ILNews

COA finds voyeurism statute not vague

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The state’s voyeurism statute is not unconstitutionally vague, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded today by rejecting a man’s claims that the statute would prevent taping a surprise birthday party.

Indiana Code Section 35-45-4-5 says a person who peeps in an occupied dwelling of another person or who peeps into an area where the occupant of the area reasonably can be expected to disrobe, including restrooms, without their consent commits voyeurism. It becomes a Class D felony if the act is videotaped and the peeper has a prior unrelated conviction. Peep is defined by “any looking of a clandestine, surreptitious, prying, or secretive nature.”

Sean Chiszar challenged his convictions of Class D felony voyeurism by arguing the language of I. C. Section 35-45-4-5 would make it a criminal offense for a husband to peep into the living room and see his wife undressing. He also argued you couldn’t videotape a surprise birthday party or abusive nannies under the state’s interpretation of the statute that a person could never film another in their home unless that person knew of the filming and consented.

Police were called to Chiszar’s home after he and his girlfriend got into a fight after she woke up to discover Chiszar trying to have sex with her while videotaping it. He had videotaped his ex-wife without her consent.

The appellate court rejected his claims in Sean H. Chiszar v. State of Indiana, No. 91A04-1004-CR-290. It’s not commonplace for people to undress in their living rooms or kitchens, wrote Judge Edward Najam. Also, the crux of the statute is consent, and most of the time, spouses would have no problem seeing the other disrobe. That’s not to say peeping can’t occur in a marriage or relationship, he added.

The issue is the “looking” and as defined by the statute, there’s no reasonable purpose for that kind of looking unless it is without the other’s person’s knowledge and consent, Judge Najam wrote.

Videotaping a surprise birthday party isn’t prohibited by the statute because unless the person filming is hiding the camera and surreptitiously filming the event, there is no peeping.

The judges also found the trial court didn’t abuse its discretion in admitting evidence obtained during a warrantless search, that a subsequent search warrant was supported by sufficient evidence, and that the state presented sufficient evidence to support his convictions of voyeurism and battery. Chiszar’s convictions of Class D felony possession of child pornography, and Class A misdemeanors possession of paraphernalia and marijuana were also affirmed.
 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. The voices of the prophets are more on blogs than subway walls these days, Dawn. Here is the voice of one calling out in the wilderness ... against a corrupted judiciary ... that remains corrupt a decade and a half later ... due to, so sadly, the acquiescence of good judges unwilling to shake the forest ... for fear that is not faith .. http://www.ogdenonpolitics.com/2013/09/prof-alan-dershowitz-on-indiana.html

  2. So I purchased a vehicle cash from the lot on West Washington in Feb 2017. Since then I found it the vehicle had been declared a total loss and had sat in a salvage yard due to fire. My title does not show any of that. I also have had to put thousands of dollars into repairs because it was not a solid vehicle like they stated. I need to find out how to contact the lawyers on this lawsuit.

  3. It really doesn't matter what the law IS, if law enforcement refuses to take reports (or take them seriously), if courts refuse to allow unrepresented parties to speak (especially in Small Claims, which is supposedly "informal"). It doesn't matter what the law IS, if constituents are unable to make effective contact or receive any meaningful response from their representatives. Two of our pets were unnecessarily killed; court records reflect that I "abandoned" them. Not so; when I was denied one of them (and my possessions, which by court order I was supposed to be able to remove), I went directly to the court. And earlier, when I tried to have the DV PO extended (it expired while the subject was on probation for violating it), the court denied any extension. The result? Same problems, less than eight hours after expiration. Ironic that the county sheriff was charged (and later pleaded to) with intimidation, but none of his officers seemed interested or capable of taking such a report from a private citizen. When I learned from one officer what I needed to do, I forwarded audio and transcript of one occurrence and my call to law enforcement (before the statute of limitations expired) to the prosecutor's office. I didn't even receive an acknowledgement. Earlier, I'd gone in to the prosecutor's office and been told that the officer's (written) report didn't match what I said occurred. Since I had the audio, I can only say that I have very little faith in Indiana government or law enforcement.

  4. One can only wonder whether Mr. Kimmel was paid for his work by Mr. Burgh ... or whether that bill fell to the citizens of Indiana, many of whom cannot afford attorneys for important matters. It really doesn't take a judge(s) to know that "pavement" can be considered a deadly weapon. It only takes a brain and some education or thought. I'm glad to see the conviction was upheld although sorry to see that the asphalt could even be considered "an issue".

  5. In response to bryanjbrown: thank you for your comment. I am familiar with Paul Ogden (and applaud his assistance to Shirley Justice) and have read of Gary Welsh's (strange) death (and have visited his blog on many occasions). I am not familiar with you (yet). I lived in Kosciusko county, where the sheriff was just removed after pleading in what seems a very "sweetheart" deal. Unfortunately, something NEEDS to change since the attorneys won't (en masse) stand up for ethics (rather making a show to please the "rules" and apparently the judges). I read that many attorneys are underemployed. Seems wisdom would be to cull the herd and get rid of the rotting apples in practice and on the bench, for everyone's sake as well as justice. I'd like to file an attorney complaint, but I have little faith in anything (other than the most flagrant and obvious) resulting in action. My own belief is that if this was medicine, there'd be maimed and injured all over and the carnage caused by "the profession" would be difficult to hide. One can dream ... meanwhile, back to figuring out to file a pro se "motion to dismiss" as well as another court required paper that Indiana is so fond of providing NO resources for (unlike many other states, who don't automatically assume that citizens involved in the court process are scumbags) so that maybe I can get the family law attorney - whose work left me with no settlement, no possessions and resulted in the death of two pets (etc ad nauseum) - to stop abusing the proceedings supplemental and small claims rules and using it as a vehicle for harassment and apparently, amusement.

ADVERTISEMENT