A judge’s decision breathes new life into a voyeurism case against a former drama teacher.
Lawrence Dibble, a former theatre director at the Wellington School in Upper Arlington, is accused of secretly taping his former students in states of undress.
The case dates back to 2010 but appeared all but dead, when a judge ruled evidence in the case would not be allowed.
That evidence involved tapes seized using a search warrant by Upper Arlington Police at Dibble’s home.
The case took an abrupt turn, when the same judge who ruled the tapes were inadmissible in court, now says they were obtained legally.
Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Timothy Horton ruled Tuesday, while the warrant used in the case wasn’t sufficient, the officer was acting in “good faith” and the warrant is good.
The state appealed the judge’s first ruling to the state Supreme Court, which asked the judge to reconsider his decision.
His attorney says while he respects the judge decision, it was the wrong one, and argues his client’s 4th amendment rights were violated.
“I think the average person should be a little nervous. The 4th amendment is there for a reason the cops just can't walk into your house unless they prove a crime has been committed or that there is evidence of a crime in there in this case,” said Chris Brown, Dibble’s attorney.
Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien said the judge’s ruling is rare.
“He should be commended for looking at it, because it’s difficult for a public official, and particularly a judge, to take a second view and reach a different conclusion, said O’Brien.
O’Brien says without the tapes, the case could not go forward.
A trial date is expected to be decided by the end of this week.
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