Court: Feds can withhold mug shots of criminal defendants

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DETROIT (AP) — An appeals court has overturned a 1996 decision and said mug shots of federal criminal defendants can be withheld from the news media in Michigan and three other states.

In a 9-7 ruling Thursday, the court cited privacy concerns and said the photos don’t have to be released under the federal Freedom of Information Act. The majority pointed to the internet, saying booking photos can cast a “long, damaging shadow over the depicted individual.”

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals covers Michigan, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The U.S. Marshals Service already refuses to release booking photos in other states due to policy or rulings from other courts.

The lawsuit was filed by the Detroit Free Press and joined by other media organizations, including The Associated Press.

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