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The new Georgia law attempts to curb the for-profit mug shot sites, requiring them to remove photos at no charge for those who were arrested in the state and can prove charges are dismissed, an idea that site operator D'Antonio said he supports. But the legislator acknowledges the law's protections are limited in scope and its effectiveness will become clear only when it is tested in court. Some of those whose arrest photos have turned up online, though, see little recourse for their frustration.
Nicholas Ingebretsen, a college student in Savannah, Ga., is anything but proud of his arrest this past February, charged with disorderly conduct for throwing an empty bottle in a parking lot outside a bar. When a police officer asked what he was doing, Ingebretsen said he replied, "being an idiot, I guess."
But when his mug shot showed up on three different commercial sites, Ingebretsen said he was mortified. He heard about Bruce's bill and called one of the sites to request removal of the photo without charge. But the person who answered told him repeatedly that the website was exempt from the Georgia law, he said.
"They said read the bill. I said I did read the bill," Ingebretsen said.
"I'm not going to argue with you," the man on the other end of the line answered. Then he hung up.