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Family Has Right of Privacy In Decapitation Photos

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the have-you-no-shame dept.

Privacy 262

big6joe sends in an update to a morbid story we discussed last year: a California appeals court has overturned a lower court ruling, granting the family of an 18-year-old woman who was killed in a traffic accident in 2006 privacy rights and recourse against the California Highway Patrol. "In a case that highlights how the ease of online communication can overthrow both common sense and basic decency, a California appeals court has ruled that families have a right of privacy in the death images of their loved ones. In 2006, an eighteen-year-old woman was decapitated in a traffic accident. Two of the police officers who reported to the scene emailed photos of the woman's body to their friends and family one Halloween."

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262 comments

So... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31721926)

where are the pictures? anyone got a link?

Re:So... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31721948)

http://www.nikkicatsouras.net/ [nikkicatsouras.net]

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31721988)

Thanks.

Re:So... (4, Interesting)

DirtyCanuck (1529753) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722052)

My friend was recently run over (Age 20), crossing a highway drunk.

I thought it sucked when we found out and turned into the news to see his dead body, bloody on the highway. At the same time a select few saw the aftermath up close ("Cleaned up")These are things people see and have to clean up.

These images remind us all of our fragile mortality. I ride my motorcycle much more conservative since my friends passing.

If people saw reality more often, I think reality would become less grim as people realize how eggshell life really is.

Re:So... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31722144)

friends != friend's

You had a friend (singular) pass away. It needs a possessive apostrophe. Likewise, when one person dies, you don't say "them passing", you say "his passing" or "her passing". The 's' is part of making it possessive, not plural, and it won't do so on its own.

Re:So... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31722490)

I love you. Please continue making Slashdot great.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31722666)

A decent person and friend of all humanity (actually I don't know him, but he is Canadian, so there) was recently trolled, posting about a deadly accident. I thought it sucked when we found out and turned to slashdot to see his touching comment, among all that bloody bullshit on the "information superhighway". At the same time a select few saw the troll up close. These are things people see who read at -1 (not to mention the unspeakable horrors the troll's poor mother must have seen). These texts remind us all of our fragile sanity. I read my slashdot much more restrictive since that.

If people talked to each other in reality more often, I think reality would become less assholish as people realize how assholish enough real life already is. Speaking about real life: Isn't it weird how car-centric the infrastructure of America is?

Re:So... (0, Flamebait)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722164)

My friend was recently run over (Age 20), crossing a highway drunk.

Those highway drunks can be real mean, it's best not to provoke them.

Re:So... (4, Insightful)

value_added (719364) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722302)

If people saw reality more often, I think reality would become less grim as people realize how eggshell life really is.

I wonder to what degree the views that underly this ruling exist outside the US. Photographs of tragedies when published in American newspapers and magazines (or broadcast on TV) are typically from the sanitized category. The reasoning behind that is we don't need to see what happened to know what happened (or less charitably, people prefer human interest stories).

Consider something like a bus bombing. In the US, if a photograph is included it will typically show grief-stricken onlookers, or alternatively, the charred remains of the bus after everything has been cleaned up. Elsewhere, it's not at all uncommon to see multiple photographs showing the blood-spattered carnage in the immediate aftermath.

Granted, the sensibilities of the newsreading public weren't at issue in the case, but still, the ruling does appear to reflect points of view that may not apply elsewhere. And if those views aren't universally held, it stands to reason that decisions related to the publishing of those images (self censorship among them) merit a re-examination. Fragility of life? I think we'd all agree that's an important lesson that needs to be learned. But consider this: the US has been engaged in two wars for years, and I've yet to see anything in the American press that reinforces that lesson, provides evidence of what is really happening, or more generally, reflects the true nature of war.

Is the news coverage of violence and tragedy too sanitized for our own good? If the box office numbers for the "Action-Adventure" genre meant to satisfy the puerile tastes of the movie going public are any indication, I'd suggest it is. How else to explain the attraction and repeated desire to view dramatic re-enactments of something that, according to this judge, is morbid and doesn't deserve to be seen?

My condolences on the loss of your friend. Drive safe and hope for the best. It's the most any of us can do.

