Florida Justice Center Introduces New Services to Remove Online Mugshots from Predatory Websites
Legal aid organization launches program to remove arrest photographs from internet sites preying on vulnerable people
Oakland Park, FL (January 27, 2023) –
If you’re like hundreds of thousands of people, the first page of Google when you search your name contains an unflattering arrest photograph from one of hundreds of disreputable, predatory websites that hold people hostage for exorbitant fees. Law firms that promise removal from these sites often charge $1,000 or more per page. Nonprofit legal aid organization Florida Justice Center is launching a mugshot removal service that is free for those making less than 200% of the Federal Poverty Guideline.
Mugshot brokerages do not care about guilt or innocence. They only care about one thing: money. In the meantime, those whose photographs appear online have reduced employability, housing options, and income potential. They face blackmail, intimidation, the stigma of an arrest. Today, Florida Justice Center takes a stand on behalf of those harmed by these businesses.
“It is important that we fight against those seeking to profit on the backs of innocent people who are merely trying to move on from a painful past. We are always looking for new ways to empower people to get a second chance at success, and this program is just one more method of doing so,” said Florida Justice Center Executive Director Jonathan Bleiweiss.
Florida statute provides a mechanism for individuals to request removal from these exploitative websites, but the process can be confusing; and some sites may not respond without attorney representation. While those who are wrongfully accused suffer substantial harm, anyone can have their photograph removed regardless of case outcome. If the website refuses to remove the photograph after properly noticed, they face civil penalties of up $1,000 to $5,000 per day plus attorney fees and court costs.
Even once the mugshot is removed, it may still show up on Google and other web search results. Florida Justice Center staff is trained in having these outdated results removed.
To learn more about this service, please visit FLJC.org/services/mugshot-removal
ABOUT FLORIDA JUSTICE CENTER
Florida Justice Center is the state’s only legal aid organization dedicated to helping people with justice-involvement. Authorized by the Florida Supreme Court, FLJC works to lower the effects of an arrest through free and low-cost legal services, as well as connections to community service providers.
With a mission to empower individuals by providing legal support, community education, and removing barriers to success caused by the criminal justice system, FLJC succeeds in helping thousands of individuals each year.