Scott Blauvelt

Scott Blauvelt Above the Law Nude Naked.JPGRemember Scott Blauvelt, the former Ohio prosecutor who was charged with public indecency, for allegedly walking around his office in the nude? Time for an update:

Charges of public indecency were dropped [last week] against an ex-city prosecutor because of a paperwork problem. But officials said they would re-file the case against Scott Blauvelt, who has been accused of walking through public buildings after hours in the nude.

“A technicality is causing us to re-file the paperwork,” Butler County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Anthony Dwyer said Tuesday.

What was this “technicality”?

Blauvelt had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to two counts of public indecency in Municipal Court, where he worked from March 2005 until he was fired last month. A judge dismissed the charges Tuesday after authorities acknowledged they were filed under an outdated section of law.

See? When your legal research instructor read you the riot act about Shepardizing and Keyciting, it was for your own good.
Blauvelt’s lawyer challenged the charges on several grounds, including those offered by Professor Orin Kerr:

Gmoser argued the charges against Blauvelt never should have been filed, because his alleged nude strolls were unlikely to be seen by anyone in a public office building that is nearly deserted at night.

While Blauvelt’s unclothed ambulation may have been ill-advised, was it really illegal? We once heard a story about a female partner walking into the ladies’ room late on a Saturday night, where she found an associate and his girlfriend getting it on. Clearly they were guilty of poor judgment (and taste). But were they guilty of “public indecency,” considering that they were doing it in the relatively private place of the ladies’ room, late on a Saturday night?
(Actually, considering that the story supposedly took place at a big law firm in New York, one might reasonably expect people to be around on a Saturday night. But government offices in Ohio? Let’s get real.)
Charges Dropped Against Lawyer [Cincinnati Enquirer]

naked man with keyboard.JPGWe’ve blogged a fair amount about Scott Blauvelt, the Ohio prosecutor charged with public indecency for walking around his office in the nude. His lawyer, Michael Gmoser, seems to be laying the groundwork for an insanity defense. In a statement issued yesterday, Gmoser said that his client was seriously injured in a 2005 car accident, suffers from mental illness, and is “an American with a disability.”*
But Orin Kerr, blogger and criminal law professor extraordinaire, offers a more persuasive defense:

Was Blauvelt’s conduct actually a crime? Let’s assume Blauvelt was conscious and not having some sort of seizure that might raise voluntary act or mens rea issues. Here’s what I gather is the relevant text of the Ohio public indency statute, R.C. § 2907.09(a):

No person shall recklessly do any of the following, under circumstances in which the person’s conduct is likely to be viewed by and affront others who are in the person’s physical proximity and who are not members of the person’s household . . . Expose his or her private parts.

There are some interesting ambiguities in the statute, but it seems to me that the key question is whether Blauvelt was naked “under circumstances in which the person’s conduct is likely to be viewed by and affront others who are in the person’s physical proximity.”

We don’t know a lot of the facts here, but based on the story it doesn’t seem like this element has been satisfied. As best we know, the only person who saw Blauvelt was the security guard, who saw him at night via a remote security camera. If the courthouse was closed and no one else was expected to be physically nearby, I would think that the statute probably wasn’t violated.

Good stuff. Professor Kerr is one academic who actually knows his way around the real world of law. (This should come as no surprise. Before joining the ranks of the Elect, by clerking for Justice Kennedy, he was an Honors Program trial attorney in the Justice Department’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property section.)
We have offered some irreverent commentary on Scott Blauvelt’s case. But for the record, we are all in favor of working in the buff. Isn’t that one of the best aspects of working from home?
* Query: Might it be a “reasonable accommodation” under the ADA to let Blauvelt walk around naked?
The Strange Case of the Naked Prosecutor [Volokh Conspiracy]
Earlier: The Case of the Naked Prosecutor, and A Brief Note on Owning It
Scott Blauvelt Needs a New Office Chair

scott blauvelt 2.jpgEarlier today — at 7:30 this morning, actually — we wrote about Scott Blauvelt, the Ohio prosecutor who faces criminal charges of public indecency “for walking around the Government Services Center after business hours without clothing.” Now we learn, via CNN, the explanation he’s offering for his conduct:

Blauvelt’s lawyer, Michael Gmoser, said in a statement Tuesday that his client was seriously injured in a 2005 car accident, suffers from mental illness and is on medication for seizures.

“Scott Blauvelt is an American with a disability,” he said.

Now, we are the last people to take mental illness lightly. We know all too well the havoc it can wreak in people’s lives. But Gmoser’s statement did put us in mind of this post by DealBreaker’s Bess Levin, to which we commend you. Here’s an excerpt:

In light of the rampant levels of douchebaggery (in practice and in speech) these days, we’ve got something to say: it matters not whether you are of the douche bag variety or not, only that you f***ing man-up and OWN your female cleansing product status. Mark Foley: a douche bag, yes, but doubly a douche bag because he doesn’t own it. So you IM underage pages asking them if they’re made “horny” by your presence–who cares?! You like them young and boyish and all we have to say about that is, more power to ya, sister!

But the fact that you can’t just go, “Hey, Congress, I like them young and boyish and I don’t think I have to explain myself to anyone, let alone you people,” and insist on blaming your alcoholism, menstrual cycle, etc. really gets our goat; gets us angry, if you will. So much so that we’ve been popping blood vessels all afternoon thinking about how much we want to do something about it which means we’ll probably try and drink away our rage the second we get out of the DealBreaker Janitorial Closet tonight, pass out in a gutter and render ourselves unable to do anything about it; all your fault, for not owning it.

Good stuff. Read the rest of it here.
Another person who refuses to “own it”: former New Jersey Governor James McGreevey, who refused to acknowledge his own corruption, demonstrated by his giving a sensitive government security job to his paramour. Jim McGreevey instead tried to cloud the issues by declaring himself to be “a gay American.” Indeed, Gmoser’s statement — that his client “is an American with a disability” — appears to be modeled after the McGreevey declaration.
Authorities: Naked Prosecutor Caught on Camera [CNN]
Planespotting: Owning It [DealBreaker]

When you’re spending long hours at work, you want to be as comfortable as possible. Late at night or on weekends, we used to pad about our law firm office in socks. Eventually we brought in a pair of white fuzzy slippers, courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton in Chicago, for this purpose.*
But this may be taking things too far:

A top law-enforcement official in Hamilton, City Prosecutor Scott Blauvelt, is accused of “walking around the Government Services Center after business hours without clothing,” the Butler County Sheriff’s Office says.

Blauvelt, 35, who was charged with two counts of public indecency, was booked into the county jail and then released. He awaits a hearing in Hamilton Municipal Court, where Blauvelt usually works, said Sheriff’s Maj. Anthony Dwyer.

Calling the situation “an odd occurrence,” Dwyer said investigators don’t know what motivated Blauvelt to disrobe. He was alone at the time.

Right now you’re wondering exactly what we we were wondering: What does this guy look like? Would we WANT to see him strolling around buck naked?
As it is for pretty much every question within the law, the answer is: It depends.
scott blauvelt naked nude.jpg
The determination turns on which of these photographs is more accurate. In the picture on the left, Blauvelt looks kinda cute. In the photo on the right, less so.
(Blauvelt’s conduct was discovered by a security guard monitoring video footage. If by some miracle we can get our hands on this, we will happily upload it to YouTube.)
* We stayed at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago back in the days before the Peninsula opened. So don’t fault us for inadequate knowledge of hotels.
Prosecutor Naked at Work [Cincinnati Enquirer via How Appealing]