Supreme Court Finds ‘Loophole’ in Minnesota Privacy Law
St. Paul, MN (KROV-AM News) - A ruling issued today by the Minnesota Supreme Court in a Dakota County case could be considered a call by the justices for state lawmakers to fix a "loophole" in Minnesota's privacy laws.
The state's highest court today overturned a ruling by the Minnesota Court of Appeals, which upheld a District Court judge's decision to reject Barry McReynolds’ motion to withdraw his guilty plea to a charge of interference with privacy for using a cell phone to record a video of a woman "while she was naked in her bed without her consent and knowing that she likely would not have consented." In reversing the lower courts' decisions, the State Supreme Court stated the "question before us is not whether McReynolds conduct was wrong, but instead whether the statute McReynolds pleaded guilty to violating covers his conduct."
Court records indicate the St. Paul man admitted covertly recording the video of the naked woman while he was inside her bedroom after the couple had gone on a date and returned to her residence, where he spent the night in her bed. The justices ruled the interference with privacy charge did not apply in this case because, as it is currently written, the law requires that the recording be made "through the window or any other aperture of a house or place of dwelling of another" to make it a criminal act.
In handing down the decision, the Minnesota Supreme Court stated "the question before us is not whether certain acts of voyeurism should be criminalized. Our sole task is to determine whether McReynolds' actions are criminalized under existing Minnesota law."
In its earlier ruling that sided with the prosecution, the Minnesota Court of Appeals found the state law did apply in this case because the recording was made through the aperture of the cell phone camera lens. The now overturned majority opinion from the appeals court found that McReynolds' interpretation of the law would lead to "an absurd result: it would essentially allow guests in a home to record residents at will as long as a recording was not done a window or some other aperture."