INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- The Indiana Supreme Court is taking up the case of a man who allegedly used a camera hidden in one of his shoes to shoot video under the skirts of teenage girls at an Indianapolis shopping mall.
The state's high court will hear oral arguments Thursday in the case of David Delagrange, a 44-year-old Fort Wayne man convicted of attempted child exploitation and sentenced in March 2012 to six months in prison.
Delagrange was arrested in February 2010 at an Indianapolis mall and found to have video images obtained from beneath the skirts of a 15-year-old girl and three 17-year-olds.Court records state he did not deny trying to film beneath the skirts of the girls, one of whom said he stood so close to her she could feel his breath.
Delagrange entered stores at the mall, including a clothing store for teen girls, and secretly placed his camera-equipped shoe between their legs to take pictures under their skirts or dresses, according to court records.
But the state appeals court threw out Delagrange's conviction in January, finding his behavior did not violate state law pertaining to child exploitation.
In its 2-1 ruling, the court found that the Marion County jury that convicted Delagrange should have found him innocent because the law would have required the girls to have exposed themselves in order to support a conviction, and prosecutors presented no such evidence.
The court found the law requires prosecutors to prove Delagrange tried to obtain images of "sexual conduct by a child" -- specifically that they would have had to expose their genitals in a manner "intended to satisfy or arouse" another person's sexual desires.
"The phrasing of the statute demands the child be performing the sexual conduct," Judge Melissa May wrote in ruling.
In his dissenting opinion, Judge Edward Najam Jr. said the law could not be interpreted to depend on the child's intentions, writing that doing so "undermines the very foundation of the statute, which was designed to protect children."
In its brief asking the court to reinstate Delagrange's conviction, state attorneys said the evidence supports the attempted child exploitation charges. Despite Delagrange's contention at trial that he had tried to film the feet or stockings of women, it notes the images he obtained were only of teenage girls and were filmed up their skirts.
Jennifer A. Drobac, a professor at the Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis, said the high court will have to consider the vague elements of the state's child exploitation law the case illuminated.
"A logical reading of the law is that the child would have to intend it. But that doesn't make any sense because the child is the one you're trying to protect in the statute," she said.
Delagrange was originally also charged with voyeurism, but those charges were dropped on the basis that voyeurism means peeping inside a dwelling, not looking up a skirt in a public place.
State lawmakers have since changed Indiana's voyeurism law to cover public photography.
No matter how the court rules, Drobac said she hopes the justices suggest that state lawmakers also tweak the wording of the state's child exploitation law.
Delagrange's attorney, Michael Borschel, said he would try to persuade the court during Thursday's arguments that the state appeals court was correct in its ruling overturning his client's conviction.
"That's it in a nutshell," he said.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
The program provides free cab rides home to impaired drivers during the holiday season until January 1.
Police arrested two people after they went on a shopping spree using credit cards that were stolen from a woman at gunpoint in her parent’s driveway. Police were able to arrest the suspects within hours because the credit card companies told the victim where her cards were being used.
O'Donnell will be performing country music, inspirational ballads, pop hits and Irish standards at the Embassy Theatre, Tuesday, June 10, 2014, at 7 p.m.
Check out the photos viewers sent NewsChannel 15 of the snowfall on Wednesday.
A man who appeared to provide sign language interpretation on stage for Nelson Mandela's memorial service, attended by scores of heads of state, was a "fake," the national director of the Deaf Federation of South Africa said on Wednesday.
While there are no serious crashes to report, snowy roads made for a dangerous morning commute. Roads are still extremely slick in places and they could stay that way for most of the day.
Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control is offering free straw to anyone in Allen County who needs animal bedding during the cold winter.
Visitors to downtown Fort Wayne can now stay connected on all their wi-fi capable devices thanks to new hot spots at Freimann Square and One Summit Square.
The public is invited to attend, and encouraged to bring gifts for the animals, the 2013 Christmas Open House from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The suspension of a 6-year-old boy for kissing a girl at school is raising questions about whether the peck should be considered sexual harassment.
Time magazine selected Pope Francis as its Person of the Year on Wednesday, saying the Catholic Church's new leader has changed the perception of the 2,000-year-old institution in an extraordinary way in a short time.
The chief of a southwestern Indiana volunteer fire department has resigned after being confronted about postings on his Facebook page saying he was a racist and had joined the Ku Klux Klan.
Fort Wayne City Council passed nearly 20 bills at their meeting Tuesday night gearing up for the new year.
As state lawmakers prepare for the upcoming session in Indianapolis, county governments are presenting their priorities for the 2014 Indiana General Assembly.
It took two weeks for New Haven's city council to decide it was best to not allow golf carts to putter around town. On Tuesday night, the city council unanimously voted against the ordinance.