PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Working on an expedited schedule, the state Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday on whether prostitution clients who are videotaped without their knowledge during sex acts have a right to privacy under state law.
A prosecutor urged the Supreme Judicial Court to reinstate 46 invasion-of-privacy counts against Mark Strong Sr., who’s accused of helping a Zumba instructor run a prostitution business in the seaside town of Kennebunk.
Defense lawyer Dan Lilley said lawmakers never intended to protect prostitution clients or other criminals from surveillance.
The seven-member panel was asked to rule swiftly because jury selection in Strong’s trial has been put on hold in York County.
York County Assistant District Attorney Patrick Gordon argued that the state privacy law that protects innocent people in bathrooms and locker rooms also protects people engaging in sex in a private setting.
“No one would argue for a minute that that person didn’t expect privacy there. So why would it be any different if money changed hands?” he said.
Chief Justice Leigh Saufley cut him off, pointing out that there’s a big difference in sex between “volunteer social companions” and those paying a prostitute for sex.
The entire panel proceeded to jump into the fray with skeptical questions about how far the state should go in conferring privacy rights and whether there should be an expectation of surveillance at certain businesses.
Gordon told the justices that sexual relations are “the most private, intimate thing that people can do” and that the state intended to protect the privacy of those acts. He said the law makes no distinction between paid or unpaid sex.
Jury selection in the trial of Strong, who faces 13 other counts that deal with promotion of prostitution, has been twice delayed by appeals to the state supreme court.
The first dealt with First Amendment issues raised about the closed-door jury selection process. The second deals with the dismissal of the invasion-of-privacy charges.
Fitness instructor Alexis Wright set up the video equipment and Strong watched from his computer, making thousands of still images from the live video stream, Gordon told the justices.
The justices must rule quickly to avoid starting over with a new jury pool because service ends for the current jury pool at month’s end.
Wright will be tried at a later date.
Both Strong and Wright have pleaded not guilty.
In addition to arguing that the state law applied to prostitution clients, prosecutors also said that it was up to a jury — not the judge — to decide the charges and that the defense waited too long to seek to dismiss the charges.
Lilley said that the trial judge made the right call and that he could find no other precedent for conferring privacy to prostitution clients.
“Astonishingly and unabashedly, the state of Maine argues that criminals have a protected right to commit the crime of engaging a prostitute in a commercial building under Maine law,” he said.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
26 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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3. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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4. Jus haaaanngin out
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5. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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6. new new
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7. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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8. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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9. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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11. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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12. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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13. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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14. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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15. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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16. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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17. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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18. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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20. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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21. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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22. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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23. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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24. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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25. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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26. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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