In 2010, Massachusetts authorities received numerous complaints from the transit police about 32-year-old Michael Robertson, who was allegedly taking upskirt photographs and video footage of women on the trolley.
For those of you unfamiliar with upskirt photos—and despite the name being pretty self-explanatory—they involve cell phones placed under the skirts of unsuspecting victims (generally females) to snap pictures of their “unmentionables.” Some victims may be wearing underwear while some may be “going commando,” but you can bet all of them end up posted on the Internet sooner or later. There are hundreds—if not thousands—of sites devoted solely to this sketchy branch of voyeurism… or so I’ve heard.
Based on these complaints, police set up a decoy operation to bust Robertson and, true to form, he walked right into their trap. Several officers observed him placing a cell phone video camera up a woman’s skirt. And we’re not talking about just any woman, either—it was a female police officer!
Robertson was of course arrested and charged with two counts of “attempting to secretly photograph a person in a state of partial nudity.” Facing misdemeanor charges that could send him to prison for nearly three years, he immediately filed a motion with a lower court to have the case dismissed. Robertson’s lawyers contended that none of his so-called “victims” were nude or even partially nude at the time their upskirt photos were taken. Furthermore, the victims were also in a public place where none of them had a “reasonable expectation of privacy.”
Unfortunately for Robertson, his motion was quickly denied—at least until this past week, thanks to some recent developments.
On Wednesday, Massachusetts’ highest court reversed the lower court’s decision not to dismiss Robertson’s case because the state law “does not apply to photographing (or videotaping or electronically surveilling) persons who are fully clothed and, in particular, does not reach the type of upskirting that the defendant is charged with attempting to accomplish on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA).”
“In sum, we interpret the phrase, ‘a person who is … partially nude’ in the same way that the defendant does, namely, to mean a person who is partially clothed but who has one or more of the private parts of body exposed in plain view at the time that the putative defendant secretly photographs her,” the high court also stated in their ruling.
You read that correctly: it is now legal in Massachusetts to take upskirt photographs of anyone you like. So to all you ladies in that great state, it might be time to consider a little fashion change… to pants!
Or if you must wear a skirt, at least some panties. You just never know who might be watching.
UPDATE (March 7, 2014): A mere day after posting this article, Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts signed a bill that criminalizes “upskirting” as a misdemeanor punishable by 2 1/2 years in jail and a $5000 fine. Sorry, perverts. Time to find a new hobby, I guess.
Posted on March 6, 2014, in Perspectives and tagged commentary, Crime and Justice, current-events, humor, Internet pornography, law, Massachusetts, news, perspectives, upskirt photos. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.