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Police entered Naked Guy's house with no warrant, guns drawn

The case of the Naked Guy -- the Fairfax County man arrested for being naked inside his own house last fall -- is starting to sprout some serious legal wings, after Fairfax police officers testified Friday that they had no warrant when they entered the man's house, and then approached him with their guns drawn as he slept, with pants on, in his bed.

The case of Erick Williamson, 29, attracted significant media attention for his claims that he had been arrested for indecent exposure on Oct. 19 simply for drinking coffee in the nude in the kitchen of his rented Springfield house. At his misdemeanor trial in Fairfax General District Court in December, it turned out it wasn't that simple.

Actually, according to witness testimony, two separate women passers-by had called police to report a naked man standing very visibly in the doorway to his carport, one at about 6:40 a.m. and then another about two hours later. The second "victim" had her seven-year-old with her, and is the wife of a Fairfax police officer, Williamson's lawyer said.

Williamson testified he never posed in any doorway or window -- the second woman said he appeared at both the carport door and then in a front window -- and had no intent to flash the many pedestrians heading to nearby Hunt Valley Elementary School. Judge Ian M. O'Flaherty ruled that the extended nudity "indicates an obscene display" and found Williamson guilty.

Williamson appealed to Fairfax Circuit Court. And on Friday, his lawyers tried to suppress his arrest and his statements to police. Fairfax Circuit Court Judge Jane Marum Roush rejected both motions, but along the way new information emerged that Williamson's lawyers will use in his Circuit Court trial on April 7.

Officer Sha'aron Williams testified that he responded to both nudity complaints at the house on Arley Drive. After the first, received at 6:41 a.m. and checked out at 7 a.m., Williams said the house was dark, he could see no signs of life, the complainant wasn't around, and he left after a few minutes.

Three police officers responded to the second complaint about 9:16 a.m., and again Williams said the house was dark, there were no signs of forced entry and no one around to speak with. But in the carport, behind the glass storm door, the interior door was missing a pane of glass, the officer said. Williams said he tried the knob, and it was unlocked. The three officers went inside.

Williams said entering an unlocked house was Fairfax police policy in this situation, in case unauthorized people had broken in or someone was injured or in danger inside. He said he repeatedly, loudly, announced, "Fairfax County police, is anyone here?"

Weapons were drawn "just in case we encountered a hostile individual," Williams said.
The officers eventually went upstairs and found a man face down, asleep, with trousers on, Williams said. His hands were under him, so he was ordered to show his hands, which he did, the officer said. He was told why the police were there, and police found a traffic summons to obtain his identification, Williams said.

Williams asked about any naked men walking around, and he said Williamson initially "said it was his roommates. Then he changed his story and said it might have been him, "he was up making coffee, he might have been in the nude."

After a few minutes, the three officers retreated to their cars to ponder their next step. Then Williamson took an odd step. He walked outside to his truck, carrying an open beer. The officers advised him that was illegal. Then, one of them asked if they could take his photo, Officer Stewart Struthers said. And they did.

Struthers said police then drove the digital photo over to the second victim's house and showed it to her. Then the officers went back to Williamson's house and arrested him, intending to charge him with felony indecent exposure because a child was involved.

But at the Fairfax jail, a magistrate only charged Williamson with a misdemeanor. After he was processed, he began walking back toward Springfield from Fairfax City. His lawyer, Dickson M. Young, said Williamson then got a call from his employer, asking why he'd been arrested for exposing himself to children. Young said police had called Williamson's boss. The boss, who also rented out Williamson's house, ordered Williamson out of the house immediately.

Young wanted Roush to rule that the arrest was illegal and Williamson's statements inadmissible, under the logic that the warrantless entry enabled the police to obtain Williamson's name, and then his comments admitting nudity.

"They couldn't have gotten the [arrest] warrant," Young said, "without finding out who he was."

He said the photo taken of Williamson was then "fruit of the poisonous tree," and that it was likely shown to the victim without a lineup or array.

