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Saturday, May 08, 2010

The Cincinnati Mugshot Website Controversies!

Posted by The Dean of Cincinnati

So this morning, I happened upon Cincinnati Mugshots, a site that scrolls through the most recent mug shots from the Hamilton County Sheriff’s office.  You can click on the person’s name, leave disparaging comments, and link to the Sheriff’s site—where you can usually find no information about why the person was arrested in the first place.  Then, I happened upon a slightly different Cincinnati Mugshots—this one a site about how people can protect their reputation when others post their mugshots for personal amusement and/or profit.  So apparently there is a local controversy about posting mugshots online!

Consider the case of Benjamin J. Durrett.

The “exploitive” Cincinnati Mugshots site showcases his picture, and links to this page with the Sheriff’s office.  There you can learn he was arrested for “obstructing official business.”  Naturally, we have no idea if he is guilty, and it’s totally unclear whether the Cincinnati Mugshots site will take his picture off line should charges be dismissed.  Additionally, if you scroll through the listings, you’ll be hard pressed to find someone who even has a charge listed at the Sheriff’s site.

So while that site is “exploitive,” the other Cincinnati Mugshots site is “protective.”  (Or so it seems at first… )  Check out this excerpt from their home page:

Sites that have pending law suites coming out…
Perhaps someone should tell the secretary at the justice center, that you can’t just post any body’s pictures online for self gain? , ,,
And sister site coming soon…

Especially if they are innocent, just because they get a minor charge at the justice center, doe’s not mean they are (GUILTY) they eventually go to a real courthouse to settle the matters, and get their charge dropped or be convicted.

They owner of this site is using innocent people for self gain hitch-hiking off worthless advertisements like…....adds by Google, Face Book, Twitter, Blog-spot.

What’s with all the spelling errors, though?  And check out this link.  They say their website is the place…

...where you get a chance to take your pictures off the net, the site is here for frustrated innocent people who get abused where their reputations being tarnished by selfish people who want to make a buck posting there pictures without their permission.

The site clearly tries to indicate it’s doing a service to protect people and all that hog wash, Look for pending law suites on this one, this site is trying to mirror other mugshot sites, perhaps I should post the picture of the person at the justice center who actually takes these pictures, an even as go far as posting the correctional officers pictures .

I looked at the original, more “exploitive” site, and I didn’t see any advertisements.  And, to my knowledge, one does not earn revenue by having people link to a Facebook Fan Page, or by following your Tweets —but maybe I’m missing something.

As for the “protective” site, it seems to be related to  In other words, the site encourages people with their mugshots posted online to hire a lawyer from their network.  And interestingly, the “contact” link takes you to the clerk of court webpage.

A quick internet search turns up plenty of sites in other cities posting mugshots, but I did not quickly find counter-sites dedicated to advertising for lawyers.

And frankly, I’d be surprised to hear about anyone losing a suit because of posting public information, like mugshots.

These two sites, considered jointly, just strike me as weird…


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  1. aqua says:

    Looks a little suspicious, but the 2nd website dishes out a little advice on how to try and get the 1st website taken down.

    Honestly, I don’t that a lawyer can actually get information taken off of that website beyond dishing out legal threats.

    It’s also possible that the website’s blog may be violating TOS for twitter &/or blogspot but those are completely different from legal liabilities.

  2. John says: and sites similar to it are nothing new. They use public information that is easily accessible through any county justice systems website. This second site is ill-formed by a bunch of ambulance chasers looking for a quick score. Too bad in frivolous lawsuits, which a case against most certainly would be, it is the accuser that must pay the defendants legal fees. Plus nowhere on the first site does it say anything about people being “guilty,” it simply displays the public information that the county has a legal responsibility to provide us (tax paying citizens) with.

  3. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) says:

    Dear John, the owners of these mugshot websites operate a business model that profits not only, or not even primarily, from advertiser revenue, but from pay-for-mugshot removal services.  With a little Googling, you’ll read that right from the horse’s mouth. Whether or not they’re affiliated with the supposedly 3rd party ambulance chasers is one thing… but the sure thing is that if they’re willing to remove mugshots from their sites at a price, they are certainly not concerned about doing a public service. They’re simply using shame as an income generator, knowing full-well that the most seasoned and problematic of criminals will care less, and instead targeting the pocket books of otherwise Average and even Decent Joes who spent a hapless hour in the drunk tank one rowdy St. Pattie’s day 5 years ago. These website operators are cyberspace’s racketeers, and not honorable men. They have a lot in common with the seediest bits of the criminal element they poach. Reminds me of the old Junior Murvin song. Police and Thieves—who can tell the difference anymore?

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