March 13, 2015 – Charles Adams captured nude video of a prostitute he hired without her consent, claiming he did it to shield himself against criminal allegations if the woman overdosed on drugs or accused him of battery. But a state appeals court didn’t buy it.
In State v. Adams, 2014AP1158-CR (March 11, 2015), a three-judge panel for the District II Appeals Court ruled that Adams violated the woman’s expectation of privacy and affirmed his conviction under Wis. Stat. section 942.09(2)(am)1, a felony that prohibits “capturing representations” that depict nudity without consent.
The appeals court rejected Adams’s claim that a prostitute engaging in commercial sex acts does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in nude photographs or videos.
“That Adams and the woman were engaged in the crime of prostitution does not mean that the woman relinquished her reasonable expectation of privacy,” wrote Judge Lisa Neubauer for the three-judge panel. “Permission to be viewed in the nude does not mean permission to be recorded in the nude … and permission to engage in sexual acts with someone does not mean permission to record that person in the nude.”
Police obtained a search warrant for Adams’s truck, and found numerous sex videos of Adams with prostitutes. Police were able to identify one woman in the video, which was captured surreptitiously with a laptop computer. She said she didn’t consent.
Adams said he had a legitimate reason for videotaping the encounter: to protect himself if something bad happened. But the panel noted that people have no legitimate reason to take nude photos or videos of someone who does not consent.
“Recording someone nude in violation of § 942.09(2)(am)1. in order to protect against possible adverse scenarios is not a legitimate reason or defense,” Judge Neubauer wrote.