Law student urges lawmakers to pass legislation that would remove mugshots of individuals cleared of crimes

Reporter: Morgan Rynor Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Law student Blake Mathesie. Credit: WINK News.

There is a push to remove mugshots of people who are cleared of crimes from websites.

We spoke to a man who is dealing with this personally. He explained this can hold people back from jobs and even successful relationships.

In October 2019, Blake Mathesie, now a law student, was a senior at University of Florida and worked as a bartender on the side.

“And one night, there was a fight that broke out, and it was right about 1:40 in the morning, right before close,” Mathesie said. “And so there was no security around at the time.”

So Mathesie had to get involved.

“I had no other choice but to jump the bar and break up the fight,” Mathesie.

When Mathesie got the guy who started the fight out of the bar, he thought that was the end of it.

He was wrong.

“That party’s father decided to try to go after the bar insurance policy, but first, pressed the state to prosecute m, so I got charged the felony battery,” Mathesie explained.

The judge dropped all charges, writing, “This court did not find the victim’s testimony credible. The defendant did nothing to the victim and only involved himself when security failed to appear.”

Mathesie thought for sure that was the end of it, but he was wrong again.

“My mug shot is now online forever, and there’s nothing I can do about it,” Mathesie said. “And it has, you know, come to haunt me.”

Mathesie, who is now a law student at FSU, told his story to state lawmakers. They listened, and they’re considering a bill that would require websites that post mugshots and sell advertising to remove photographs after written request.

“It’s little steps at a time,” Mathesie said. “Hopefully … this gets rid of the problem.”

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