Foxy Felons Redux

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A while back I posted this about the “Foxy Felons” dispute. This gist is that a website operated by Court TV called “The Smoking Gun” posted pictures of attractive women culled from the Florida Department of Corrections website, which gave the women’s names, birthdates and exact street addresses, as a feature they called “Foxy Felons.” This lead, as anyone could readily predict, to the women getting contacted by strangers. One of them, Casey Ann Hicks, hired an attorney, who sent a letter to Court TV, which Court TV described as follows:

In a February 13 letter, attorney Terry Bork contends that our publication of Hicks’s mug shot and details of her rap sheet somehow invades the young felon’s privacy and holds her up to ridicule. The posting of his client’s mug shot, Bork claims, has led Hicks to become fearful for her safety, since she has become a topic of discussion of unnamed “numerous blogs.” Making matters worse, he adds, our posting of Hicks’s photo “has invited members of the public” to use her mug shot for masturbatory purposes. The self-gratification claim appears to be based on unspecified blog entries. Through our counsel, we’ve politely declined Bork’s request.

Blog entries and comments elsewhere about the “Foxy Felons” site tend to support Hicks’ claims, see e.g. this, and this. Of course, Court TV is obviously quite confident that the First Amendment guarantees its right to subject these women to ridicule and sexual harassment. Now there is an Iowa-based version. While the “Miss Hoosegow 2006” site doesn’t provide the names, birthdates and addresses of the women, anyone with basic Google facility can find the government site that the pictures came from, which does provide that information. And it gets high traffic publicity from sites like Boing Boing.

–Ann Bartow

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