The Sun : All-male panel of judges rule it’s OK to film women in public without their consent… as long as they have clothes on

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THREE male judges have ruled it's not a criminal offence to film clothed women in public.

The trio threw out a conviction of unlawful photography, potentially carrying a sentence of four years, ruling there is no expectation of privacy in a public place in the digital age.

Kingsport Police Department
David Eric Lambert's unlawful photography conviction was overturned[/caption]

tncourts.gov
D. Kelly Thomas Jr, pictured, said there's no expectation of privacy in a public place in the digital age[/caption]

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Judges D. Kelly Thomas Jr., James Curwood Witt Jr. and Thomas T. Woodall overturned David Eric Lambert's conviction after he was caught videoing women's buttocks in various stores in Kingsport, Tennessee in 2016.

Three women said they caught Lambert holding his phone towards their behinds.

One woman said he verbally assaulted her and touched her inappropriately for which he has been charged with sexual battery.

Lambert argued that while video-taping the women's "private areas" was immoral, it was not criminal as the videos were made in a public place.

The 2nd Judicial District Public Defender's office challenged the convictions, with the three judges agreeing Lambert's public place argument was valid.

Judge D. Kelly Thomas Jr wrote in his opinion: "Exposure to the capture of our images by cameras has become, perhaps unfortunately, a reality of daily life in our digital age.

tncourts.gov
Judge James Curwood Witt Jr, pictured[/caption]

tncourts.gov
Thomas T. Woodall, pictured[/caption]

"When nearly every person goes about her day with a handheld device capable of taking hundreds of photographs and videos and every public place is equipped with a wide variety of surveillance equipment, it is simply not reasonable to expect that our fully-clothed images will remain totally private."

Lambert admitted to a Kingston Police Chief in 2016 he took the videos for his own sexual gratification.

The officer described how he received "numerous" calls from women complaining of a man with a "creepy grin" who followed them around Walmart, Hobby Lobby and other stores.

Lambert filmed approximately 20 videos of women at six stores, but was only charged in the three cases of footage cops could get their hands on.

In a statement, Lambert admitted his "problem," adding he was willing to get help.

He said: "'I did not mean to scare anyone and only filmed the females for my own purposes. #

"I just like using the video function on my phone. It's kind of like an obsession with the technological aspect of a phone.

"I have never posted any of the images I have taken on the internet or share with other people.
"I actually did not think I was doing anything wrong because everything was done in a public place however I realize this was not a good decision on my part.

"If it was not illegal, it was definitely crossing moral boundaries."

Lambert will now face a new trial following the ruling, he will face a Sullivan County Criminal Court judge for resentencing.

He also awaits trial for the sexual battery charge.



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