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Down by law for upskirting and downblousing

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Bill of Rights. (From the public domain.)

On the one hand, I think peeping camera laws have gone too far to to the point of chilling legitimate photography and other legitimate activities that have no lascivious intent and no intention of capturing intimate images. On the other hand, plenty of people are indeed walking around who try to surreptitiously photograph and videotape up women’s skirts and down their blouses (among other parts of their anatomy), to watch those videotapes, or both. Just because I defend such cases does not mean I do not get the creeps over such peeping photography.

Of course, interest in peeping photography probably does not spring up overnight, and I surmise that the root of such behavior at the obsessive levels sometimes or often is in the perpetrator’s difficulty cultivating healthy, mutually consensual sexual relationships, and in relating to others in general. When I defend such cases, it can be beneficial to bring a psychological professional on board to assist in seeking the most favorable sentence in the event of a conviction, to include finding out why the defendant engages in such behavior, and how the behavior can be modified.

Will anti-peeping photography laws curb such behavior? Whether or not that will happen, Virginia’s intermediate appellate court today held that Virginia’s anti-peeping photography law applies to upskirt videos and photographs taken in such places as retail stores. Wilson v. Virginia, ___ Va. App. ___, ___ S.E. 2d ___ (March 24, 2009). The penalty for violating this law is a misdemeanor jailable up to one year, but, if the photographed person is under eighteen, then the penalty is a Class 6 felony jailable up to five years. Jon Katz