Court says 'upskirting' is legal in Georgia

Published: Jul. 21, 2016 at 12:09 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Thurs. July, 21, 2016

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Alicia Gasperveric makes her two daughters wear shorts under their dresses.

"They like to run out and do flips and stuff. I want to make sure that no matter what they do, you know, they keep covered up," said Gasperveric.

A precaution for runs, flips and now peeping toms. The Georgia Court of Appeals ruling upholds upskirting or taking video under a person's skirt is legal.

"What? No that's not OK," said Gasperveric. "I don't even know how this is an issue. it shouldn't be an issue. No and that's it," said Gasperveric,

The ruling sending shock-waves.

"It's appalling that they would say this was OK to do," said mother of four Regina Sims.

"I don't see how someone get's the nerve to shoot under a women's dress anyway," said Heather Howard.

Brandon Lee Gary had the nerve to do it in a Houston County Publix.

The Georgia Court of Appeals ruled because it was in a public place what Gary did was legal.

Senator Jones says he understands what the court was trying to say.

"That you don't have an expectation of privacy in a public place," Sen. Harold Jones (D)

But he thinks they read the law too literally in this case.

"The fact of the matter is even if you are in a public place you certainly have an expectation of privacy underneath your clothes," said Sen. Jones.

Rep. Jodi Lott disagrees with the ruling too. But she actually thinks the current language makes upskirting illegal in Georgia.

"It did capture what it needed to capture to make this punishable," said Lott. "Now we have opened the door," said Rep. Lott.

A door that can't be shut until the next legislative session, 6 months away.

"Certainly this is absolutely ridiculous and horrendous that a person is going to get away with this for now," said Sen. Jones.

Both Sen. Jones and Rep. Lott say this is something they can tackle easily in the next legislative session.

Rep. Barry Flemming also chimed in saying there is "no doubt so called 'upskirting' should be against the law in Georgia."

Rep. Flemming says he will support changing the code during the next legislative session.

In the meantime, Sen. Jones says he hopes prosecutors will find other ways to hold digital peeping toms accountable.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

ATLANTA, Ga. (WGCL/WRDW) -- Women across Georgia may want to reconsider wearing a dress or skirt. Georgia's Court of Appeals just ruled taking a photo up a skirt in public does not count as an invasion of privacy.

Women across Georgia are speaking out about the new ruling.

"I think that's kind of ridiculous, honestly, I think that's terrifying," says one woman.

"It makes us uncomfortable to walk around a store and we have to worry about who's watching us," says another. Several folks are against the new ruling that makes taking photos up a woman's skirt, also known as "upskirting," legal in almost all public places.

"I think that's kind of crazy," says another Georgia woman. "If someone came up my skirt and tried to take a picture, I assume they would want to arrest that person."

A reporter with WGCL CBS 46 in Atlanta says after the 6-3 ruling, judges said the current wording of state law does not include upskirting.

So while women are protected against photos behind closed door spaces like bathroom stalls and dressing rooms, it's still legal in the supermarket or on the sidewalk.

Georgia State Law Professor Tanya Washington says the biggest problem is not being able to confront the issue until next year.

"You've given people license to continue this kind of behavior," Washington says, "until the next legislative session which is not until next year."

Judges say its up to state lawmakers to fix the wording. State Senator Vincent Fort says until they do, it puts women in more danger.

"So we're going to have six months or so," Senator Fort says, "where these creeps can run around doing this stuff."

Georgia lawmakers say they won't waste any time closing that loophole in the law.

A statement from State Senator Harold Jones reads in part, "The Court of Appeals in my opinion erred. I understand their rationale but the key to me is although this was a public place - the young lady has an expectation of privacy in the area he filmed."

There have been upskirting cases in our area and across the state, but it's not known how those cases will be affected by the ruling.