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Mass. Man Defends Snapping ‘Upskirt’ Photos As Constitutionally Protected

New Yorkers Shocked By Defense: 'Horrible! I Can't Believe That's The Case'
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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Massachusetts man arrested for taking “upskirt” cellphone photos of women on subways has argued in court that it’s perfectly legal and Constitutionally protected.

Michael Robertson, 31, was arrested in 2010 after trying to take photos up women’s dresses on the Boston subway.

He’s now defending what he says is his right to take upskirt pictures of women in public.

Robertson’s defense attorney, a woman, argued before the state Supreme Court on Monday that her client’s actions are protected under the First Amendment.

The attorney told the judge that if a clothed person reveals a body part — whether it was intentional or unintentional — he or she cannot expect privacy, and that “Peeping Tom” laws cover bathrooms and dressing rooms but not public areas.

“I think it’s ridiculous,” Constitutional law expert Leon Friedman told CBS 2’s Alice Gainer.

Friedman, a Hofstra Law School professor, argued Robertson is not protected under law according to the Fourth Amendment.

“Do you have a reasonable expectation of privacy in your underwear or in the thighs of your body when you cover it with a skirt? And the answer is you do,” Friedman said.

Some women in New York were appalled by the case.

“A lot of perverts out there,” one woman told Gainer.

“Horrible! I can’t believe that’s the case here,” another woman added.

“It’s very frustrating,” another woman told Gainer. “The more time that goes by, the more rights that they have, the more loopholes that they can find and it’s just less and less safe.”

“I’ve heard stories of people looking up skirts and such, so I definitely keep my legs together and try to cover up,” another woman said.

The Massachusetts Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office has argued that people have a right to privacy beneath their own clothes and you don’t waive that right just by getting on the subway.

Robertson is charged with two counts of photographing an unsuspecting nude or partially nude person. He faces more than two years in jail if found guilty.

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