An imminent ruling from a Connecticut Appeals Court determined that a person has the right to record their partner during intimate moments without, whether they know it or not.
The case at issue involves a Wilton man who is accused of using his iPhone to film three women he was having sex with, at separate times. The sex was consensual, but the women had no idea they were being filmed. The defendant won at trial.
State prosecutors challenged the judge's interpretation of the voyeurism statute, but the higher court agreed the judge made the right call by dismissing the charges based on how the law is written:
“A person is guilty of voyeurism when, (1) with malice, such person knowingly photographs, films, videotapes or otherwise records the image of another person (a) without the knowledge and consent of such other person, (b) while such person is not in plain view, and (c) under circumstances where such other person has a reasonable expectation of privacy.”
Based on that language, the attorney for defendant John Panek, William Westcott, argued that if someone is in “plain view” of the person filming them, then no crime is committed. During the trail, the state said that “plain view” meant openly or in public.
The trial court agreed with Westcott and dismissed the charges against the defendant.
“People know that if they are engaged in intimate conduct, there's no law in our state that prohibits that from being filmed by someone else who was actually present. And that's the key,” Westcott said.
New Haven criminal defense attorney Greg Cirritelli isn't surprised by the appelate court's ruling of the 2011 voyerism case.
"The higher court was bound to do that based on the current reading of the statue," Cirritelli said. "Criminal statutes are much like a recipe card, and you have to have all the ingredients there otherwise, the state cannot sustain its burden."