Ask a Cop: Can you take pictures of women in public?

Sgt. Chris Yagelski

Q: Another argument to settle! Is there really a law that states you can’t take pictures of women walking down the street or laying out in their backyards? I think this is absolutely silly as people take cell phone pictures all of the time!

A: Actually, yes and no. You may take pictures of people on the public street or in public places as this is public viewing, until you attempt to cross the line into voyeurism.

Voyeurism is someone who “peeps” or goes onto someone’s private property or public area where someone can be expected to disrobe. This includes restrooms, baths, showers and dressing rooms or “residential windows.” This law took a twist where creepy individuals were taking “upskirt” photographs of women and girls by using a camera planted on a shoe. So the law was amended to state, “A person who without consent of an individual, and with the intent to peep at the private areas of an individual, and records an image by means of a camera or other recording device, commits public voyeurism a Level 6 felony.”

Q: I just don’t get it. Why do some criminal cases get plea bargained, and others go into long blown out trials?

A: People have a choice to plead “guilty” and take a punishment negotiated by the prosecutor and their attorney and approved by a judge, or plead “Not Guilty” and take their case to trial. There are not enough prosecutors, judges, courtrooms, or trial days on the calendar to put all the thousands of cases every year in La Porte County before a jury. For those defendants taken to trial, or for those who plead guilty before a trial, there are not enough jail cells in the state to hold them. These practical demands, plus the defendant’s speedy trial rights, the seriousness of the cases, the strengths or weaknesses of cases, the victim’s wishes, public safety, punishment, rehabilitation and deterrence are all interests that are considered by the prosecutor when deciding how to proceed. A plea agreement is always designed to balance these competing interests.

Q: Can you go to jail if you use a credit card that is not in your name? My roommate moved out and she still owes me money for her share of the groceries. She accidently left one of her credit cards behind and I was going to use it just to re-coop my loss.

A: Well, of course you can go to jail! It is a crime to knowingly use a credit card that has been stolen, forged, canceled, revoked or otherwise unauthorized. Please destroy or give back the credit card. If you feel she owes you money by a verbal or written agreement, then “Small Claims Court is for you!”

The winner of last column’s $30 gift certificate from Buffalo Wild Wings was Debbie Owens from Valparaiso. Let’s answer the last riddle of, “Who stole the four cases of boneless wings from Buffalo Wild Wings?” The answer, of course, was Eddie!

The sponsor for this week’s riddle is Scotty Roberts at Scotty’s Dynamic Designs in Michigan City. The winner receives a $30 gas card!

Our friend Scotty has been kidnapped! The kidnapper has tied Scotty up, gagged him and put him in one of four rooms...each room has a different symbol on its door.

The symbols are: @, #, *, &. Use the clues below to figure out which symbol belongs to which door and the room where Scotty is located. Help find Scotty and tell me which door symbol is on the door and which room he is in.

1. The @ symbol is not on the door to the room where Scotty is.

2. The * symbol is on the door to the second room.

3. Scotty is in one room to the right of the room with the @ symbol on the door.

4. The third door is blue.

5. The & symbol is to the left of the room where Scotty is.

6. The # symbol is not on the first door.

The 6th correct answer by phone or email at exactly 1 p.m. today wins.

To answer a question or ask one, contact Sgt. Chris Yagelski at 873-1461, Ext #333, or e-mail ASKACOP@emichigancity.com.

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