By: Jacob Daniels
There is a case pending in Springfield Municipal Court wherein an individual is being charged with 35 counts of Invasion of Privacy. I make no assertions of guilt or innocence because I believe that we are all entitled to the protections of the United States and Oregon Constitutions.
It is alleged that the perpetrator in the case at hand used a video camera to look through the bedroom window of his neighbors’ minor daughter. Under Oregon’s Invasion of Privacy statute, ORS 163.700, the maximum punishment for this type of conduct, which is a Class A Misdemeanor, is one year in jail and/or a fine of $6,250.
I attended high school with the parents of the alleged victim. They are good people. The mother decided to confront this bad situation and “take lemons and make lemonade.” She created a Facebook page called “Make Video Voyeurism a Felony” and I was happy to join the page.
I watched the alleged victim’s family and friends make lots of noise about the deficiencies in Oregon privacy law. I quietly waited for a legislator to take up the issue. But nobody took action. Finally, I sent a message to the mother of the alleged victim and offered my assistance. I told her that I knew a few people in Salem and maybe I could get them to look at the issue.
I made several contacts with folks at the legislature about changing the law and Senator Tim Knopp’s office decided to grab this issue and run with it. The Senator invited the family to visit him at the Capitol and is working to make the change.
In sum, I was impressed by what can happen when the right people serve in government. Great things can happen as a result and I’m cautiously optimistic that we can increase the penalty for video voyeurism when the victim is a minor child.
This whole situation has affirmed my belief that government can serve “We the People” when the right people serve.
Jacob Daniels is an attorney in Creswell, Oregon