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Mug shot release restrictions signed into law

Thursday, June 23, 2022
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The bill limiting the release of some arrest mug shots by law enforcement is now law.

Gov. John Bel Edwards signed House Bill 729 into law Tuesday — one week after the Lincoln Parish Detention Center (LPDC) announced a temporary halt on mug shot releases until a new system could be implemented to comply with the legislation.

The act prohibits law enforcement from releasing booking photographs in any format prior to conviction, but there is a broad range of exceptions.

Those exceptions include people charged with crimes of violence, sex crimes, human trafficking crimes and more. Fugitives or people deemed an imminent threat to public safety are also exceptions.

On Wednesday the LPDC began aligning with the new law, releasing photos for those crimes listed in the exceptions and not the others.

In a Facebook post last week Sheriff Stephen Williams said all other details of an arrest will continue to be released to the public in every format previously used.

“In the past, arrests have been posted to our Official App, Website, and our Facebook page including mugshots, booking sheets, and certain details regarding the crimes,” the post reads. “In an effort to keep our citizens informed, the same information will continue to be released with the exception of the mugshots.”

There are 55 offenses identified as “crimes of violence” in Louisiana law. All of them would be exceptions to the mug shot prohibition except for stalking. There are more than 50 sex crimes.

Human trafficking offenses, offenses affecting the health and morals of minors, offenses affecting the health and safety of persons with infirmities, video voyeurism, cruelty to animals and dogfighting are all exceptions to the new law.