Peeping Tom Sues Police
The Peeping Tom Wanted His Stash BackThe world is full of weirdos and creeps, and quite often, they get busted for something that illuminates their strangeness. However, sometimes, the strangeness goes a bit further than normal, as is the case with a peeping Tom from San Rafael, California. In 2002, Dennis Saunders, the peeping perp, was arrested for secretly videotaping women, including a 17-year-old girl. When he was arrested, the police seized a large amount of his personal materials including 700 pornographic magazines and videos as a part of the criminal investigation.
Saunders was convicted on more than 40 misdemeanors for taping the women in the bathrooms and bedrooms of their apartment complex, and he was sentenced to more than eight years in jail. However, he was released in August of 2007 having received time off for good behavior. This was not the first time he had been in trouble with the law and convicted of being a peeper. His history with arrests for this behavior dates back to 1979.
When he was released from jail, he thought he was going to get his stash of adult videos and magazines back, but the police did not give them to him. He hired an attorney, who said that the police did not have legal authority to hold the material, and that there was nothing illegal or dangerous about it. Saunders said that there were around 500 videos and 250 magazines the police were holding, and the material was valued at around $10,000. The lawsuit also asked for punitive damages.
As strange and desperate as the request might sound, many legal experts believed that he did have the right to have his material returned. However, after eight months of litigation, Judge James Ritchie decided that he did not have the right to the material. The judge stated that he was not the legal owner of the material at the time because the videos and magazines were seized during a parole search. One of his conditions of parole at the time was that he was not supposed to possess these types of materials.
Saunders’ attorney for the case decided that they would not actually bring it forward to a lawsuit since it was bringing too much unwanted attention toward his client. In addition, he said that Saunders did not want the material any longer because he was now Christian, and he said that it helped him to overcome his problem with voyeurism. They said that the case wasn’t about getting the material back at all, but about not allowing the government to act the way it did and to arbitrarily decide what happens with peoples’ belongings. The city said they were going to destroy the material.
Having the government and a peeping Tom fighting over a stash of porn isn’t the type of case that you normally see pop up in the courts, but when this sort of thing does happen, at least it’s interesting.