Re:So... (4, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722470)

These images remind us all of our fragile mortality. ...and many people don't like that.

Re:So... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31722232)

That site hosts malware. Clicking on the video link attempts to download a trojan.

Re:So... (2, Funny)

perryizgr8 (1370173) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722256)

i downloaded the thing and scanned it. ms security essentials says no malware.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31722264)

http://www.nikkicatsouras.net/ [nikkicatsouras.net]

If anything will stop me driving recklessly while coked out of my head, the above site will.

Certainly a strong candidate for public safety material

problem with the officers (5, Insightful)

glitch23 (557124) | more than 4 years ago | (#31721932)

In 2006, an eighteen-year-old woman was decapitated in a traffic accident. Two of the police officers who reported to the scene emailed photos of the woman's body to their friends and family one Halloween."

Sounds like they have a problem with immature police officers as well. Hopefully the officers got reprimanded for doing that.

Re:problem with the officers (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31721972)

Universal health care is NOT a good thing. It IS socialist if only the upper class pays for it.

Some socialist policies are for the greater good. The greater good trumps your selfish little sphere of ignorance. If you're so high and mighty get the fuck off the roads for which your fellow taxpayers pay... and anything else you can't afford to build yourself. Hypocrite!

Re:problem with the officers (-1, Flamebait)

ravenshrike (808508) | more than 4 years ago | (#31721996)

The greater good can fuck itself up the ass sideways. The greater good has, through one evolution or another, given us every truly despotic regime on this planet. It has justified more bloodshed and evil than any other phrase in existence.

Re:problem with the officers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31722006)

Words with no evidence vs words with no evidence. Whom should I believe?

Re:problem with the officers (1)

gd2shoe (747932) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722154)

History. Have you paid attention to it at all?

Do we really need to Godwin the thread so quickly?

Re:problem with the officers (1)

Kerstyun (832278) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722458)

Words with no evidence vs words with no evidence. Whom should I believe?

THE LORD JESU'S!

Re:problem with the officers (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31722016)

No no, you're thinking of the greater greed... where selfish pricks hoard as much of the world's resources and power as they can without sharing with the rest of the world. Either way... you're still a hypocrite since you happily partake of some socialist policies but rebuke others.

Re:problem with the officers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31722034)

resource conservation is a good thing. it preserves the wealth necessary to support future generations. sharing with those too irresponsible to do likewise would make even more people worse off.

Re:problem with the officers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31722092)

So what you're suggesting is that people who get diseases like cancer are "irresponsible"? It has nothing to do with decades of food additives, waste dumping, ozone depletion, etc.

Re:problem with the officers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31722198)

it is irresponsible of society to steal from everyone in order to subsidize those with cancer rather than to find and correct the problems that cause it. extremely irresponsible.

-1 offtopic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31722056)

How the hell are despotic and evil regimes for the greater good?

Oh wait, they just claim to be. It's called propaganda.

PS: GP is a troll

Re:problem with the officers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31722152)

The greater good has, through one evolution or another, given us every truly despotic regime on this planet.

And here I was thinking that the good ol' United States of America, which is by any standard the epitome of a system built for the greater good by the Forefathers, had one of the best systems in history and was a remarkable example for the rest of the planet!

Well, I guess that I was wrong and what the Founding Fathers gave us is just another despotic regime, no better than any other in history. Go figure.

Re:problem with the officers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31722276)

the united states was founded on the individual good. those who have perverted it to promote the greater good instead, from depression-era progressives to globalist neo-conservatives, are the ones who have turned it into just another despotic regime.

Re:problem with the officers (0, Flamebait)

digitalnoise615 (1145903) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722206)

The greater good can fuck itself up the ass sideways. The greater good has, through one evolution or another, given us every truly despotic regime on this planet. It has justified more bloodshed and evil than any other phrase in existence.

You're thinking of Religion, actually.

Re:problem with the officers (1)

jmknsd (1184359) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722280)

If like is anything like supertroopers, they have been pistol whipped thoroughly.

Re:problem with the officers (3, Informative)

Lorens (597774) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722296)

Sounds like they have a problem with immature police officers as well. Hopefully the officers got reprimanded for doing that.

