allow O.J. Simpson to force any website to take down his arrest photo since he was acquitted in the death of his wife. Images of Simpson could be published in a book or be included in a documentary movie, but would have to be removed from a website about the book or movie.

It would also force online news sites to erase history. A website can publish arrest photos from Justin Bieber’s recent charge for driving while impaired but would have to erase it, as if it did not happen, if he enters a diversionary program, the charges are dropped or he is acquitted.

Privacy is an important right, but the bill would only apply to one medium and not another. The same information can still be published in any media that is not a website. This differential treatment of online publisher may also be unconstitutional.

History

  • On January 29, 2014, the bill is introduced [2] in the House and referred to the House Committee on General Laws.
  • Media Coalition submitted a memo in opposition [1] to the bill, explaining the constitutional issues.
  • The House Committee on General Laws recommended the bill be passed. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Rules.
  • The House Committee on Rules recommended the bill be passed.
  • On March 26, 2014, the bill was amended [3] to include an exemption for news coverage and entertainment or educational productions. The House passed the bill as amended and sent it to the Senate for consideration. The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on General Laws.
  • The Senate Committee on General Laws recommended the bill be passed. The bill was amended on the Senate floor for clarification. The Senate passed the bill.
  • On May 16, 2014, the House and Senate appoint a conference committee. The conference committee amended [4] the bill and passed it. The bill was sent to Gov. Jay Nixon.
  • On July 9, 2014, Gov. Jay Nixon signed the bill into law. The law is effective August 28, 2014.

Last updated: Sep 3, 2015