Supreme Court Takes up Shoe-Cam Case
Fort Wayne man was charged with videotaping up girls' skirts at Castleton
David Delagrange (file photo courtesy IMPD)
Indiana's Supreme Court will decide whether a Fort Wayne man who hid cameras on his shoetops violated child porn laws.
David Delagrange is accused of using a shoecam to shoot videos at Castleton Square Mall in Indianapolis under the skirts of shoppers -- some of them underage. A divided Court of Appeals threw out his convictions for attempted child exploitation, declaring the law is poorly drafted and requires sexual conduct by the child.
Deputy Attorney General J.T. Whitehead argues it's clear legislators intended to ban Delagrange's conduct. Chief Justice Brent Dickson suggests that emphasis amounts to an acknowledgment the law is ambiguous. He notes the justices' task is to ensure the actual words of the law are enough to make clear to the public what's legal or illegal.
Delagrange's attorney Michael Borschel began his arguments by telling the justices there's no question his client's actions were "creepy." But Indiana has two laws which can apply to explicit videotaping, and Borschel argues prosecutors charged Borschel under the wrong one. If the victim doesn't even know she's being videotaped, Borschel says the applicable law isn't exploitation, but voyeurism. A trial court judge threw out those charges before they ever reached a jury, because that law addressed secret filming of people undressing -- not the possibility of looking underneath their clothes.
Legislators rewrote the law in 2011 to close that loophole, and Borschel agrees what Delagrange did would now be illegal -- but wasn't at the time.
Delagrange has already served his one-year jail sentence but is still on probation. Borschel says reversing his convictions would release him from requirements to register as a sex offender.