A man accused of using a camera to take pictures under the skirt of an unsuspecting 16-year-old girl at a Tulsa store did not commit a crime, a state appeals court has ruled.So, perverts in Oklahoma would have the right to take up-skirts in public places like malls and stores and these women and girls would have no recourse?
The state Court of Criminal Appeals voted 4-1 in favor of Riccardo Gino Ferrante, who was arrested in 2006 for situating a camera underneath the girl's skirt at a Target store and taking photographs.
Ferrante, now 34, was charged under a "Peeping Tom" statute that requires the victim to be "in a place where there is a right to a reasonable expectation of privacy." Testimony indicated he followed the girl, knelt down behind her and placed the camera under her skirt.
In January 2007, Tulsa County District Judge Tom Gillert ordered Ferrante's felony charge dismissed. That was based upon a determination that "the person photographed was not in a place where she had a reasonable expectation of privacy," according to the appellate ruling issued last week.
The District Attorney's Office had appealed Gillert's ruling to the Court of Criminal Appeals.
The story makes it appear as though the problem is the construction of the statute, in that it hasn't caught up with the technology, but I wonder if they had cameras when the original statute was enacted in 1959 or when it was amended in 2001.
The statute at question is 21 OC 1171:
A. Every person who hides, waits or otherwise loiters in the vicinity of any private dwelling house, apartment building, any other place of residence, or in the vicinity of any locker room, dressing room, restroom or any other place where a person has a right to a reasonable expectation of privacy, with the unlawful and willful intent to watch, gaze, or look upon any person in a clandestine manner, shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a misdemeanor. The violator shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for a term of not more than one (1) year, or by a fine not to exceed Five thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), or by both such fine and imprisonment.The Oklahoma Legislature has some work ahead of it to fix the defects in the statute.
B. Every person who uses photographic, electronic or video equipment in a clandestine manner for any illegal, illegitimate, prurient, lewd or lascivious purpose with the unlawful and willful intent to view, watch, gaze or look upon any person without the knowledge and consent of such person when the person viewed is in a place where there is a right to a reasonable expectation of privacy, or who publishes or distributes any image obtained from such act, shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a felony. The violator shall be punished by imprisonment in the State Penitentiary for a term of not more than five (5) years, or by a fine not exceeding Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), or by both such fine and imprisonment.
Laws 1959, p. 112, § 1; Amended by Laws 2001, SB 45, c. 386, § 2, emerg. eff. July 1, 2001
The story originally appeared here. And it was the pervert's lawyer who claimed that the statute hadn't caught up with the technology:
Ferrante's attorney, Kevin Adams, said Tuesday that Gillert "made the right decision" and that "it is really up to the Legislature to make this against the law if they want to do so.The pervert's lawyer thinks the law hasn't caught up with the technology (which as noted, had been revised as recently as 2001). I say the pervert hasn't caught up with a size 10 boot for preying on 16-year olds. What gives him the right to do so? His lawyers got him off on a technicality because the Court and the prosecutors didn't apply common sense here.
"I think it is a scenario where the law has not caught up with technology," Adams said.