One was suspended 25 days (w/o pay), the other resigned (but says it was for reasons unrelated to the accusation).

One thing nags at me: family says they did not have a legal right to prevent websites from carrying the photos. However, the photos should still be copyright CHP.

I wonder how the case would have stood if it had been an unrelated bystander who took the photos and intentionally displayed them to the world?

Re:problem with the officers (5, Insightful)

severoon (536737) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722396)

Copyright CHP? The CHP are public servants...anything created by the government is public domain. Good thing, too...that's why we have such rich geodata, b/c the government agencies that collect it all using our tax dollars are compelled to share it back with us. (After all, we paid for it.)

In this case, I don't have a problem with courts restricting usage of public domain images of a crime scene in sensitive matters like this...but I have to say that we ought to tread lightly when it comes to limiting access to public domain information. It should only be barred from usage in particular cases, not in general.

Re:problem with the officers (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722574)

anything created by the government is public domain

That only applies to the federal government. State and local governments can copyright their stuff if they like. Florida and Minnesota don't allow it, but I don't know about anywhere else.

Re:problem with the officers (2, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722390)

Sounds like they have a problem with immature police officers as well. Hopefully the officers got reprimanded for doing that.

I believe it has been reported that the reason they sent the photos out was as an cautionary example of why one should not text and drive at the same time,
It isn't like they did it out of a sick sense of humor.

I am unsure if this is ok or not ... (-1, Troll)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 4 years ago | (#31721950)

I guess I will have to go through the evidence to make a final judgement. Anyone can provide me with a link of the photos? ;)

Re:I am unsure if this is ok or not ... (-1, Troll)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 4 years ago | (#31721970)

Ok, sorry for replying to myself but ...

Found the photos. She was fucking hot!

http://bittenandbound.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/12/ht_nicole_071115_ms.jpg [bittenandbound.com]

Well, not so hot after the accident:

http://nikkicatsouras.net/ [nikkicatsouras.net]

I know, I'm a jerk.

Re:I am unsure if this is ok or not ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31722008)

Nah, still good enough for me.

Re:I am unsure if this is ok or not ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31722244)

I know, I'm a jerk.

Yea, for linking to a site that tries to make visitors install one of those malware ".exe"-codecs.

lol (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31721954)

I hope I'm not the only one that thinks this is totally hillarious.

Re:lol (-1, Troll)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 4 years ago | (#31721976)

Nop, you are not. But you don't have the guts to say so without the protection of Anonymity.

Yes, It is fucking hilarious, and the photos are fucking amazing.

Look at this one:

http://nikkicatsouras.net/nikki-catsouras-porsche-girl-crash-8.jpg [nikkicatsouras.net]

I guess we finally solved the issue of faster-than-light travel: Matter can't go faster than light, but bitches sure can.

Re:lol (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31721982)

I think it's sad. Just because these people had their feelings hurt does not mean that they should be able to censor pictures that were taken IN PUBLIC of an 18 YEAR OLD ADULT. There was no expectation of privacy and if I recall correctly, the woman was a drug addict who died because she stole her father's Porsche and proceeded to drive it in a very reckless manner.

Fuck that.

Re:lol (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31722106)

ust because these people had their feelings hurt does not mean that they should be able to censor pictures that were taken IN PUBLIC of an 18 YEAR OLD ADULT.

Fair enough. I even agree with this, though I also believe that the officers involved should have been fired. Or, failing that, that the employment rules for the highway patrol have been updated to ensure that the next person who does this DOES get fired. If John Q Public takes the pictures and sends them around, that's one thing; if a public servant who obtains the photos in the line of duty does so, that's an abuse of privilege.

There was no expectation of privacy and if I recall correctly, the woman was a drug addict who died because she stole her father's Porsche and proceeded to drive it in a very reckless manner.

This is where I don't follow. What does a) her possible drug issue or b) how she got the vehicle or c) how she was driving have to do with whether or not the photos are public? I fail to understand.

Re:lol (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722116)

Hm. That was posted by me. No idea why it went up as Anon Coward; the final version showed my name, sig etc, until I refreshed the page...

