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Upskirting Could be Made a Third-Degree Offense

Posted by Carmine R. Villani | Jun 11, 2015 | 0 Comments

Everywhere we go, nearly all of us are connected; just a smartphone away from almost any kind of information in the world. No matter where we are (at home, on our commute, during school) we can browse the internet, check Facebook, take high definition pictures and even slow motion video. But there seems to be something wrong with these pictures…all this easy access has enticed way too many creepers to invade other's privacy by snapping pictures of another person's undergarments.

Upskirting Could be Made a Third-Degree Offense

Invasion of Privacy Statutes

Believe it or not, secretly taking photos up a woman's skirt, otherwise known as upskirting, may not be illegal under some states' laws, but New Jersey lawmakers are now calling it a third-degree offense. If the subject is a minor, the offense is upgraded to the second degree. Cases like these can currently be prosecuted under invasion of privacy statutes in New Jersey.
The state Assembly Judiciary Committee voted 5-0 to approve the bill (A3864/3938/2992 to protect the right-to-privacy for underneath clothing, and criminalize photographing, filming or disseminating photos or films showing a person's intimate parts or sexual conduct without their consent. Those convicted of the offense would face up to 3-5 years in jail and a fine of up to $15,000.

What is Upskirting?

“Upskirting” is a term used to describe the secret recording of an image (usually by cell phone camera) of another person's private parts, often shot surreptitiously up the skirt of an unsuspecting woman in a public place. Some photographers/voyeurs take such images for their own private viewing, but others post the images on pornographic websites devoted to this kind of material.

The First Amendment & Freedom of the Press vs. Privacy Protections

The very first upskirting trial occurred in 1964 in Alabama. A news photographer took a picture of a woman whose skirt was literally blown up by a gust of wind, the newspaper then published the picture and the woman sued based on invasion of privacy. The paper claimed that the publication of the image was protected by the freedom-of-the-press provision of the First Amendment. The Alabama Supreme Court ruled that, although the woman was in public at the time of the photograph, she did not forfeit her privacy where circumstances beyond her control exposed her to intrusive photography.

New Jersey Teacher Accused of Taking “Upskirting” Photos of Students

Recently in the news, a New Jersey teacher at the Gloucester County Institute of Technology was accused of secretly taking explicit pictures of 14 year old female students. The 37 year-old teacher, Adam Mayr was charged with nine counts each on charges of invasion of privacy, endangering the welfare of a child and official misconduct. The New Jersey Statute (N.J.S.A. 18A:6-7.1)regarding criminal records relative to an employee in regular contact with pupils sets forth the grounds for disqualification from school employment (which Mayr was).

Accused? Call a NJ Criminal Defense Attorney Today!

If you have been accused of invading the privacy of another individual or upskirting in New Jersey, contact the experienced New Jersey criminal defense lawyers of Villani & DeLuca, P.C. for a free initial consultation. Call 732-709-7757 today!

About the Author

Carmine R. Villani

Founding partner, Carmine Villani, Esq. is a former municipal prosecutor with over three decades of experience in Criminal and DWI Defense.


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