N.J. Gets Tough on Postings of Victims' Photos

Aug. 13, 2012
A new law prohibits responders from posting pictures or video of crash victims without the family's consent.

New Jersey responders are now prohibited from posting pictures or videos of crash victims without obtaining the family's permission.

Gov. Chris Christie last week signed a bill, known as "Cathy's Law" that makes it crime for responders to post photos or videos of victims online, according to The Daily Record.

Those found guilty of violating the law can face up to 18 months in jail and fines up to $10,000.

The bill was penned for Cathy Bates, 40, who was killed in 2009 in a wreck in Barnegat.

While emergency personnel tried to save Bates, a member of the Pinewood Estates Volunteer Fire Company took photos of her inside the crushed car and posted them on Facebook, officials said.

“It’s good to have something good come out of it, but I would rather have my sister back,’’ Karen Flynn told reporters.

Last summer, more than 5,000 people signed a petition supporting the bill at the family’s restaurant, Lucille’s Country Kitchen, in the Warren Grove section of Stafford.

“Out of basic decency and respect, accident victims and their horrible ordeal simply should not be put on public display by first-responders who are entrusted with caring for these persons, unless otherwise permitted by accident victims or their families," state Sen. Chris Connors, R-Ocean, a co-sponsor of the bill, has said.

"Some victims and their families may permit footage to be used for first responder training or some other purpose, but it should be their decision if the public sees it, and theirs alone," he said.

"It's bad enough to have that happen. Then to have these photos posted online — everyone becomes a victim," Lucille Bates-Wickward, Cathy's mother, told the media.

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