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November 28, 2014

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Man suspected of upskirt photography on Strip headed to trial

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Christopher DeVargas

Jonas Maxwell appears before Judge Eric Goodman at the Regional Justice Center on Monday, Aug. 19, 2013.

Jonas Maxwell

Jonas Maxwell appears before Judge Eric Goodman at the Regional Justice Center on Monday, Aug. 19, 2013. Launch slideshow »

After 11 months in limbo, being begrudgingly put on house arrest and a brief stint in jail, a Las Vegas man now has a date in court on charges he tried to take upskirt photos of women on the Strip.

Jonas Maxwell, 56, is charged in Las Vegas Township Justice Court with three misdemeanor counts of attempt to capture an image of a private area of another person. A bench trial in front of Judge Eric Goodman is set for 9 a.m. Oct. 7.

The case has been unusual from the start.

Maxwell was arrested in September 2012 but wasn’t charged until Wednesday because the Clark County District Attorney’s Office was awaiting results from a forensics lab. Prosecutors kept going to court to ask for more time to officially file charges against Maxwell.

In July, Maxwell attended one of the hearings and immediately crossed Goodman. Maxwell had been arrested again in April for taking upskirt photos, and Goodman wanted him to stop putting himself at risk of additional arrests. Maxwell couldn’t assure Goodman that wouldn’t happen, so the judge put him under house arrest.

Maxwell’s public defender, Robert O’Brien, argued the judge overstepped his authority by ordering the house arrest since Maxwell hadn’t been charged with a crime.

O’Brien further argued that the house arrest put Maxwell at a financial disadvantage. House arrest costs $100 upfront and $12 a day thereafter. Most people on house arrest ask to be placed there because they don't want to be in jail. That wasn’t the case with Maxwell.

The legal battle intensified when Maxwell went to lunch at the Palms, violating provisions of the house arrest order. The violation landed him in the Clark County Detention Center. There, authorities wanted him to sign new house arrest paperwork, but Maxwell wouldn’t because of his “libertarian mindset,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien pleaded with Goodman to cut Maxwell loose, arguing that Maxwell hadn’t been charged with a crime and shouldn’t be under house arrest, let alone in jail. Goodman wouldn’t budge.

Maxwell was in jail because of his own stubbornness, Goodman contended.

A few days after Goodman ruled Maxwell would have to sign or sit in jail, prosecutors filed charges and Maxwell signed the paperwork.

Now, Maxwell is under house arrest with orders to stay away from casinos, computers and phones with camera capabilities.

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