Ruling OKs photographing under women's skirts 

Despite's the Legislature's recently passed amendment to the Peeping Tom law, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has reversed the verdict and sentence of an Oklahoma City man convicted for taking photographs underneath a woman's skirt. 

Kevin Wayne Durant was convicted in 2007 by a district judge of "taking clandestine photographs" of the woman and sentenced to six years in prison.

Earlier this month, the Legislature amended the state's Peeping Tom law to allow prosecution of people who photograph or film people's private areas in public places. The law goes into effect Nov. 1.

The appeals court said the act happened in public and therefore fair game.

"We do not believe that (the law) as currently written, covers the clandestine taking of photographs of a person who is in a public place, regardless of what part of the body the perpetrator focuses on," wrote Judge Charles Johnson for the majority opinion. "The fact that (Durant) was found to have purposefully photographed the (victim) from a vantage point that would reveal underclothes is reprehensible, but does not alter our understanding of the statute."

According to the court brief, Durant was arrested for using a digital camera, hidden in a backpack, to take photographs of a female student in the lobby of Oklahoma City Community College without her knowledge. The trial court ruled Durant had intentionally tried to position the backpack so that the camera, nestled inside an open compartment of the pack, would capture images of the student's body underneath her skirt.

Durant appealed Oklahoma County District Judge Twyla Mason Gray's decision to find him guilty and sentenced to prison. Durant claimed the crime for which he was accused of does not apply since the photograph was taken in a public place, and that state laws written to protect from such photographs only apply when a sense of privacy is expected. The appeals court agreed.

"Given that this (law) includes only places that are closed to the general"¦we conclude that the conduct at issue here was simply not contemplated by the Legislature when (the law) was enacted," the court wrote.

The court vote was four in favor of reversing Judge's Gray decision and one against. Judge Gary Lumpkin strongly dissented.

"The Court's decision"¦not only misconstrues the intent of the Legislature, but also ignores the duty of the state to protect its citizens from the criminal activity of others," Lumpkin wrote. "Scott Cooper

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