James Barron has been accused of taking up-skirt photos of a female shopper inside a Fulton County Walmart earlier this week.
Barron was allegedly identified from surveillance videos and found twenty-four hours later because he was recently arrested for the same offense in Gilmer County.
According to the AJC, Barron has been charged with surreptitious recording of intimate parts. This is another example of incorrect legal terminology. The charge actually falls under O.C.G.A. §16-11-62, which as a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, I will elaborate on today.
Eavesdropping, Surveillance, or Intercepting Communication in Georgia
The Georgia Code defines Eavesdropping, Surveillance, or Intercepting Communication that Invades the Privacy of Another in Georgia through different types of violations. These violations include the following under the statute:
- By intentionally overhearing, transmitting, recording or attempting to overhear, transmit, or record the private conversation of another that originates in any public place;
- By using a device to observe, photograph, or record the activities of another that occur in a private place out of public view without the consent of the persons being observed;
- By going on or about the premises of another or any private place for the purpose of invading the privacy of others by eavesdropping on their conversations or secretly observing their activities;
- By intentionally and secretly trying to intercept by the use of any device, instrument, or apparatus the contents of a message sent by telephone, telegraph, letter, or by any other means of private communication;
- By divulging to any unauthorized person or authority the content or substance of a private message;
- By selling, giving, or distributing, without legal authority, any photograph, videotape, or recording of the activities of another which occur in any private place and out of public view without the consent of all persons observed. O.C.G.A. §16-11-62.
If the reported facts are true, and Barron intentionally took pictures up a woman's skirt without her consent, then he is looking at being charged with violating O.C.G.A. §16-11-62.
In order for Barron to be convicted, the state of Georgia has the burden of proving that he is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This includes showing that he had the intent to invade the alleged victim's privacy.
A conviction for Eavesdropping, Surveillance, or Intercepting Communication in Georgia is considered a felony conviction. The penalty can include a prison sentence of one to five years, a fine up to $10,000.00, or both.
As always, I'd like to point out that no one should be considered guilty just because they have been accused of a crime. The basis of our criminal justice system is that everyone is to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. That being said there are Georgia Criminal Defenses that apply to an accusation of eavesdropping, surveillance, or intercepting communication that invades the privacy of another. The two strongest defenses are:
- If the invasion of privacy was unintentional.
- If the invasion of privacy was consensual.