Releasing mug shot photographs under the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) would violate the personal privacy rights of those depicted, ruled the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta, says the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. The court cited an FOIA exemption that protects from disclosure law enforcement records whose release “could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.”
The case involved Theodore Karantsalis, who sought the mug shots of Luis Giro, a wealthy former president of his own investment firm who pleaded guilty in 2009 to securities fraud. The ruling creates a split among federal appellate courts. the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled in 1996 in case filed by the Detroit Free Press that releasing mug shots did not violate the privacy of defendants.