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Law places focus on person’s intent when secretly recording others

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Posted at 7:37 PM, Jan 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-16 19:43:49-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Surveillance cameras are plastered everywhere, from homes to businesses. Many people use them to catch burglars, thieves and even nannies who are doing the wrong thing.

But, there’s a certain line you just can not cross when it comes to secretly recording other people.

One Richmond man, Tomas Arnaiz, is in jail after he allegedly used a hidden camera inside of a clock radio with memory card to record hours of intimate footage of his tenants in their Cheyenne Road bedroom.

“It’s just horrific to hear. I can hardly imagine how they must feel. It’s terribly violating,” neighbor Ele Bigger said.

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CBS 6 Legal Analyst Todd Stone talked about just how far a person can go when it comes to secretly recording others inside of a home. Stone said the law places the focus on the person’s intent.

“The place where you draw the line is you can't intentionally put it in a place where someone is going to be undressed," Stone explained. "You can put one in a living room or out front to see who's coming to your door, that’s perfectly legal."

According to a recently filed lawsuit, Arnaiz’s alleged acts went beyond the law. His victims are seeking $1.3 million in damages.

Arnaiz is facing nine misdemeanor and felony charges that could lead to serious prison time.

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