Customers Can’t Tape Prostitutes Nude Without Consent, Appeals Court Rules

MADISON, Wisc. — A state appeals court has rejected a man’s claim that a prostitute engaging in commercial sex acts does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in nude photographs or videos.

A three-judge panel for the Wisconsin Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that Charles Adams violated a woman’s expectation of privacy and affirmed his conviction that prohibits “capturing representations” that depict nudity without consent.

Adams apparently made it a habit to videotape his subject prostitutes, and at least one of the women captured surreptitiously with a laptop computer said she didn’t consent to it.

Acting on a tip, police obtained a search warrant for Adams’s truck, and found numerous sex videos of Adams with prostitutes.

But Adams said he had a legitimate reason for videotaping the encounter — to protect himself if something bad happened.  

Adams maintained that he was justified in videotaping the woman without her consent because she was a prostitute and might, during their illegal sexual encounter, overdose on illegal drugs or accuse him of battery.

He moved to dismiss the complaint, arguing that the woman who was recorded nude while engaging in the illegal act of prostitution had no reasonable expectation of privacy with regard to being videotaped in the nude during commercial sexual activity.

On appeal, he argued that the circuit court erred in denying his motion to dismiss.

The appeals court panel disagreed, ruling that just because Adams and the woman were engaged in the crime of prostitution does not mean that the woman relinquished her reasonable expectation of privacy.

“Recording someone nude in violation of § 942.09(2)(am)1 in order to protect against possible adverse scenarios is not a legitimate reason or defense,” the panel wrote in affirming the judgment that found Adams guilty. “Furthermore, there is no evidence that Adams made the recording for the purpose of self-protection.”

The case is State of Wisconsin vs. Adams, 2014AP1158-CR.

View appeals court ruling