On 2 September, 2013, a California resident, Jesse T., was arrested and booked into the Sonoma County Jail.
As is standard procedure, police took his mugshot and his fingerprints. He was released 12 days later without being charged for a crime.
Jesse T. estimates that he went on to submit 100 applications for jobs in the electrical field, construction, manufacturing, and labor. He got nary a nibble: zero response, no return calls, no acknowledging emails, no invitations to come in for an interview
A year after his arrest, a friend told him she’d searched for him online and found his mugshot. Was he in prison? Jesse T. was astonished and embarrassed. What was she talking about?
Google yourself, she said.
What he found: the arrest information had been published to a site called Mugshots.com. The site listed his full name, address, gender, and the charge for which Jesse T. had been arrested. It lacked any mention of the fact that he hadn’t been charged or convicted. Also on the site, he found a link to unpublisharrest.com. That led him to a phone number. When he called the 800 number, a man told him he’d need to fork over $399 to have his mugshot taken down.