Martin County Judge Tosses Massage Parlor Videos (A Big Win For Privacy Rights)
The right to privacy is a fundamental legal right in our justice system. It is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. But sometimes, police officers and prosecutors step over the line, and when that happens, good criminal defense attorneys and impartial judges must step up to defend the right to privacy.
Defendants charged with soliciting as part of an extensive investigation into massage parlors in South Florida – won a key legal victory on May 1st when a judge suppressed video evidence in a case linked to the same investigation.
WHAT DID JUDGE KATHLEEN ROBERTS RULE?
In a dramatic six-page ruling that throws out the video surveillance tapes in several of the “Asian Spa” cases, Martin County Judge Kathleen Roberts makes it clear. Personal privacy rights trump unconstitutional police snooping.
The defendants in the case before Judge Roberts may keep the videos private. After visits to four “day spas” in Martin County, more than a hundred defendants were arrested and are now facing charges – charges that are based primarily on the video evidence.
In adjacent Palm Beach County, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft faces two charges of soliciting after visiting the “Orchids of Asia” spa in Jupiter.
WHY IS JUDGE ROBERTS SUPPRESSING VIDEO EVIDENCE?
The videos apparently include customers who received legal massage services. Stuart criminal defense attorney Richard Kibbey asked Judge Roberts to suppress all video evidence obtained by the police because that evidence violates both federal and state constitutional rights to privacy.
HOW DID POLICE OFFICERS VIOLATE PRIVACY RIGHTS IN THIS CASE?
Judge Roberts agreed and ruled that the videotaping of massages by the police is against the law. The judge wrote, “At no time was any effort made to stop the monitoring or recording at any point to protect the innocent person who happened to enter an area cornered by a camera.”
The ruling in Martin County was the court’s response to a motion filed by defendant Paul Frahm, but it also applies to three other defendants with similar legal cases, attorney Richard Kibbey told CNN. Kibbey | Wagner represents three of those defendants.
WHAT IMPACT WILL THIS RULING HAVE?
Kibbey | Wagner’s attorneys are the first to argue successfully the important constitutional issues raised by covert police surveillance in the Asian Spa cases. In fact, the ruling will have a wide-ranging impact on hundreds of pending cases, and it will be studied by the appellate courts.
The attorneys of Kibbey | Wagner – Richard Kibbey, Jordan Wagner, Barbara Kibbey Wagner, and Jonathan Alford – are continuing to monitor the ongoing developments in the Asian Spa cases in Martin, Indian River, and Palm Beach Counties.
WHEN SHOULD YOU SPEAK TO AN ATTORNEY AT KIBBEY WAGNER?
We are committed to ensuring that the privacy rights of our clients and the public at large remain inviolate. At Kibbey | Wagner, we represent the accused and the injured – and we fight aggressively to defend their rights – in state and federal courts throughout the state of Florida.
If you are charged with a crime in Florida, contact an experienced Stuart criminal defense attorney at Kibbey | Wagner – immediately. Call us anytime at: (772) 205-6009.