Amanda's Law passes through Statehouse - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Amanda's Law passes through Statehouse

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The Massachusetts House passed a bill on Thursday that would make it a criminal offense for first responders to take pictures of crime scenes and share them.

This bill is also known as Amanda's Law, named after a Chicopee girl who was murdered three years ago.

Her mother, Michelle Mathieson, has been fighting to get the law passed. Now it is one step closer to a reality.

"It's a common sense law. I am very pleased to hear what happened today," Mathieson said.

The piece of legislation was spearheaded by state Rep. Joseph Wagner.

He said it prohibits first responders from taking photos of crime victims and distributing them unofficially.

"I think from a public safety stand point it makes sense," Wagner said.  

If the law goes through, those caught in violation can receive a punishment of up to a year's imprisonment or up to a $2,000 fine.

"There are other states that have similar legislation and we looked at those to fashion the piece that we did. Certainly we had an example here in Chicopee," Wagner said.  

That example he is talking about involves the 2011 murder of Amanda Plasse.

A separate internal investigation into the Chicopee Police Department would later reveal officers who were first on scene took photos of her body and shared them with others who were not involved in the case.

Mathieson, Amanda's mom, said the actions of those officers had damaging effects on her family.

"Oh my gosh it was shock. The people that were there to protect her, to uphold her dignity, disgraced her, myself and my family," Mathieson said.  

She said although what happened to her daughter will forever hang over her family, she hopes to shed new light on the situation by getting this law passed and preventing another family from going through what hers has endured.

"I will keep pushing to the end to let others know this is not OK," Mathieson said.

The next step for Amanda's Law is to go in front of the senate. If it is approved there, it will be brought to the governor's office. 

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