Roush said, "I believe the police were operating in good faith under the community caretaker exception," in which officers may make warrantless entry to ensure citizens' safety, "and this was not a pretext to enter the house. They were called to the house twice, they saw a window broken, they had reason to go in."

Young cited to Roush a 2005 Virginia Court of Appeals case, which ruled that "the mere discovery of an 'open door' of a residence -- absent some other reasons for concern -- is not, in and of itself, a circumstance that could give rise to a reasonable belief that entry is necessary to prevent harm to persons or property."

But Roush wasn't buying it.

"I think it's a sad day for the citizens of Fairfax County," Young said afterward, "when these officers can enter a private residence without a warrant, without an invitation, to investigate criminal activity, because of a missing window pane on an interior door."
Young has another round of legal challenges, both on the privacy issue and on the question of whether nudity alone equals obscenity or indency, set for next Friday.

-- Tom Jackman

By Tom Jackman  |  March 26, 2010; 6:15 PM ET
Categories:  Fairfax , From the Courthouse , Tom Jackman , Updates  
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Comments

thanks for the article=very interesting

Posted by: gary11311 | March 26, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Previous news stories reported that the 7 year old child is a boy. The stories also reported that Erick Williamson was not "aroused" when he was visible to the two women and the boy.

If Erick Williamson were changing in the locker room at the public pool and the 7 year old boy walked by and saw him nude, would that be indecent exposure?

Posted by: postisarag | March 26, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

You can't carry an open beer outside in Fairfax County? What, no patio parties?

Posted by: dottie_b | March 26, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

pants on the ground

Posted by: TheDubb | March 26, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

If you have a no trespassing sign in your yard, then the cops would have been breaking the law if they had illegally searched the house like they did in this article.

Posted by: slydell | March 26, 2010 10:01 PM | Report abuse

People need to spend 24 hours minding their business and 24 hours leaving other's alone. Stop looking in the windows of people and you won't see what is none of your business. Has anyone heard of "turn away" and "keep it moving"? JMHO

Posted by: cntnulprze | March 26, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

I agree that a warrant should be required before entering a home, except in life threatening situations. I'm just wondering what specifically would have been listed on the warrant in this case, the man was alleged to have nothing.

Posted by: vmax02rider | March 26, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

You can't carry an open beer outside in Fairfax County? What, no patio parties?


Posted by: dottie_b | March 26, 2010 8:50 PM

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

My question, exactly.

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | March 26, 2010 11:02 PM | Report abuse

When this pervert loser does something really bad a few years later down the line, all you idiots will be crying, "Why didn't they do something earlier when they had warning signs?!"

Posted by: bendan2000 | March 26, 2010 11:35 PM | Report abuse

When this lawless bullying by the police gets even further out of control a few years down the line, all you idiots will be crying, "Why didn't they do something earlier when they had warning signs?!"

Posted by: 12008N1 | March 26, 2010 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Geez, louise, how much time and resources are going to be spent on this nonsense? I thought we were supposed to be in a critical budget crisis, no money for schools, need to raise the tax rate, blah, blah, blah - there's no evidence I have seen that this guy is a chronic flasher, just had the bad luck to decide to make his coffee in the buff on the day that a couple of busybodies were passing by. Drop the d__n case!

Posted by: exgovgirl | March 27, 2010 1:14 AM | Report abuse

what a joke, I hate busy bodies. What you do in your home is nobody's business but your own. I guess that if I get out of the shower and walk to my bedroom to get dressed and my bedroom curtains are open I'm a flasher. Get a life lady!!!

Posted by: FrankMonzon | March 27, 2010 3:34 AM | Report abuse

I don't think Naked Guy is the only one with issues here. Clearly the man has issues though, and I wouldn't describe him as a `morning person' to say the least. I wonder about this broken window too, and I don't like the lack of a warrant.

This is a pretty messy case in a lot of ways and I dunno why the county is taking it for a ride.

Had the cops handled it differently the results probably would have been less ongoing witlessness.

Posted by: Nymous | March 27, 2010 3:37 AM | Report abuse

Did the officers on both calls knock or ring the doorbell? The story didn't say, but based on my first hand knowledge of police procedures, that should have been the first step. And was a road sergeant called to the scene to advise the responders? That is usually done in situations such as this.

