LOS ANGELES – The Miami Beach Police Department has been busy this week releasing photographs and video of Justin Bieber, 19, behind bars following his DUI arrest in January. The department’s nine hours of surveillance footage includes scenes of Bieber taking a drug test and the pop star showing off his various tattoos.
And while the release of such personal footage may have surprised some Beliebers it is perfectly legal in Florida.
“A person’s criminal records are public records. Under the public records act, the public has a right to access Bieber’s criminal records which includes the videos. Florida has the most liberal laws regarding disclosure of criminal records,” Leo Terrell, of CleartheCourt.com,told FOX411. “In effect, criminals have no privacy when they are arrested. Unless a minor or rape victim is involved, the Court has no authority to deny the public-- including press and media-- access to the videos.”
Terrell explained the same would be done for any other individual arrested, but let’s face, people care much more about the Bieber antics than they do the average Joe.
“Florida has what they call a ‘Sunshine Policy’ when it comes to releasing court documents and video that most states would never release,” explained California-based defense attorney David E. Wohl. “If the media requests it, the jail will generally release it no matter how embarrassing to the person arrested.”
Legal representatives for the pop prince did attempt to squash the video’s release in court this week, but their requests were shut down by Miami Dade County Judge William Altfield.
And according to legal crisis management expert Wendy Feldman, the judge’s move isn’t shocking.
“It really is more of a ‘show you who is boss’ tactic that authorities often will use in various ways on people who show no respect,” she added.
A status hearing regarding Bieber’s DUI case – in addition to charges of resisting arrest without violence and driving with an expired license – has been set for March 11. A rep for the star did not respond to a comment request.
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