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Texas’ Improper Photography Law Ruled Unconstitutional by Appeals Court


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There’s a legal battle currently raging in the state of Texas that concerns photography. More specifically, it concerns improper photography — defined as photographing another person without their consent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of another person — which was illegal until the state’s Fourth Court of Appeals declared the statute prohibiting it unconstitutional.

The constitutionality of the Texas Improper Photography Statute was first brought to the courts in July of 2011, when 50-year-old Ronald Thompson was arrested at Sea World of Texas for taking inappropriate photos of children ages 3 to 11 in their swimsuits.

He was charged with 26 felony counts of violating the Improper Photography Statute, which is usually applied in cases where covert cameras are involved. Thompson hasn’t been tried yet, however, because the statute has been making the appeals rounds — the Fourth Court of Appeals is the first to rule the law unconstitutional.


“I was very surprised,” First Assistant District Criminal Attorney Clifford Herberg Jr. told San Antonio’s KSAT. “This has proven to be an important statute in what I could call the digital age, this is the kind of statue that prevents someone from photographing under a woman’s skirt.”

The fight isn’t over yet, however. Although Thompson’s attorney, Don Flanary, was happy with the decision, District Attorney Susan Reed intends to take the case to the Court of Criminal Appeals — the highest court of criminal review in Texas.

(via Topix)