Posted by: buddrs | March 27, 2010 4:37 AM | Report abuse

Cops are just trying to get through the day sometimes. I'm happy with their work on this one. (The guy should ask himself if he could have avoided a massive waste of time and energy for many people if he just would have closed his windows like normal people.)

Posted by: kls1 | March 27, 2010 4:39 AM | Report abuse

Nudity? We are all nude at one time or another what is the big deal? People should really learn to mind thier business. I could see if the dude was doing a jig on his front lawn but standing in front of a window or door with coffee? Please.....I bet if someone was getting raped not one of those busibodies would have thought to intervene. (ie. Story about girl beaten in front of transit security officers and on camera...everyone just watched.)

Posted by: chynna12169 | March 27, 2010 5:32 AM | Report abuse

Sheesh, who will police these police? Let this guy go and hope he doesn't sue the county.

Posted by: sarahabc | March 27, 2010 6:09 AM | Report abuse

This country and county get progressively and progressively less free. Apparently now the police can enter your residence at will on the basis of two telephone calls about nudity in your house, to the applause of Judge Roush

Posted by: garrafa10 | March 27, 2010 6:39 AM | Report abuse

The cop just had to do something. He couldn't go back to the frau empty handed. If she hadn't of been an officer's wife, no one would have ever heard of this and the cops would not have interrupted their donut break.

Posted by: Calabrese99 | March 27, 2010 7:12 AM | Report abuse

"After a few minutes, the three officers retreated to their cars to ponder their next step."

They tossed the place and couldn't find anything.

Posted by: blasmaic | March 27, 2010 7:47 AM | Report abuse

It's unbelievable. Now you can not walk naked in your own home??!!! People need to mind their own business instead of sneaking on windows or doors!! And if you happened to see someone naked in his/her own home, just turn your face and walk away! That's all. Don't make a big deal out of this!

Posted by: boni40 | March 27, 2010 8:32 AM | Report abuse

New information is coming out, slowly stripping away the layers - revealing all!

Posted by: cmecyclist | March 27, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

bendan2000 writes;
"When this pervert loser does something really bad a few years later down the line, all you idiots will be crying, 'Why didn't they do something earlier when they had warning signs?!'"
---------------------------------------------------

See, we live in a free society, where people are presumed innocent until proven guilty. This means two things: 1. Sometimes, someone doing something out of the ordinary eventually does something illegal, but 2. We don't go around locking up people in batches for no reason other than, "I don't like the look of this guy, see...".

What's next? Locking up a man because he watches "Meet Me in St. Louis", because everyone knows that gay guys like Judy Garland, and everyone knows that some pedophiles are gay?

Get a grip...

Posted by: iamweaver | March 27, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

"When this pervert loser does something really bad a few years later down the line, all you idiots will be crying, "Why didn't they do something earlier when they had warning signs?!"

Yes, we should have police walk into homes without invitation, without warrant, just to check and see if there are any warning signs of possible future criminal proclivity. You never know. Today's walking-in-house-naked person is probably tomorrow's child molester.

Better yet, just put a TV in everyone's house that you have to check in with, and the authorities can watch what you're doing through it.

Posted by: hitpoints | March 27, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

In Fairfax, you don't watch TV, the TV watches you.

Those idiot cops should be punished.

Maybe things like this wouldn't happen if we got more cops who are college graduates.

Posted by: kenk3 | March 27, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I agree with the posters earlier in this thread who complained that all this stuff against nudity implies that patio parties are not legal. It just ain't so.

Posted by: blasmaic | March 27, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

This is issue so ridiculous that the police officers should all be reprimanded and the women who complained should be charged with filing a false complaint.

This sounds more and more like busy-bodies running roughshod over the rights of other citizens merely b/c they were "offended."

How long before Fairfax declares martial law because someone, somewhere is doing something that someone else doesn't like?

