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Woman has no claim against peeping police, 4th Circuit rules

Voyeuristic police officers who passed around revealing photographs discovered on a defendant’s cellphone are not subject to a civil rights suit by the defendant’s girlfriend, pictured in the photos.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Wednesday rejected the appeal by Jessie Casella, who sought damages for her humiliation from Culpeper police under section 1983.

Casella’s claim to an expectation of privacy foundered because she allowed her boyfriend to carry around the explicit images on the cellphone, outside of her control. “She ‘undoubtedly hoped and intended’ that the images would not be viewed by anyone other than [the boyfriend], but hopes and intentions do not make Fourth Amendment rights,” wrote the three-judge panel in an unpublished per curiam opinion.

“While the officers’ actions as alleged may be reprehensible, the Fourth Amendment’s scope of protection does not extend to the Appellant,” the panel wrote.

The decision affirms the ruling of U.S. District Judge Norman Moon dismissing Casella’s lawsuit.

By Peter Vieth

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