Huntington Beach, California is considering posting photographs of those arrested, suspected of their second or subsequent driving under the influence charge, on their police Facebook page. Councilman Devin Dwyer believes this will shame people into compliance with the DUI laws, according to 10news.com.
Other cities tried this same approach but canned the projects after only a brief period. In Evesham Township, New Jersey, the prosecutor pulled the photographs after only four months stating that the police may not be able to release such information. The Honolulu, Hawaii Police Department ran a pilot project posting driving under the influence arrest photos on their website; however, the program was halted without a specified reason.
Even though the California Constitution grants individuals the right to privacy, the California Public Records Act provides that state and local law enforcement agencies shall make public the full name and physical description of every individual arrested by the agency.
The law enforcement agency in Huntington Beach is not just allowing the public to inspect and copy the information, it wants to publish the photographs on it’s own website. This creates the false impression that those suspected of driving under the influence are in fact guilty, thus jeopardizing the individual’s constitutional right to a fair trial.
(Update: The Huntington Beach City Council decided against putting DUI mug shots on their police Facebook website in a 4-3 vote, according to the LA Times.)