Lawmakers: ‘Upskirting’ should be a crime in Georgia

Georgia could finally be on its way to banning "upskirting" —surreptitiously videotaping of a person's private parts in a public place — after state lawmakers filed a second bill aimed at curtailing the lewd practice.

Senate Bill 45, sponsored by state Sen. Larry Walker III, R-Perry, would make upskirting a misdemeanor for the first offense. Anyone caught a second time or more would face felony charges and face up to five years in jail and a fine of up to $100,000.

Similar legislation, House Bill 9, has already been introduced. The bills come after a state Court of Appeals decision last year that overturned an invasion-of-privacy conviction against former grocery clerk Brandon Lee Gary.

Gary had used his cell phone in 2013 to take videos from under a woman’s skirt as she shopped at a Publix grocery store in Houston County.

But the appeals court, similarly to other courts across the nation, found that there was no specific law in Georgia that banned upskirting and that decades-old laws being used to prosecute such cases simply did not envision criminal acts committed with modern technology.

“It is regrettable that no law currently exists which criminalizes Gary’s reprehensible conduct,” Judge Elizabeth Branch wrote in the decision throwing out his conviction. “… The remedy for this problem, however, lies with the General Assembly, not this court.”