Posted by: B-rod | March 27, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Naked Guy was asking for a warrantless search of his house by having the nerve to sleep with his door left unlocked, right?

Why don't we just get rid of this silly warrant business and let the police go on a fishing expedition any time they want to? We might as well get rid of the rest of that civil liberty nonsense, too -- we weren't using them anyway.

Carrying an open beer in his yard -- horrors!

Posted by: elizestrada | March 27, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

1) He lived in a house owned by his boss? 2) he was evicted
3) he should consider a new occupation with free housing
4) A Catholic Priest.

argh.

Posted by: afsd | March 27, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

check that.
doubt he could wear a robe.

Posted by: afsd | March 27, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

wander outside to the cops with a beer at 0930?!?

Posted by: mloaks | March 27, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Ah, the wife felt offended so the cops take it on themselves to persecute the supposed evil-doer. Meanwhile, in corporate suites across DC, taxpayers nationwide are being raped silly but that's not only ok, those criminals get big bonuses.

Posted by: hairguy01 | March 27, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Good thing he didn't own a dog because the cops would have shot it to death ala Cheye Calvo.

Posted by: ozpunk | March 27, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

"Judge" Roush is a mo-ron. Obviously, this should have been dismissed with stern plecture to the cops to get a warrant if they want to go in.

Roush is just too stupid to get it.

Posted by: RogerRamjet2 | March 27, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

mloaks wrote: "wander outside to the cops with a beer at 0930?!?"

I'll tell you what- if I was peacefully sleeping in bed, and was suddenly woken up by three armed police officers inside my bedroom, guns drawn, asking me questions involving possible arrest or child molestation charges, as soon as I was alone I'd probably need a drink also, regardless of the time of day.

Posted by: yrral | March 27, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

So you're telling me I can't walk down Jefferson Davis Highway naked?

Posted by: PublicEnemy1 | March 27, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

You can't carry an open beer outside in Fairfax County? What, no patio parties?


Posted by: dottie_b | March 26, 2010 8:50 PM

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

My question, exactly.

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | March 26, 2010 11:02 PM
------------------------

You can't take a beer onto the street; which, I imagine, is where the police were. You'd be fine with a beer on private property.

Posted by: BigBubba1 | March 27, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

He is just lucky the police didn't shoot and kill him. Then he would have had a couple of hours of news media & Nancy Grace would have complimented the Fairfax County police on killing a child molester.

Posted by: VA_Bob | March 27, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

The cop just had to do something. He couldn't go back to the frau empty handed. If she hadn't of been an officer's wife, no one would have ever heard of this and the cops would not have interrupted their donut break.

Posted by: Calabrese99

-------

You must have a lot of practice with a hammer...you just hit the nail squarely on the head.

Posted by: streff | March 27, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

I wish there was a poll with people's political affiliation and their opinion on this issue. I'm willing to bet that all the people who think this guy is guilty/wrong/sick are the same Law-and-order types blathering on every day about America going-to-he!l-in-a-handbag, and that most of the people saying they think that the police/justice system are in the wrong on this one are the people that the law-and-order types routinely call "Anti-America","Pinko-Commie-liberals', et cetera. It's amazing how so many people claim to want to protect our Freedoms and "The American Way of Life", and this and that, but then have the NIMBY mindset when something like this happens.

BFD. A Man was standing nude in his doorway. I've seen alot more of alot of people than I'd like to over the years. It happens. Deal with it. It's not like the guy busted into your shower or even your back yard or street. The guy was in his own house. Regardless of the police's behavior (which stinks by the way), Do I have a legal responsibility to make sure that I'm living up to community standards when I'm on my own property? OH WAIT, nobody on the law and order side of the fence even cares. They've already made their mind that the guy is a sicko and perv and this and that.

If America is on the Road to Tyranny this is a far more telling indicator than anything the Federal or even State Government s can do.

Posted by: JoeMck | March 27, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

This is outrageous conduct by the police to enter a residence without a warrant for something as minor is indecent exposure. I think that the defendant should sue Fairfax Co. I'ld probably award him money.

