Huffpost Politics

Massachusetts Amanda's Law Seeks To Criminalize Sharing Photos Of Crime Scenes

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Amanda Plasse
Amanda Plasse

A new law proposed in Massachusetts would make it a criminal offense for first responders to take photos of crime scenes and share them.

The bill, which passed the state legislature on July 24, is nicknamed Amanda's Law, after a Chicopee woman who was murdered in 2011.

Amanda Plasse, 20, was stabbed to death in her kitchen. An internal affairs investigation revealed that police in Chicopee who were first on the scene took photos of the victim on their personal cell phones, and then texted them to officers who were not on the case.

WGGB reports that the photos were also distributed to individuals outside the police department.

Michelle Mathieson, Amanda's mother, is still struggling to cope with the fact that authorities shared photos of her daughter's body.

"It’s disgusting, it’s outright disgusting,” Mathieson said, according to WGGB. “It’s a disgrace to her, to me as her mother, to her siblings, her family. You pray to god everyday that that picture does not make the Internet.”

The bill was spearheaded by Rep. Joseph Wagner.

"I think from a public safety stand point it makes sense," Wagner told WSHM. "There are other states that have similar legislation and we looked at those to fashion the piece that we did."

If the bill is signed by the governor, responders who violate the law could face a $2,000 fine and up to a year in prison.

Mathieson said she hoped the law will prevent other families from having to endure the same disgrace.

"The people that were there to protect her, to uphold her dignity, disgraced her... It's a common sense law," she told WHSM.

The officers who shared the photos received a written warning about their conduct, but do not appear to have been otherwise disciplined, according to a 2013 WGGB report.

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