Re:lol (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722188)

The "Post anon" checkbox can take focus when you tab from the subject to the message body.

Re:lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31722238)

How is it abusing a privilege if John Doe civilian citizen has the power to do the same without reprimand?

Whether or not the photos were crime scene evidence will dictate in black and white whether the pictures were able to be released. If they were able to be released, then this is an incident in bad taste.

Re:lol (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722122)

and if I recall correctly, the woman was a drug addict who died because she stole her father's Porsche and proceeded to drive it in a very reckless manner.

Excuse me, how is that relevant?

Re:lol (1)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722130)

There certainly is an expectation of privacy if the photos were taken by police officers in the course of recording evidence as part of their jobs. The woman had a pre-existing brain injury as the result of childhood cancer which made her prone to impulsive behavior.

Fuck you.

Re:lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31722222)

The only expectation of privacy is state level legislation or domicile/department level procedure prohibiting the unauthorized release of crime scene photos.

Hate to break it to you, but that's all the situation boils down to. The officers broke protocol.

It would be no different if the news aired the photos on TV.

Re:lol (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31722150)

of an 18 YEAR OLD ADULT

Sorry, what?

The way you're phrasing it, it has more in common with a voyeuristic paparazzi taking photos of a celebrity sunbathing in their fenced back yard. Not following?

1) The scene of an accident is not often "public". It gets cordoned off pretty quickly by police. Police officers taking pictures of her body for personal purposes was a breach of duty - and dignity.
2) The woman was dead. It was not an 18-year-old woman, it was the body of a deceased loved one (to someone); once you die, "ownership" of your body goes to your next-of-kin. Pretty sure the cops didn't get the family's permission.

Note: I'm not speaking in defense of the family, here. I think they should probably just get over it: there are surely bigger fish to fry, though I suppose they're doing their part to get rid of these poor LEOs.

Re:lol (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722290)

Yes you are - it just proves that you are extremely immature and hasn't considered your own mortality yet.

Considering your spelling skills it's also evidence of immaturity.

Re:lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31722460)

Huh? Does maturity require a solemn outlook on a stupid pointless death? We're all going to die some day my friend, no need to go emo or anything. Perhaps fewer accidents would occur if such deaths were ridiculed.

I HASN'T yet seen the correlation of maturity with spelling skills. Seems to be a bit petty honestly. How about a racial slur instead?

Why is this different... (4, Insightful)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722028)

...than the Ohio Dept. of Public Safety films we were forced to watch in driver's ed showing decapitations, amputations, and other sordid details meant to "shock" us into not driving drunk/impaired/stupidly?

It's human nature to look upon the misfortunes of others as something fortuitous for the viewer: The idea of "Thank God that's not me or a loved one". And to be truthful here, the Newsweek article pointed to in the original /. story did mention that the M.E. found cocaine in the girl's system, even though the family tried to put the blame on a brain tumor. The family should embrace the opportunity to show young people what happens when they choose to get behind the wheel after a few lines of coke.

Re:Why is this different... (5, Informative)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722038)

Surprisingly, the ODPS videos are still available. [ohio.gov]

It's different because the officers... (5, Insightful)

jeko (179919) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722142)

...identified the victim in the photos and sent them out as a Halloween joke. The images flew across the Internet and the same sick people who frequent the gore sites across the internet emailed the images back to the family with taunts, ridicule and abuse.

Sure, the girl drove under the influence. She paid for it with her life. I think that's sufficient punishment. Her parents buried their teenage daughter. I think that's more than enough punishment.

Speaking as a father, the bad guys in this story are the officers on the scene. How they could think it was OK to use those photos for their own sick little joke on Halloween is beyond me. How they could think they had the authority to release those photos to the public at large is beyond me. Has law enforcement become so craven in this country they don't understand what we mean by "respect for the dead?"

I've seen the Daniel Pearl and Nick Berg videos. I think they should be required viewing for every adult of voting age in this country, because seeing those two videos provides context for foreign policy decisions we need to vote on. I can even see the usefulness of "mechanized death" videos that try to make a point with immortal 16-year-olds, provided the footage is anonymous and separated by a healthy number of years.

