Georgia Court Of Appeals ‘Upskirting’ Ruling Facing Backlash

The ruling has attracted backlash from what seems to be the majority, as many have voiced concerns over how the practice isn’t a clear invasion of privacy.
Did you know that “upskirting,” the slang terminology for photographing or videoing an individual’s private area, is now legal in Georgia so long as it’s done in a public place? That was the recent ruling in late July by the Georgia Court of Appeals who voted 6-3 that “upskirting” is in fact legal in Georgia, as long as the photos/videos are taken in a public setting. 
The ruling has attracted backlash from what seems to be the majority, as many have voiced concerns over how the practice isn’t a clear invasion of privacy. 
The Court of Appeals ruling in late July came after a man, Brandon Lee Gary, was convicted in Houston County in 2015 on charges related to him photographing a woman up her skirt while she was shopping at a grocery store where Gary worked.
Gary was caught on video bending down behind a woman and taking photos up her skirt several times.  He was convicted under Georgia’s invasion of privacy law, which states it is illegal “to observe, photograph or record the activities of another which occur in any private place and out of public view” and sentenced to five years probation. 
However, the Court of Appeals overturned his conviction, as apparently there is no law currently on Georgia’s books that bans public “upskirting,” and there won’t be a law until the State Legislation convenes again in early 2017. Since the act occurred in a public grocery store, the court ruled that no crime was committed. 
“It is regrettable that no law currently exists which criminalizes Gary’s reprehensible conduct,” Judge Elizabeth Branch wrote for a 6-3 majority. “… The remedy for this problem, however, lies with the General Assembly, not this court.”   
Other Court of Appeals Judges have also commented on the case, including Judge Amanda Mercier, who along with Judges Herbert Phipps and John Ellington, was against overturning the conviction.  
“The activity recorded in this case was the activity of the private areas of the victim’s body covered by clothing while she walked and shopped,” Mercier said. “As the victim’s genital area was not exposed to the public, it was out of public view and the victim had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the area under her skirt.”
Several State Legislators have announced they will sponsor legislation in hopes of enacting a law that bans “upskirting” in 2017. Massachusetts, Texas and New Jersey have all recently passed laws banning the practice. 
See the front page of the Sunday, August 7, 2016 edition

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