In August 2011, Debbie Jo Lashaway was charged with theft. She was arraigned and booked in Lucas County, Ohio, and her mug shot was taken.
Seven months later, the charges were dismissed and her record was sealed — effectively removing the theft charge from her public record. Six months after that, she even won a judgment against the man who accused her of theft, declaring the charge bogus and awarding her thousands of dollars in damages.
But just a few weeks ago, she found out her mug shot was still online, posted on a handful of websites — sites like bustedmugshots.com and justmugshots.com. To get her photo stripped from the website — and search engines like Google — they wanted her to pay between $100 and $500.
Philip Kaplan and Debra Jo Lashaway were both arrested, then cleared of their charges. Their court files were sealed, effectively removing the arrests from their public record, but their mug shots linger on websites that make money by charging people to remove their arrest photos. Now, they’re part of a lawsuit that argues their right to publicity has been violated.
Horrified, she called her lawyer, Scott Ciolek. Now, Ciolek’s suing the websites, not for making his clients look like criminals, but because they are making money by exploiting his clients’ images.
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