However, I can also see the difference between a major newsworthy event that should inform foreign policy and two ghouls in uniform getting their sick little jollies at the expense of grieving parents. Sick minds like these need doctors and asylums, not badges and guns.

Re:It's different because the officers... (3, Interesting)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722208)

Speaking as a father, the bad guys in this story are the officers on the scene. How they could think it was OK to use those photos for their own sick little joke on Halloween is beyond me. How they could think they had the authority to release those photos to the public at large is beyond me. Has law enforcement become so craven in this country they don't understand what we mean by "respect for the dead?"

In one way it just demonstrates we still have a long way to go before we can expect *all* police to be professional, some are, some aren't.

Re:It's different because the officers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31722240)

craven

That word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Re:It's different because the officers... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31722242)

I've seen the Daniel Pearl and Nick Berg videos. I think they should be required viewing for every adult of voting age in this country, because seeing those two videos provides context for foreign policy decisions we need to vote on.

My willingness to agree to this is contingent on one thing: that we also require the voting adults in question to watch videos of Predator drone strikes, the aftermath of bombings in civilian areas, and so forth. Showing atrocities and horrific events is (or can be) important, but if you only show the consequences of one side's actions, you're not informing or "providing context", you're pushing propaganda by trying to excite people's desire for revenge.

(In fact it's arguably more important for U.S. voters to see footage of the realities of "collateral damage". They elected the politicians who put those policies into practice, and when you vote for those who advocate military action, you need to know that you're voting for all the horrors of war: little kids getting blown to smithereens, old men getting shot by trigger-happy sentries, and all those things which inevitably, inescapably come into play when war is initiated. The Pearl and Berg murders, however horrible and disturbing, are events of a fundamentally different sort.)

Re:It's different because the officers... (1)

OrwellianLurker (1739950) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722546)

Has law enforcement become so craven in this country they don't understand what we mean by "respect for the dead?"

I know cops. They regularly deal with deal, and other horrible things. From my personal observations, it seems that they typically develop strange, distasteful senses of humor as a defense mechanism. I'm not saying you should find that acceptable, but you should attempt to UNDERSTAND it.

Driving impaired? (3, Insightful)

seeker_1us (1203072) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722200)

Embracing the opportunity to show the impact of illegal chemicals on driving is FAR different than cops emailing out the photograph as a Halloween joke.

Re:Why is this different... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31722204)

fortuitous

That word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Re:Why is this different... (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722426)

At a guess, the difference is consent of the families involved.

Re: Your brains (0, Flamebait)

assemblerex (1275164) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722030)

If she got drunk and splattered herself on public land and property there is no expectation of privacy.
The problem is the pictures came from the cops, not a bystander or journalist.

Re: Your brains (-1, Troll)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722108)

Who the fuck made this trollbait "insightful"?

She wasn't drunk. She did have a pre-existing brain injury which was the result of childhood cancer which made her prone to impulsive and reckless behavior.

And no, you don't have a right to view the result unless you're a complete fucked-up ghoul.

Re: Your brains (2, Insightful)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722128)

And no, you don't have a right to view the result unless you're a complete fucked-up ghoul.

Unfortunately, the ghouls DO have the right to view. Nobody said free speech was always pretty.

As GP said, the real problem here is that it was police who sent the info out - abusing their positions to do so.

Re: Your brains (0, Redundant)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722210)

And no, you don't have a right to view the result unless you're a complete fucked-up ghoul.

Unfortunately, the ghouls DO have the right to view. Nobody said free speech was always pretty.

As GP said, the real problem here is that it was police who sent the info out - abusing their positions to do so.

This wasn't about freedom of speech. That BS argument was dispensed with very well by the court. It was about the abuse of privileged information that should not have been released without a court order justifying its release.

And no, ghouls don't have some extra legal rights that trump everyone else's.

Re: Your brains (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722344)

Ah, bollocks. Free speech is meant to protect political speech, denouncers, etc. It doesn't mean you can post everything, unless I can illegally distribute copyrighted movies and call it free speech.

In the US, it's called the Right of Publicity [wikipedia.org] and it's a state law, rather a federal law. While IANAL and so cannot be sure if the appropriate state laws cover this specific case, it's not correct to say that Free Speech covers all.

