MA Residents: Don’t Even Think Of Taking Pics Where A Crime Took Place
A bill recently cleared the House and Senate in Boston earlier this month as Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker officially signed a measure prohibiting first responders and citizens from taking unauthorized photos of crime scenes that are pending an investigation until an arrest has been made. The infraction is a misdemeanor that could result in a $2,000 fine or one year in jail.
The mandate was implemented after police officers took photos of 20 year old Amanda Plasse who was murdered in neighboring Chicopee in August of 2011. Afterwards, they circulated these horrific photos as the actions were best described as "callous in nature". Amanda's mother, Michelle Penna expressed relief when this law was enacted:
"We're so happy, so relieved" Those words just sum it up in the best possible way.
The measure does not include taking pictures of officers snapping photos with body-worn cameras as this practice could be used for evidentiary purposes. The end result: Those officers were reprimanded for their actions and worked some shifts without pay but they were not fined and did not see jail time. U.S. District Court Judge Mark Mastroianni called this practice "inappropriate, unprofessional and caused the victim's family unnecessary pain and suffering", but they were NOT prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
The family of Amanda Plasse filed a lawsuit back in 2013 and the case was settled for $100,000, but at that time her killer was not apprehended. Afterwards, "Amanda's Law" was enacted, but until now was unsuccessful in it's passage. In a recent interview on 22 News (The NBC-TV affiliate in Springfield, Massachusetts), Bay State Representative Joseph Wagner credited the victim's family for their tireless efforts:
"From that tragedy will come a good piece of law that will help other families who have family members who are victims of serious crimes".
Amanda's killer was finally apprehended 6 years ago after evidence revealed Dennis Rosa-Roman was a previous criminal offender for breaking and entering. Authorities found his first name scrawled on a whiteboard in Amanda's apartment which resulted in his immediate arrest. A jury found him guilty of murder and he was sentenced to life in prison without any possibility of parole.
(Some of the information obtained in this article courtesy of WAMC Radio's pioneer Valley Bureau)
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