What issues are raised by this fact pattern? How would you resolve them?
A peeping Tom is someone who likes to spy on other people as they are going on with their private business. This could be mostly when a couple is engaging in sexual activity and this can be either in the confines of their own homes or even in public places (Roberson, 2009). It becomes an illegal action when one peeps into private homes, this is because he is going against the rights and freedom that the constitution, which states that people have the right to privacy especially in their homes.
If a person is caught peeping on other people and there is enough evidence to convict him then he is accused of class 1 misdemeanour, this goes with a penalty that differs from state to state but on overall one can get eight to ten months imprisonment. The case becomes different if one is caught in possession of a photographic device that can be used to reproduce images of the people without their consent, it now becomes class A1 misdemeanour, and this means that the charge is more serious, the penalty moves to more than eighteen months in prison (Roberson, 2009). Before most of these proceedings can be started, the judge usually requests to have the suspect evaluated by a psychology whose findings on the person are to be revealed to the court during the trial. This aids in establishing the mental soundness of the victim, however this does not mean that they will be tried less strictly on the count of being mentally unstable, it only means that mental and psychological treatment will be part of their sentence to ensure that upon release they will not repeat what they were convicted for (Cowdrey, 1995).
In our case, there was a crime committed because the right to privacy of several individuals was violated; this is the main premise of the case. There is the question of the fact that the police officer did not actually catch the suspect in the act but only used information that he had received from an eye witness. The description from the eye witness matches the one of the man that the police officer saw running down the street. The fact that before having a conversation with the police officer the suspect started running is also suspicious. The police officer is said to have found the man in possession of a camera, this can be used as evidence in a court of law. This is especially because if there are any other photographs that the suspect had taken then he would have provided evidence for his own conviction.
If the person has spread or distributed copies of these pictures he had taken without the consent of the people, he will be accused of class A1 misdemeanour and class H felony for this act of distribution (Roberson, 2009). This means he will accused on two counts. These two have completely different sentences which if found guilty will be served back to back. The class H felony is supposed not to be more than three years and should be accompanied with a fine of not more than five hundred dollars.
The plaintiff has a civil case against the suspect especially if there were photographic images of him presented and were distributed. In this case he is entitled to actual damages, punitive damages and his attorney fee should be catered for by the suspect, failure to which the suspect is to be incarcerated for the recommended period of time (Cowdrey, 1995). Any person who is to be used as a witness in the case is to have seen the suspect and to also be of sound mind. The person must also be a reliable witness in the essence that they cannot be dismissed by the court. This is a scenario that happens when the witness is not sure of what they witnessed and when they have a criminal record that is associated with having lied to a court of law before.
The best ways to resolve these facts to ensure than upon arrest all the evidence from the suspect is recorded. There should be a complete search of the suspect’s home to ensure that all the evidence required is captured. There should be a line up put and the witnesses should be asked to pick out the suspect, this gives a more solid ground to the case as it identifies the suspect. The suspect should be properly questioned by the police and get information on how long the crime has been going on and also to be able to establish the extent to which the person was willing to go with the behaviour. This also helps in identifying whether the suspect requires psychological assistance either before or after the trial (Cowdrey, 1995). The suspect should be made aware of the extents of his crime and the legal actions that will be taken against him once convicted. This will give the suspect a chance to choose whether he would actually like to plead guilty and get arraigned for the sentencing or plead not guilty and go through the trial system which will cause an increase in the sentencing if found guilty. All these should be done in the presence of his lawyer.
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Roberson, C., Wallace, H., Stuckey, G. B., (2009). Procedure in the Justice System. Columbus, OH: Prentice Hall.
Cowdrey Michael L., (1995), Basic Laws for the Privacy, Pauline’s Publications , New York