Re: Your brains (4, Insightful)

severoon (536737) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722416)

You're wrong. There are no limitations on free speech. Our Constitution is not intended to protect some particular kind of speech, political or other. In fact, it's not designed to protect the free speech of citizens at all.

Our Constitution does not grant citizens free speech, it recognizes our right to free speech as an inalienable right. The point of this document is not to call out specific freedoms that people have, rather it's to grant the government certain powers. If it's not specifically mentioned, rights are presumed to reside with the individual or the state in the US (and state constitutions are similarly framed).

In the case where information is generated by government officials (the police), that information is presumed to be in the public domain except in specific circumstances.

Re: Your brains (1)

fbjon (692006) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722450)

That doesn't mean that there aren't particular kinds of speech that you may not engage in. And by "you", I mean the police officers, but it applies to you as well.

Re: Your brains (1)

severoon (536737) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722558)

Uh, perhaps you didn't read what I wrote above carefully. Unless the "particular kinds of speech" you're referring to are specifically prohibited by law (making that law subject to Constitutional review), then that's exactly what it means.

Re: Your brains (1)

fbjon (692006) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722612)

Are saying that you can publish anything you like without legal consequences?

Re: Your brains (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31722262)

She did have a pre-existing brain injury which was the result of childhood cancer which made her prone to impulsive and reckless behavior.

and she still had a license to drive? go usa lol

Re: Your brains (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31722328)

She wasn't drunk. She did have a pre-existing brain injury which was the result of childhood cancer which made her prone to impulsive and reckless behavior.

And why should that matter in the least? I notice you don't mention how she was all coked up either. Or how she managed to get a driver's license despite a debilitating medical condition.

And no, you don't have a right to view the result unless you're a complete fucked-up ghoul.

Well since it happened in public, then yes I do.. if they were taken by a member of the public. But they weren't, they were taken by the police which makes it part of that case file. We don't have a right to see what's in the police file, which is why this is a scandal... the cops who gave away the photos did not have the authority to release that information.

Re: Your brains (1)

digitalchinky (650880) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722508)

From one of the linked articles: "She used cocaine again the night before the accident"

Quite a few sites also mention that her body still had traces of cocaine - some even go so far as to deny that it was 'only her second time' and that she was actually a frequent user.

So why was she then allowed to drive? (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722650)

And so far I seen no evidence that she wasn't under the influence, your claim is the first and you provide no evidence.

You always get these claims after someone did something bad. Suddenly it is not their fault, the moment a lawyer has been consulted. How odd.

Re: Your brains (0, Flamebait)

M8e (1008767) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722112)

When something like that happens the public land becomes an crime/crash scene and is not public for the moment.

Re: Your brains (0, Troll)

Teun (17872) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722316)

Interesting and to me plausible, anyone that can confirm this?

Re: Your brains (1)

Rhesusmonkey (1028378) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722320)

Mr. Zapruder and I feel that this is a dangerous sentiment.

Re: Your brains (1, Interesting)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722118)

I think the question is of right, not expectation. But what differentiates between a right and a merely desired-for right? It seems it comes down to the family not feeling OK with the photos being shown to anyone. Is this enough to establish it as a right that one can block usage of any photos of one's offspring, for any reason? Why stop at photos? Maybe we should allow someone to block mention of someone's name, or a color, etc. if it offends someone somewhere.

Re: Your brains (2, Insightful)

physicsphairy (720718) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722160)

Her indiscretions are not really relevant. Keeping the photos private is consideration to the family, not to her. (I don't think she is likely to issue a preference one way or the other.)

There are still some expectations to privacy on public land. For example, putting a movie cam in the sewer drain to look up people's skirts--not okay. In a way, this is also an instance of taking advantage of an involuntary indecency.

Re: Your brains (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31722194)

So, we should further punish the already-grieving family for (what might be) this girl's stupidity? Congratulations, you're a moron.

And no, the problem is not just the source (the cops) but the recipient (her friends and family? Really?). There is /no good reason/ to do this unless you're just trying to be a cruel satanic fuck.

