Monday, May 9, 2011

A Non-Public Mugging

office of William F. Galvin, Massachusetts Sta...Image via WikipediaPolice do not have to release "mug shots" of criminal defendants under the Massachusetts Public Records Law [G.L. c. 66, sec. 1 et seq; G.L. c. 4, sec. 7(26)], the Secretary of State's office has ruled.

As first reported by attorney Bob Ambrogi's Media Law blog (http://, the decision by Secretary of State William Galvin's office reverses its previous position on the issue.  The most recent ruling involved a request by The Daily Hampshire Gazette for photos taken of  one-time Judge W. Michael Ryan, who was arrested and later acquitted of charges of disorderly conduct and assault and battery of a police officer.

Secretary Galvin's office backed authorities' refusal to turn over the former judge's mug shots, ruling police had discretion to withhold the record under the Commonwealth's Criminal Offender Records Information Law ("CORI") [G.L. c. 6, secs. 167-178B].

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