AN ACT TO REGULATE THE DISSEMINATION AND REMOVAL OR DESTRUCTION OF BOOKING PHOTOGRAPHS.
Senate committee substitute makes the following changes to the 1st edition.
Deletes the proposed content of GS 15A-502.01 and now provides as follows. Explicitly provides that a booking photograph, defined as a photo or image of an individual who is alleged to have committed a crime that is taken by law enforcement at the initial booking and maintained for identification purposes, is not public record. Prohibits a law enforcement agency from providing a copy of a booking photograph of a defendant pretrial in any format except for the five circumstances identified by the statute, including (1) for law enforcement purposes, as defined, (2) to comply with discovery requirements, (3) for use in criminal proceedings in district court, (4) to comply with a court order, and (5) to fulfill a request for a copy of the booking photograph pursuant to the statute. Establishes procedures for a person to request a copy of a booking photograph by applying to the head of the custodial law enforcement agency, and requires the applicant to sign an affidavit attesting that the photo will not be placed in a publish-for-pay publication or posted to a publish-for-pay website (as those terms are defined). Mandates that a publish-for-pay publication or website remove and destroy a booking photograph of any individual who submits a request for removal and destruction pursuant to GS 15A-152(a1), as enacted. Provides that conditioning removal upon payment of a fee or other item of value can constitute a criminal offense and subject the entity to a civil penalty under GS 15A-152(c), as amended.
Deletes the proposed changes to GS 15A-152, concerning civil liability for dissemination of certain criminal history information, that specified that it does not apply to booking photographs. Instead amends the statute as follows. Enacts new subsection (a1), explicitly requiring a publish-for-pay publication or website to remove and destroy any booking photograph within seven business days of receiving notice to remove the booking photograph if there is no criminal conviction related to the arrest that generated the photograph and the individual submits with the request written documentation that the criminal charge related to the arrest that generated the photograph resulted in a dismissal, acquittal, expunction, or that the grand jury returned no true bill on a proposed indictment. Amends subsection (c) to make a publish-for-pay publication or website that fails to remove and destroy a booking photograph liable for any damages sustained as a result of the violation by the person that is the subject of the booking photograph, including $100 per day for each day after the seven-day deadline on which the photo is visible or publicly accessible in the publish-for-pay publication or website, with the prevailing party also entitled to court costs and reasonable attorneys' fees. Provides that this liability is in addition to other punishment or penalty under law.
Deletes the proposed changes to GS 132-1.4, which deems specified records of criminal investigation not public records, and instead amends the statute as follows. Expands the definition provided for records of criminal investigations to include booking photographs of a defendant pretrial. Makes technical changes.
Maintains the act's effective date of October 1, 2021, except provides that subsections (b) and (c) of new GS 15A-502.01 (providing that booking photographs are not public record and prohibiting their disclosure) are effective on the date the act becomes law.