Re: Your brains (0, Redundant)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722306)

And that they were intentionally mailed to the family.

This means that they will be haunted by this for the rest of their lives - as if it wasn't bad enough already.

Journalists and police officers shall always take into consideration if their actions can be harmful on a level where it does more bad than good. If they aren't able to have that kind of empathy then they should change job to something else - like dead animal collection along the roads/railroads.

People in public service that lacks empathy are the most dangerous persons around since they can cause massive amounts of suffering.

What's the difference? (3, Insightful)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722062)

I fail to see how this is any different from the thousands of people who rubberneck and gawk as they pass an accident on our nation's highways.

If you go out and kill yourself in public, chances are very good people are going to see your dead body. That's what "public" means.

I guess the "problem" here is that it was the police that distributed the photos instead of some hapless bystander who happened to have a cell phone or digital camera? I can understand if they're compromising some homicide investigation... damn right they need to get in deep trouble for that, but if all signs are that you managed to kill yourself in darwinistic fashion (as this appears to be), then your death SHOULD serve as a lesson to the rest of humanity.

The difference (5, Interesting)

bonch (38532) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722086)

The pictures ended up on sites like 4chan, and idiots even found the email addresses of the family and sent trick emails containing the images. They also made harassing prank calls. So the difference in this case is that the officers who distributed the photos directly caused pain and suffering to the family by leaking the pictures to the rest of the world. There are some very cruel people out there who think being callous makes them funny.

Re:The difference (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31722126)

Gore images on 4chan? Who would've thunk!

The officers didn't cause anything directly. If you sell knives, I buy one and then stab people with it, you are NOT responsible for my stabbings.

Same goes for the officers - leaking the pictures did not cause the family pain and suffering - the guys on 4chan did.

Re:The difference (0, Redundant)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722138)

Werd.

Re:The difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31722140)

directly caused pain and suffering to the family

No... that would be indirectly, which is the exact opposite of what you said.

Re:The difference (2, Insightful)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722156)

I find the actions you described to be fairly disgusting, but the argument you seem to be making is that because some sick shits abused the information, nobody should have been allowed to disseminate the information. While I wish I could agree with the sentiment, the fact is that free speech isn't that selective.

Now - the officers involved should definitely be held responsible for any damages they caused. As should, frankly, anyone who can be proved to have been using the pictures in a way that caused demonstrable harm. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from responsibility.

Re:The difference (2, Insightful)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722386)

Wrong. Freedom of speech is freedom from responsibility - it protects not only the act of speaking, but from being punished for it.

The thing is, freedom of speech is selective; it's purpose is to protect political (or artistic) speech, but it is limited in other cases, like libel or in this case, it might be protected by Personality Rights [wikipedia.org] .

Re:The difference (3, Insightful)

ragethehotey (1304253) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722480)

Wrong. Freedom of speech is freedom from responsibility - it protects not only the act of speaking, but from being punished for it.

The thing is, freedom of speech is selective; it's purpose is to protect political (or artistic) speech, but it is limited in other cases, like libel or in this case, it might be protected by Personality Rights [wikipedia.org] .

No, it protects you from being punished by the government, there are countless reasons one can be successfully punished in civil court for something that is clearly "protected speech"

You are free to disseminate trade secrets of a corporation you worked for, but they are free to sue the living shit out of you for it.

Re:The difference (2, Informative)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722158)

I still don't see how this is the officers' fault. If they violated their department's policy by emailing these photos, then that is the extent of their guilt. There is a penalty for that I'm sure. If the family experienced pain and suffering as a result of some idiots emailing or calling them, then those idiots are responsible for that and the family has every right to sue them. Was there no way to track down and expose any of them?

Re:The difference (2, Insightful)

The Wooden Badger (540258) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722268)

They could always follow legal precedent established by RIAA lawyers, and file a John Doe lawsuit. They can work out who actually caused the harm once they get to damages.

Re:The difference (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722282)

They are at fault because they violated a trust placed in them by the public. We are are not paying them to snap photos of things and make them public. When they are on duty, they are working for us. And while I do not begrudge them a water cooler conversation, I do not think I am happy with paying them to snap personal photos of the poor dead people they encounter in their line of work and distributing them on the Internet.

