Now in Legal Rebels:
Posted Feb 25, 2011 10:46 pm CST
Two new mug shots of Jared Lee Loughner, the man accused of the Arizona shootings that left six dead and injured 13 others in January, were released Tuesday.
In a hearing on Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Larry Burns refused to seal Loughner’s photographs, prompting the U.S. Marshals Service to release them, reports the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.
Loughner is smiling in the photos, reported CNN, which also published the mug shots. Loughner’s lawyers attempted to block their release last week, arguing that making the photos public would violate their client’s privacy and jeopardize his right to a fair trial, says the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.
In support of Loughner’s emergency motion (PDF posted by Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press) to prevent the release of the photos, the government filed a motion (PDF posted by Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press) on Feb.14.The motion claimed that the Marshals Service was only obligated to release the photos because of a “wrongly decided” 1996 ruling held by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, says the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. In Detroit Free Press v. Department of Justice, the court ruled that mug shots must be released.
Deciding that the district court “has no authority to overrule binding 6th Circuit precedent interpreting FOIA,” Burns refused to seal the records.
The mug shots were taken by the Marshals Service three days after the shooting, CNN reports.