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‘It ruins people’s livelihoods’: Bend defense attorneys welcome move to limit mugshots release

(Updated: Video, comments from Bend defense attorneys)

Bend attorneys welcomes state bill to limit police mugshot releases

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) – Oregon lawmakers passed a bill restricting the release of mugshots except in certain situations. Supporters say one photo should not determine your future, nor be used to harass someone. One Bend defense attorney says a mugshot can impact someone's employment ability to get housing, getting into school and their personal life.

"It's also even worse when we're talking about cases that are still going on. It creates prejudice in the community, and it ruins people's livelihoods," Colton Theer, defense attorney at Kollie Law Group, told NewsChannel 21 on Wednesday.

Theer also says mugshots hurt people's chances of re-entering society -- even after they've done their time.

"In reality, there are shades of grey in every single case," he said. "That's why pictures like this really hurt people -- and real people. If we ever want to make people better once they're done with being in trouble, and want them to be productive members of society -- these pictures are going to cause huge problems for them. They're never going to get out of it."

Another Bend defense attorney says it's common for clients to show concern that their mug shot is available to the public. 

"I've seen what those mugshots cause -- significant negative impacts on people. It doesn't seem like that is really what should be happening, in a system that presumes innocence." said Bryan Donahue, managing attorney at Donahue Law Firm.

Donahue says the accessibility of these photos actually goes against our justice system. He says he looks forward to the governor signing the bill into law, so there is no longer space for what he calls "an extra-judicial system."

Here's more information from a news release issued by Oregon Senate Democrats:

House Bill 3273 will limit when jail booking photos can be released in order to prevent “doxing” and protect privacy.

Doxing is a general term used to describe a situation in which someone deliberately shares another individual’s private information on the internet with an intent to incite harassment. House Bill 3273 complements House Bill 3047, which was passed earlier this week and provides civil remedy to those who have experienced doxing.

The measure states that a booking photo can be released "to the public, if the law enforcement agency determines that there is a law enforcement purpose for the release, including but not limited to assistance with the apprehension of a fugitive or a suspect in a criminal investigation, or the identification of additional criminal activity."

“A photo can ruin your life,” said Senator James I. Manning Jr. (D-Eugene) who co-carried House Bill 3273 and is a former a law enforcement officer. “Disproportionately, those who are picked up by law enforcement are BIPOC Oregonians, folks who look like me. One photo should not determine your future.

"In addition, we’ve seen booking photos used to harass and intimidate individuals who have been exercising their right to peacefully assemble in the name of racial justice and it’s impacted their employment and their ability to exist and move freely in their communities.”

House Bill 3273 limits the circumstances in which booking photos may be released by law enforcement, while ensuring they can share these photos in order to locate a suspect or fugitive and maintain public safety as a priority.

The bill also requires that so-called “publish-for-pay” publications remove and destroy the booking photo image upon request. The bill provides that these publishers may assess a fee of no more than $50 and allows a person to file a civil suit for the failure to remove that image.

“These booking photos end up on predatory websites long before an individual is convicted of a crime, and have even been used to extort money from innocent individuals,” said Senator Floyd Prozanski, who co-carried the bill and chairs the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Measure 110 Implementation.

“Time and again, we have seen these photos distributed to cause harm and create bias against individuals. These photos can be important for law enforcement, but they shouldn’t harm one’s opportunity to succeed and contribute to their community."

House Bill 3273 now goes to the governor’s desk for her signature.

Author Profile Photo

Carly Keenan

Carly Keenan is a multimedia journalist and producer for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Carly here.



  1. Meanwhile the antifacist-facists, continue to do so to all variety of citizenry and this is what our senators do with their time…

  2. It’s not the photo that “can ruin your life”. It’s the action that led to that photo. One more step away from personal accountability. Not a surprise from the lefties in Salem.

    1. Alleged action. You believe in the court system, right? Innocent until proven guilty in court? That’s one of the key issues, also behind our similar policy to not automatically use names/mugshots. Charges can definitely change, or even be dropped/acquitted.

        1. I personally know innocent people whose lives have been ruined by the report they’d been arrested and charged.

          Being eventually cleared of all charges had no benefit.

        1. On all crimes? Where, on media sites? Some centralized location? (And what if overturned on appeal, remove them? Will they vanish from the many cached search engines?)
          I never see this stuff as simply as some do. There’s always tradeoffs, messy details and unintended consequences. Sort of like life.

  3. Oh look! ANTARIM County,Michigan found Fraud!! Someone left a computer on with an open IP address and it was accessed remotely on the same two nights in November that they happened to be doing the recounts! This null and voids the recounts.
    Every State should get a full forensic audit.

    1. Say it ain’t so, watch how this’ll be pushed to back burner by nbc and CNN etc. As morning Joe screamed a week or two ago, anyone who thinks election wasn’t secure and 100% honest needs to be deported.

        1. Have you ever been in a position to hire someone? Are you positive those people told you the truth in there interview? Are you positive you weren’t lied to? Trump is as human as the rest of us. Trump hired and appointed a lot of people. Some of them turned out to be bad apples.
          The audits are turning up a lot of information concerning fraud. Wait and watch.

  4. Avoiding mugshots are incentive to stay out of trouble. Mugshots of innocent people being posted online does happen on occasion. That isn’t reason to not make mugshots public and further make it easier to be a criminal. Why all this recent advocation for criminals? When will it be cool to advocate for the criminals’ victims again?

      1. Not in the court of woke public opinion. If progressives can destroy a woman who appeared in a dance 20 years ago, we consrvatives can destroy the life of some antifa clown who rioted in Portland. Balance is fair right? Equity. Right?

      1. Just look at all the people in this chat who assume that if you have a mugshot, you’re guilty. This is exactly why they should be hidden until guilt is proven.

  5. Years ago my sister was a victim of a murder. Apparently at the time the local news media could only get her mugshot.(which we had plenty of pictures). The case had nothing to do with her committing any crime but then decided to use a mugshot from the past. The only mugshots that should be posted are sex offenders in my opinion. We should know who’s lurking around our children.

  6. Don’t be a garbage person getting your picture taken by the police and your life won’t be ruined. Mugshots should be posted in “the town square”.
    People should be able to know a piece of crap when they see one. When they interview one for a job. When they have to deal with them in any way. Stop babying criminals!

        1. Actually, as for mugshots, the policy will not be too different than the judgment calls we already make. We’ll see what sheriff’s offices due with public jail roster systems etc. They can still name folks, list charges, and our policy relates to both names and mugshots.

  7. I’m actually 100% for this not releasing anything at all before conviction. After getting convicted, I’m sorry the mug shot isn’t what effects your livelihood, it was your behavior that got you convicted that will effect your livelihood.

  8. I can’t believe I actually agree with a new law from this lib stare but I agree with this one. While there are the career criminals who could care less about what the public thinks, there is also the one time offenders who screwed up. And for them mugshots are taken at one of the lowest points in thier life. To then face public ridicule about thier looks on public news sites is demeaning and demoralizing.

  9. I used to drink and drive regularly! Guess what? Not anymore! Having my mugshot for the world to see is a great DETERRENT!stay out of trouble, stay out of the public eye! Simple!

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