As for exactly how she ended up dead or her personal habits, I don't think they're relevant to this discussion. I don't think it matters if the pictures in question are of someone who was brutally tortured to death by a serial killer or someone who blew their own brains out with a shotgun by accident while blasted out of their head on PCP and going on a murder rampage through a local shopping mall.

This isn't what we are paying the police to do, and their private actions in the course of carrying out their official duties can have a manifestly large impact on the public. They shouldn't be doing it. They are abusing our trust and the authority they acquire at our behest if they do.

Re:The difference (2, Insightful)

gd2shoe (747932) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722186)

Unless they uploaded the pictures to 4chan themselves, they can hardly be held responsible for that particular group of abuses. (The department should certainly discipline them, though.)

Re:The difference (3, Interesting)

linzeal (197905) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722228)

My friend down in California knows a cop who got sued in the 1990's for releasing the information a man with a restraining order needed to find his ex-wife and beat the crap out of her to the point she has brain injuries. The police department, the county and he himself got sued and her family won against them all, they refused to take a settlement for fear it would happen to someone else. The county paid out, the police department did too, but he himself can never afford to buy a house, a car or even groceries some months because he still has 100's of thousands of dollars more to pay. That to me is justice and a similar judgement would be proper in this case.

Re:The difference (1)

kklein (900361) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722394)

Amen. Whenever the police act in an inappropriate manner, we need to nail their asses to the wall.

When I'm king, there will be a new law making it illegal to violate the public's trust. Politician taking bribes? That's a hanging. Spitting in the food while working at a restaurant? That's a hanging. Police brutality/theft/rape/torture/sending out pictures of a mutilated teenage girl? You better believe that's a hanging.

Society doesn't work when the people we give control over aspects of our lives aren't worthy of our trust.

Re:The difference (1)

Rhesusmonkey (1028378) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722340)

Ok I know we said this when with the whole terrorist scare, but when we start second guessing behavior based on what 4chan might or might not do, all is truly lost.

Re:What's the difference? (1)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722120)

The differences are:

1. The photos were taken by police officers improperly.
2. The photos found their way onto the sickosphere.
3. The photos were then shown to a school class, which included the deceased girl's younger sister
4. No, you don't have a right to view anything and everything that someone has a camera on.

Re:What's the difference? (1)

stimpleton (732392) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722440)

"... if all signs are that you managed to kill yourself in darwinistic fashion (as this appears to be), then your death SHOULD serve as a lesson to the rest of humanity.

Darwinistic according to what set of rules?

Using a nature show(relevantly) as example, the slower wilderbest that is caught by a predator is taken out of the breeding pool there by enhancing future progeny.

Similarly, if your 18 yo daughter fails to avoid a drunk driver on the wrong side of the road, 2 off her peers having previously and successfully swerving from his path, the by your logic, your daughters death is actually for the betterment of humanity?

Striesand effect (-1, Redundant)

Sparx139 (1460489) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722134)

Enough said. I feel sorry for the family if this spreads.

But... but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31722346)

But... but... the pictures were so awesome!

questions, questions.. (5, Insightful)

Johann Lau (1040920) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722368)

What kind of fucktards do they allow into the police force, anyway? Doesn't that give you pause? And isn't that the real issue here? If those cops weren't scum, the case would not have come about. So why allow scum to police people, and how to change it? How would one make the police force (or the military for that matter) a no go area for character dwarfes, while attracting people where, uhm, you don't have to wash your soul after each time you had contact with them, or heard about them in the news? I wonder.

Disgusting (1)

bonaldo2000 (1218462) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722444)

How the hell can anyone here argue that what the cops did was anything but sick and twisted beyond measure.
I have NEVER understood how the death of another person can be FUNNY.
The same goes for the Darwin Awards stuff. We are talking about people who DIE. Their lives end, their loved ones have to bury them in the cold, cold earth and will never see them again.
Also, WHERE is the logic that says that because people do something stupid they DESERVE to die? And suddenly it's actually OK to even make fun of them.
Sure, driving under the influence of cocaine or whatever is very stupid, but who the hell knows what issues that girl had.
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