Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Bathroom Sex and Reasonable Privacy

"ST. PAUL, Minn. - In an effort to help Sen. Larry Craig, the American Civil Liberties Union is arguing that people who have sex in public bathrooms have an expectation of privacy.

Craig, of Idaho, is asking the Minnesota Court of Appeals to let him withdraw his guilty plea to disorderly conduct stemming from a bathroom sex sting at the Minneapolis airport.

The ACLU filed a brief Tuesday supporting Craig. It cited a Minnesota Supreme Court ruling 38 years ago that found that people who have sex in closed stalls in public restrooms "have a reasonable expectation of privacy." (AP via Yahoo)

I think I have to disagree with the ACLU on this one. If I were the judge writing on this I would note the probable intrusion of noise of a generally identifiable type, the intrusion of asking for sex underneath the stall door, in certain places the vandalism of stalls for the purposes of bathroom sex (although I guess that’s covered under vandalism, which you could still be prosecuted for), the spreading of yet more substances you wouldn’t want on yourself in the bathroom (lube, worse), and related to that last point, people who didn’t wash their hands moving those substances all over the bathroom and onto places I have to touch. Precedent be damned. How can you claim privacy, if you're creating a disturbance that disrupts someone else's privacy? Isn't that along the lines of Britney Spears shaving her head, then running around in public without her underwear, and expecting the paparazzi to just leave her alone?

If you can expect privacy for doing the deed in a public bathroom, can’t you begin to argue the point that if you do it in a sleeping bag with the top pulled over your heads, you have an expectation of privacy in the middle of a public park? (I use that particular example because I was subjected to it back in high school during a training ride for a bike trip to Duluth).

Mean Mr. Mustard….you’re the lawyer…what’s your take? Do I have to start worrying more about which local restrooms I frequent? This absolutely won't apply to corporate bathrooms...right?


Anonymous said...

It took some looking but I finally found the case being cited by the ACLU - State v. Bryant, 177 N.W.2d 800, 287 Minn. 205 (Minn., 1970)

It sure seems like the case is being misconstrued as precedent. In the case cited, two consenting adults meeting in the restroom were busted by cops using a hidden camera. In this case, Sen Craig was propositioning someone who hadn't agreed to a consensual meeting and seemingly had their own expectation of privacy violated by his actions....

It strikes me as idiotic to argue that one should have an expectation of privacy when getting it on in a public bathroom stall, but at the same time one shouldn't expect the same when (ostensibly) trying to use the stall for its designed purpose.

"The ACLU argued that even if Craig was inviting the officer to have sex, his actions wouldn't be illegal."

So Craig should have privacy if he wants it, but the individual next to him shouldn't expect any if Craig has some layover time to kill and is jonesin' for some sweet bathroom action?

This seems to me like a situation in which the ACLU has forgone common sense in the pursuit of a case that doesn't really deserve its attentions. I get the idea of protecting personal liberties, but pick battles worth fighting, for cripes sake!

Sank said...

I'm with you 100%, I'm just not certain public restrooms are "private"... One persons privacy starts where mine stops, and if I'm in a stall and the one next to me is double booked... seems that SOMETHING is being violated.

Anonymous said...

True. How is privacy defined here? The fact that the act was done in a public bathroom does not condone privacy. These people got the excitement from the idea of being found doing the deed.