Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Choosing What to Wear

I’ve always been under the impression you could do whatever you pleased inside the privacy of your own home. You could wear whatever you wanted to wear or nothing at all -- your choice. But apparently not in Virginia.

A Springfield man was arrested last week for indecent exposure as he made breakfast inside his house. The wife of a policeman and her 7-year-old son who were walking by the man’s house claim to have seen him in the side door and through a window.

So the first question is what should she have done? Nothing? Told her son to look the other way? Written a neighborly note and put it through the mail slot? Or called the cops?

She chose the last option. Within a short time the police had arrived and were standing over the man (who was then napping) with a Taser gun. One cop called him a pervert. Another went through his things. They eventually hauled him off to the office of the magistrate, where he was subsequently charged and released.

It turns out the Virginia law says you can be so charged only if you intend for someone to see you. So it boils down to whether or not he was actually trying to attract the attention of the mother and son or of anyone else. His case will go to trial on November 6.

Although I can’t imagine sitting around drinking coffee in the buff, I am sympathetic to the man’s right to individual liberties within his own home. I hope he is acquitted.

What do you think? To what degree (if any) is he guilty? Would this have happened in NYC or some other large metropolitan area?


Blogger Steve said...

It seems the wife should be charged for peeping into his windows, shouldn't she?

I think it was impolite of him to not cover his windows while walking around nude in his house. But it wasn't criminal.

11:04 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

I just read the story. Even if he intended to be seen, the fact remains he was inside, and she could merely have chosen not to look at the house or the windows.

11:09 AM  
Blogger Angela said...

I read this story in our newspaper under "Funnies", and that is what it is to me. Or incredible. How can anyone tell me what to wear in my own house? In the Netherlands no one has curtains on their windows. The police would have a lot to do checking what people are doing inside their own houses! I can`t believe this is happening in the Land of the Free!

11:29 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Steve -- That was my thinking exactly. Sometimes Virginia seems like such a parochial state!

Angela -- The story did indeed belong in the "Funnies" section. Except for the poor man who is probably not laughing as he looks at the possibility of spending a year in jail.

1:20 PM  
Blogger bulletholes said...

Are those Daves handcuffs....or yours?

4:26 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

BH -- Guilty of Google Image (once again).

4:35 PM  
Anonymous restaurant refugee said...

What disturbs me most about this sordid affair is the unprovable but almost certain notion that the arrest and all the precursory activities would have been handled differently had the complaining witness not been a policeman's wife. At the very least, it remains a safe supposition that they matter would have been handled differently.

4:59 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

RR -- I totally agree. Preferential treatment for one citizen and abuse of another doesn't exactly balance out.

It makes me sick to read how the police handled this complaint. You would think the guy had committed some heinous crime!

6:20 PM  
Blogger Pauline said...

good heavens - perhaps if we stopped being so horrified at nudity and thinking it's a perversion, that woman would have simply gone on her way without a second thought. I will never understand our species.

6:37 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I thought it absurd when it happened and still think that way. The windows ought to have been covered. She should have stopped looking. I probably would have kept it as an anecdote, a funny story, nothing more.

8:56 PM  
Blogger bulletholes said...


9:31 AM  
Blogger Merle Sneed said...

I have an unwritten contract with the universe to never appear unclad anywhere int he sight of another so the rules are different for me.

In the case of this guy, I agree with Steve. It is rude of him to not close his blinds, but not criminal.

10:38 AM  

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