Target: Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber
Goal: Commend governor for allowing people who were arrested, but not found guilty, to more easily find work
Oregon’s Governor, John Kitzhaber, has recently signed a bill that will change the lives of many. When people are arrested, their mug shots are often automatically posted online to jail websites. These people may later be found innocent, but their mug shots still exist on the Internet for all to see. The bill that Governor Kitzhaber signed will force these websites to remove the mug shot, free of charge, if the person who was arrested can prove that he or she was found not guilty, if the charges were dropped, or if the charges were expunged. Previously, the law required a fee from those who wished to have their photographs removed.
The new law will help people find jobs and help companies find qualified employees. Many companies will search jail websites for the names of applicants prior to scheduling interviews or officially hiring someone. If an applicant has a mug shot, it can affect his or her chances of being hired, as it can change an employer’s perception of the person. It is not fair for people who have been arrested, but were ultimately found not guilty, to have this stigma follow them around for the rest of their lives. Furthermore, this type of stigma can also affect one’s personal life and future relationships; many people are wary or distrustful of those who have been arrested. If innocent, one should not have to pay to leave a defamatory and unflattering mug shot in the past.
The Portland criminal defense attorney who brought the bill to the Legislature, Ryan Anfuso says, “this is a good bill for Oregonians. It balances the public’s right to be informed against an individual’s right not to be extorted–It’s a good step towards protecting Oregonians from an exploitative practice that we can all agree is wrong.” By signing the petition below, you will commend Oregon Governor, John Kitzhaber, for signing this bill.
Dear Governor Kitzhaber,
The bill you have recently signed that allows mug shots of people who were arrested but later found not guilty, had the charges against them dropped, or had the charges expunged, to be taken down from the Internet without paying a fee is worthy of celebration. It is unfair is one has to pay a fee to remove a photograph for an arrest that was a mistake in the first place.
Signing this bill will help people in this situation find a job more easily, as well as allow them to form and maintain healthy personal relationships. By signing this bill, you show a true concern for the people of Oregon, and set an example for other states to follow. We would like to commend you on your decision.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Peteforsyth via Wikimedia Commons