The prosecution and defense in the case of a man charged with 26 counts of unlawful electronic peeping are discussing possible resolutions to the case that would avoid the need for the case going to trial, prosecutors said.
The defendant, Justin Asinobi, appeared in court Wednesday, but the case was continued to May 3, Deputy District Attorney Dalia Granados said.
“Defense is reviewing the discovery, and we are discussing possible resolutions,” she told the News-Press. “No trial has been set yet.”
Mr. Asinobi, 23, pleaded not guilty to the charges, all misdemeanors, at his arraignment. Prosecutors say if the case goes to trial and he is convicted, Mr. Asinobi could get up to six months in Santa Barbara County Jail for each count.
The defendant 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.
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.
The defendant was released from custody after a judge approved his motion for pretrial supervised release despite objections voiced by prosecutors.
The judge based his ruling on the defendant’s lack of criminal history, age and no new law violations being picked up in the last year.
Pretrial supervised release means that Mr. Asinobi was released with supervision by probation under 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.