Photos Of Pubic Interest

Good call by Hillsborough Circuit Judge Wayne Timmerman in barring public access to graphic police photos of Debra Lafave. Let’s hear it for common sense and good taste.

Three points:

First, the letter of the law permits genital photos for identification purposes, whether the accused is drop-dead comely like Lafave or androgynously weird like Michael Jackson. Whether stirrup shots were necessary, is another matter. Lecherous is not a synonym for legal.

Second, the prosecution has made it clear that it has no plans to present the photos as evidence during Lafave’s trial on lewd-and-lascivious-battery charges.

Third, there is Florida public records law, there is the people’s right to know and there is the media’s penchant for pandering. Two local TV stations, WTSP-Channel 10 and WFTS-Channel 28, did not distinguish themselves by filing written, albeit routine, requests to see the photos before Judge Timmerman made his ruling. The matter is now moot, but the principle isn’t. What was it about pictures tantamount to gynecological close-ups that were so compelling?

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