ILNews

COA finds voyeurism statute not vague

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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.
 

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  2. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  3. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  4. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  5. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

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