Posted by: ANONS | March 27, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Only in America, the Land of the Prudes. No wonder Europe kicked out the Puritans.

Posted by: pjs1965 | March 27, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Imagine that... Fairfax County police over-reacting, and ignoring the Constitution entirely by entering someone's HOME without a warrant.
Why even HAVE a constitution if were going to live in a police state anyway?

Posted by: jeffc6578 | March 27, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Fairfax County.
Someone makes a report of a nude person in a house.

The Fairfax police then have probable cause to enter the house without a warrent because there was a unlocked door.

The Fairfax police found a person in the house and under gun point took his picture.

They took the picture to another person and used that person's identification to arrest the person in the house.

The Fairfax police then called the arrested person's boss and informed him of the arrest.

WHAT LAWS DO THE FAIRFAX COUNTY POLICE GO BY? Is Fairfax county exempt fron the US Constituion?

Posted by: Jimof1913 | March 27, 2010 8:43 PM | Report abuse

As a previous poster aptly notes, being in your house naked is legal. Looking in, as long as it is from public property, I don't actually think is illegal but definitely creepy. If a man had admitted to watching a woman naked in her house, we'd have a whole different situation. And this poor guy's life is ruined regardless of how the case comes out. I'm totally disgusted with how some police in NOVA conduct themselves. It stains the many (I still try to believe there are many) honorable members of that profession.

Posted by: DG99501 | March 28, 2010 5:45 AM | Report abuse

What about one of the officer's wives being a 'victim'? The whole story has been fishy from the beginning. Seeing that they had no warrant and the knob was 'unlocked' even though they had a missing pane of glass to easily unlock it with.

Posted by: Crucialitis | March 28, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Once they found out no one was harmed they should have left. Without a warrant they shouldn't have been in there. This is ridiculous, the man lost his job and house for being nude at the wrong time and place. Unfortunately this lawsuit is going to cost me more taxes, but NOVA police really messed up.

Posted by: jper1 | March 28, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

With this absurdity dragging out for almost 6 months this guy has racked up some serious legal fees. The rest of us that enjoy our rights and our coffee ought to put together some funding for his attorney. Its a real sad day when the court can overlook illegal police entry and charge someone for nudity INSIDE THEIR HOME!! LOOK THE OTHER WAY LADY!!!
Either way, it'd be nice to see the people get together some funds to help this guy out.

Posted by: Maury2 | March 28, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

oh for god sake, this weenie wagger got exactly what he deserved. your seven year old shouldnt be exposed to this nonsense! i was a detective and police officer in fairfax for 25 years, this crap is common! why do they always try to make the cop out to be the bad guy? he knows what he did, now fess up and do your time ya pervert!

Posted by: djlojak | March 29, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Come on people... two women at different times called about the same guy standing in his doorway. The police did nothing the first time and started looking into it on the second complaint. They had confirmation a guy was exposing himself to the public. I got no problem with people being naked in their homes... but I know guys like to expose themselves for their own thrills. Many see him as some innocent coffee drinker. I hope the officers had gloves on and checked him with a black light before they arrested him. Alrighty Then!

Posted by: AceVentura | March 29, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

djlojak... You got it..

To make the bad guy look better.. you have to trash the cops and the people making the complaint.

I have a question... why walk around naked to make coffee but put on pants and go to bed? This guy got what he had coming.

Posted by: AceVentura | March 29, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: jper1
"Once they found out no one was harmed they should have left. Without a warrant they shouldn't have been in there."

So if I steal from a store.. nobody is harmed.. so the police should let me go too?

Yes, they should have been there. They received two complaints for the same thing. This perv needed to be stopped.

I am pleased the entire world knows about his perversion. Do not feel sorry for him at all.

Posted by: AceVentura | March 29, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

It is amusing how everyone immediately sides with the naked guy without knowing all of the facts...we weren't there, people...we don't know all the facts and will never know ALL of the facts.
As always, the police is wrong. Two complaints for the same guy by "victims" as one was called...yeah, it's a conspiracy against an "innocent" naked guy. Come on, people.

Posted by: AT08 | March 30, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

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