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Legislator asks Erie County sheriff to continue releasing mugshots

Erie County Legislature Minority Leader Joseph Lorigo, C-West Seneca, has asked Sheriff Timothy B. Howard to continue publicly releasing mugshots, despite a law included in this year's state budget that now allows police agencies to withhold them.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers pushed the measure as a way to combat websites that demand money to take down a defendant’s mugshot.

"Preventing media and the public from having access to mug shots is a clear infringement on First Amendment rights," Lorigo said. "I’m urging Sheriff Howard to continue releasing mug shot photos, as they are public information that often helps in the apprehension of criminals and protection of the public."

He pointed out the Niagara County Sheriff's Office continues releasing mugshots.

"The Erie County Sheriff’s Office has temporarily suspended the release of mugshots pending a thorough review of the new law and consultation with the county attorney," said Thomas J. Diina, superintendent of the Sheriff's Jail Management Division."

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