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New Jersey Lawmaker Launches Plan To Ban ‘Upskirt’ Photos

Upskirt Photo Ruling

Lawmakers were working fast in Massachusetts after a ruling that upskirt photos were legal. (Credit: CBS 2)

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TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A plan has been launched to make what is called “upskirting” illegal in New Jersey.

State Sen. Thomas H. Kean Jr. (R-Westfield) said he plans to introduce a bill to ban anyone from taking secret photos from another person’s private areas.

Kean said he is still working on it, but one option is to consider upskirting an invasion of privacy.

Earlier Friday, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick signed a bill to prohibit such photos. He signed the measure two days after the state’s highest court ruled that a man who took cellphone photos up the skirts of female subway passengers in Boston wasn’t violating state law as written.

The Massachusetts State Supreme Judicial Court on Wednesday dismissed charges against Michael Robertson of Andover, Mass., who was arrested in August 2010 by local Transit Police, CBS Boston reported.

Officers had set up a sting on the Boston Green Line trolley system after getting reports that Robertson was using his cellphone to take photos and video up female rider’s skirts and dresses, CBS Boston reported.

But Robertson defended what he said as a First Amendment right to take upskirt pictures of women in public.

His attorney, a woman, told the judge this past November 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.

The Supreme Judicial Court on Wednesday ruled that thanks to a legal loophole in the Massachusetts Peeping Tom law, Robertson indeed did not break the law.

The Massachusetts decision said a woman on a trolley “wearing a skirt, dress, or the like covering these parts of her body is not a person who is ‘partially nude,’ no matter what is or is not underneath the skirt by way of underwear or other clothing,” CBS Boston reported.

The Massachusetts House and Senate responded by quickly passing legislation to crack down on people who take photographs of the “sexual or other intimate parts” of women or children in public.

The new law, which takes effect immediately in Massachusetts, would punish “upskirting” with a maximum penalty of two-and-a-half years in jail and a $5,000 fine.

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