A man charged with 26 counts of unlawful electronic peeping in Isla Vista is walking free after a judge approved his request to be let out of Santa Barbara County Jail on pretrial supervised release, prosecutors said.
The defendant, Justin Asinobi, pleaded not guilty to the charges, all misdemeanors, at his arraignment, and was back in court on March 15 for a pretrial readiness/settlement conference.
It was then when he made his bid for freedom.
“Over the People’s objection, Judge (Brian) Hill indicated he would release the defendant on pretrial supervised release,” Deputy District Attorney Dalia Granados told the News-Press. “Upon release, the defendant will be subject to various terms and conditions.”
The case was continued to March 17 so the judge could make a final ruling as to the release order.
According to Prosecutor Granados, Judge Hill approved his request for pretrial supervised release based on the defendant’s lack of criminal history, age (he turned 23 Wednesday) and no new law violations being picked up in the last year.
Pretrial supervised release means that Mr. Asinobi will be released with supervision by probation to include certain terms and conditions. Probation has a pretrial unit that is assigned to be responsible for supervising the defendant, the prosecutor said.
“The terms and conditions of his release are: no contact with all victims, stay away from Isla Vista, GPS monitoring, reside with his parents, a curfew of not being able to leave his home before 7 a.m. and being home by 10 p.m., no electronics/recording devices except for accessing his father’s computer for the purposes of school and medical reasons, and a cellphone with the condition of only using it to call his parents and for medical purposes.”
No trial date has been set. The defendant will return to court on March 29.
Mr. Asinobi has been charged with unlawful electronic peeping between Oct. 1, 2021 and Feb. 15, 2022.
The complaint filed against him alleges that he “willfully and unlawfully used a concealed camcorder, motion picture camera or photographic camera to secretly videotape, film, photograph or record by electronic means another identifiable person, or through the clothing worn by that other person, for the purpose of viewing the body or undergarments worn by that other person, without that person’s knowledge or consent.”
A case involving electronic peeping was initially reported in 2022, and as a result, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office conducted an almost yearlong investigation into the allegations.
As a result of that investigation, the District Attorney’s Office charged Mr. Asinobi, alleging he placed hidden cameras in places where persons had a reasonable expectation of privacy.
“What I can tell you at this point is that there are multiple victims and there were multiple devices hidden in private homes,” Prosecutor Granados said. “We are not permitted to release information about victims so I cannot answer any questions regarding their information.”
A search warrant signed on Feb. 23, 2022 permitted the search of devices belonging to Mr. Asinobi in which the alleged recordings were located, the complaint said.
After viewing the secret recordings, law enforcement officers were able to identify 12 of the people depicted in the recordings, and although an additional 14 were visible, they have not been identified yet, prosecutors said.
In a move to protect the confidentiality of those alleged victims who were identified, counts 1 through 12 in the complaint lists them only by their initials. In counts 13 through 26 pertaining to alleged victims who remain unidentified, all but four are listed as Jane Doe. The final four are listed as John Doe.
Prosecutors say if he is convicted, Mr. Asinobi could get up to six months in County Jail for each count.