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Cleveland County News: Mug Shots Policy Changes

Cleveland County News: The Cleveland County District Attorney's Office, under the authority of DA Greg Mashburn, has issued a district wide policy change. Mug shots, taken at the Cleveland County jail in Norman will no longer be made available to the public. The new rule comes in light of concerns over protecting the privacy rights of those who have been arrested but are later be proven not guilty or acquitted.

The official statement from the DA's office about the change said that the mug shots would only be made available for public viewing if there was a legitimate "law enforcement purpose." While many records from law enforcement agencies are required to be open and available to the public under the U.S. Constitution and the Oklahoma Open Records Act, Assistant District Attorney David Batton said that mug shots are very rarely necessary for release. This statement acknowledges the delicate balancing test the First Amendment implies: the right of the general public to certain information and the right of individual citizens to have some modicum of privacy.

The DA also cited concerns over the potential misuse of the mug shots by local newspapers and magazines. Many of these "rags" publish the pictures with little to no information other than eyebrow raising headlines like "Just Busted!"

Regardless of whether or not a picture is publically available, an arrest and booking is a serious and scary thing. Knowing what to say and when to say it could prove critical to the your situation and your future. If you or someone you know has been arrested and wants help, call one of our former Assistant District Attorneys. Their experience "on the inside" will ensure you are treated with respect and that your rights are protected.