Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



Mug shots occupy a seemingly indelible place in American popular culture. Embarrassing booking photos of celebrities like Lindsay Lohan,' Mel Gibson, and Robert Downey, Jr. are plastered on televisions and tabloids across the country. Local newspapers feature the most recent mug shots from the nearby jail, and mug shot websites are increasingly common. Perhaps our fascination with these images stems from the same impulse driving the popularity of reality television: seeing real people in bad situations makes us feel better about our own lives.