e Pinellas County Sheriff’
recently decided to stop posting online mug shots on its "Who's In Jail" website and Kevin Hayslett
, attorney with the Law Offices of Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, P.A.
, believes this change is significant to persons arrested in Clearwater.
The ease with which potential employers and creditors can access evidence of arrests on mugshots.com, justmugshots.com, arrests.org and similar websites creates additional barriers for employment applicants, denying them an opportunity to explain that an action was dismissed or downplay minor offenses. The Pinellas County Sheriff Department’s recent move to eliminate mug shots from its “Who’s in Jail” website, effective Jan. 13, 2014 is a key step toward eliminating obstacles to employment, education and credit for people arrested in Clearwater and surrounding areas. Arrest photos had been publicly available on the website since 2005.
Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri’s decision was driven by his frustration with private companies, such as mugshots.com, mining the “Who’s in Jail” website for mug shots, posting the photos on their websites, then charging citizens exorbitant fees, ranging from $399 to $1700, to remove the mug shots. Sheriff Gualtieri wanted to do his part to stop the mug site mining websites from taking advantage of the citizens of Pinellas County, who in most instances could not afford to pay for removal of the photos.
The decision to end online mug shots is a win for citizens arrested in Pinellas County. It gives our clients one less issue to deal with when trying to move forward with their lives after being accused of a crime.
Every day, Florida citizens are rejected from jobs and denied credit due to their criminal history. Th
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