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  1. #1
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    What's so funny about smiling mugshots?

    (smiling photos at link)
    http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/cr...=cmg_cntnt_rss

    For most people, it's the worst day of their lives. Most arrestees are pretty sullen. They were caught driving drunk or they just beat someone up. Some are hung over, dirty and bruised.

    Then there are a handful of arrestees at jails across the country who every day flash toothy grins for their mug shots - one last hurrah before lockup.

    Stephen Holmes, associate professor of criminal justice at the University of Central Florida, thinks grinning inmates are thumbing their noses at the criminal-justice system. "You see this with people who have been in and out of jail a lot. They think it's a joke," Holmes said. "It's an affront to the system because this is the picture that is going to follow them and they know people will see them smiling."

    While jail officials don't find the humor in a smiling inmate's booking photo, the happy mug shots are an entertaining diversion for the public and a corrections phenomenon. Viewing booking photos has become an increasingly popular pastime in recent years with the growth of the Internet and explosion in digital photography.

    In states like Florida, where mug shots are public records, law-enforcement agencies often make the images easy to find online.
    There's an appetite for the photos, especially ones of jubilant inmates.
    "It's basically voyeurism and taking pleasure from someone else's misfortunes."

    The Cheshire Cat smile on the mug shot of former Republican House Majority leader Tom DeLay went viral after his 2005 arrest.
    Some Central Florida media poked fun at state Sen. Gary Siplin's flashy grin in a booking photo after his arrest in 2006.

    Recently, Larry Jason Wonn, 22, of Casselberry, gave a big smile at Orange County when he was booked on charges of possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and driving under the influence. So did Mariluz Rosa, 37, of Orlando, who mugged it up when she was booked on charges of aggravated assault and battery.
    Both their cases are still open, according to Orange County Court records.
    But why are they grinning?

    "Alcohol and drugs are usually to blame. Some (arrestees) come in here intoxicated on alcohol or under the influence of drugs and don't really know what's happening."

  2. #2
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    Jan 2007
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    From the HaLeigh Cummings missing case: one of her father's drug bust mugshots has him wearing a grin. Mind you, his daughter is missing and his arrest came from getting caught trafficking drugs in a sting... yet, he found the will to... grin. Crazy...

  3. #3
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    I imagine all the points the reporter makes about "thumbing a nose" at law enforcement, etc., come into play. But I also think there are a few more benign impulses behind some of the smiles. We are conditioned to smile when someone takes our photo. That's just an automatic reaction. Also, smiling can mean embarrassment, sheepishness, or confusion, among other emotions that would be appropriate in the circumstances. I'd be surprised if a lot of people didn't smile, or at least give something that looked like a smile.

  4. #4
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    [quote=tapu;5218761]I imagine all the points the reporter makes about "thumbing a nose" at law enforcement, etc., come into play. But I also think there are a few more benign impulses behind some of the smiles. We are conditioned to smile when someone takes our photo. That's just an automatic reaction. Also, smiling can mean embarrassment, sheepishness, or confusion, among other emotions that would be appropriate in the circumstances. I'd be surprised if a lot of people didn't smile, or at least give something that looked like a smile.[/quote

    That was my thought too, we are conditioned to smile for the camera.

    A while back, I started a thread about criminals/mugshots having "untraditional" looks & hoped for a discussion about how physical qualities may affect personality & choices.... but that topic fizzled. Oh well, I thought it was interesting & would like to see some data.

  5. #5
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    I have a feeling alcohol and other drugs have a lot to do with it in many cases.

  6. #6
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    [quote


    A while back, I started a thread about criminals/mugshots having "untraditional" looks & hoped for a discussion about how physical qualities may affect personality & choices.... but that topic fizzled. Oh well, I thought it was interesting & would like to see some data.[/QUOTE]

    eeeeyeah... that's a pretty dangerous road to go down. kind of "third reich," you know? (I would figure you don't mean it that way (!), but that's the first association I have with the idea.)


  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by montana_16 View Post
    I have a feeling alcohol and other drugs have a lot to do with it in many cases.
    I went on a police ride-along one night, and thought to myself, "if it weren't for drugs and alcohol, we wouldn't have a damn thing to do tonight." Every call, besides the obvious of dui, parties, etc, had drugs and alcohol (mostly the latter) underlying it. Domestic disturbance, break-in, assault, whatever. The perps were always drunk on their asses or hopped up on something.



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