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Wed, Jun 24, 2015

Photographer Acquitted On UAV Charges

Jury Found David Beesmer Not Guilty Of Attempted Unlawful Surveillance

The murky legal waters surrounding UAV photography may have gotten a little clearer this week when an Ulster County, NY man was found not guilty of using his aircraft for Unlawful Surveillance.

David Beesmer had been arrested in 2014 after capturing video of the outside of a medical building in the town of Ulster. Beesmer said he knew that the camera on the quadcopter would not be able to see into the windows of the Mid-Hudson Medical Group building, but also admits that it was a "huge error in judgement" to aim the camera at exam rooms in the building.

Television Station WXXA reports that Beesmer stood trial on charges of Attempted Unlawful Surveillance twice. The first trial ended in a mistrial in May after the jury was allowed to see evidence of a previous arrest that was supposed to have been suppressed, according to the Daily Freeman newspaper.

In the second trial, which concluded Monday, the jury of six women deliberated for about 70 minutes before returning a verdict of "not guilty." They did ask to review the video captured by Beesmer of the four-story medical building.

The Daily Freeman reports that Beesmer said that his biggest fear was that the jury would have voted on emotion rather than the law, but he maintained his innocence the proceedings. He said that the state police who arrested him did not review the footage that he had captured.

Prosecutors framed the incident as "video voyeurism", and said patients in examining rooms of a medical facility have a "heightened expectation of privacy." After the verdict, Ulster County Assistant District Attorney Thomas Colonna said he would not question the jury's findings, but said it is a "situation that warrants monitoring."

Beesmer reportedly purchased the UAV to use in his music video business "Front Row Dave." It was not reported whether he has obtained a Section 333 waiver to use his aircraft for commercial purposes.

(File image of UAV similar to Beesmer's)

FMI: http://townofulster.org/content/Courts/View/1

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