This blog makes frequent reference to the presumption that all criminal defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they have been proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This presumption was undoubtedly a factor in the recent decision of Madison County prosecutors to drop illicit video recording charges against the owners of a medical spa in Godfrey, IL. The aggressive representation of the defendants’ criminal defense team also played an important role.
The charges were levied against the co-owners of a medical spa and the person who installed the video system. The prosecutors alleged that the spa owners installed video cameras to record images of customers in the spa’s changing rooms. The spa owners consistently contended that the cameras had been installed only for security purposes. The Madison County prosecutor attempted to meet this argument by claiming that Illinois law prohibits the non-consensual videotaping or televising of a person who is removing their clothing.
In announcing the dismissal of all charges against all defendants, the prosecutor said that the facts of the case were “complicated.” She also noted that none of the defendants had a criminal history. In order to have the charges officially dismissed, the spa owners must complete a diversion program, refrain from violating any laws, and not use a camera or video recorder in any area protected by state law.
The prosecutor’s concession that the facts were “complicated” undoubtedly meant that the state would have difficulty in overcoming the presumption of innocence. This case demonstrates how the facts alleged in an indictment do not always hold up when placed under the spotlight of a capable defense effort. Anyone facing criminal charges may therefore wish to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney to learn of their criminal defense options and how best to pursue them.
Source: Belleville News-Democrat, “Prosecutors drop charges against Godfrey spa owners accused of installing cameras,” Kara Berg, Sep. 27, 2017