Articles Posted in Georgia Legislature

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barbed-wire-1390182-m.jpgIn Georgia, anyone under the age of 17 is considered a juvenile offender and enters a separate system for juvenile offenders, rather than the adult criminal justice system. A judge reviews their cases and decides an outcome. In a worst-case scenario, the outcome of a juvenile case can result in long-term confinement in a correctional facility. However, in most cases, the goal is not punishment, but rehabilitation.

Under some circumstances, depending on the juvenile’s age, he or she can be tried as an adult, and his or her case can be transferred to adult court. In the past, too many kids wound up in a juvenile detention facility. The system didn’t work. More than half of the kids previously in the system simply wound up in the system again within three years. The old system was also tremendously expensive. Each bed in a juvenile detention facility cost $90,000 yearly, and this resulted in a budget for Georgia’s Department of Juvenile Justice that was at a high of $300 million.

In 2013, the Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2013 was passed as HB 242. This law not only reduced costs but also changed the philosophy of juvenile detention in Georgia. Under this law, only the most serious and dangerous juvenile offenders are kept in custody.
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You’ve been arrested. You hire an attorney and your charges are eventually dismissed. What’s next? Google your name and see if your mug shot appears. You might find your book-in photo on one or more of the seventeen different mug shot sites. If your charges were expunged, sealed or you are a juvenile or you were found not guilty, many of the sites will remove your mug shot for free. Otherwise, they will charge anywhere from $35.00 to as much as $400.00 to remove your photo. One site called jailbase.com will not remove your photo. It drops off automatically after 6 months. Several sites will remove your photo at no charge just by requesting it be removed.

The Georgia House of Representatives passed a bill recently dealing with companies that charge fees to remove mug shots. HB 150 states that in certain cases, if a person was arrested and had their photograph taken, it is to be removed within 30 days, free of charge when a written request is made and sent by certified mail, return receipt requested or by statutory overnight mail to the registered agent or principal place of business of the web site. This would apply to certain cases where the information was not to be disseminated to the public or private businesses pursuant to O.C.G.A. 35-3-34; cases that were never forwarded to the prosecuting attorney by the arresting law enforcement agency; cases that were forwarded for prosecution but were later dismissed; cases where the statute of limitations had run; cases that were no-billed two times; after indictment or accusation all charges were dismissed or nolle prossed; drug cases dismissed under O.C.G.A. 16-13-2 and cases where an individual was acquitted of all charges by a judge or jury.

Agencies exempt from this bill would include certain newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations.