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December 21, 2014

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Man accused of taking upskirt photos is banned from the Strip

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Christopher DeVargas

Jonas Maxwell looks towards his attorney, public defender Robert O’Brien, during a court appearance at 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 »

The man accused of taking upskirt photos of women will have to stay off the Strip and out of trouble for one year if he wants the case against him dismissed.

In a hearing today in Las Vegas Township Justice Court, Judge Pro Tempore Joseph T. Bonaventure ordered Jonas Maxwell to stay away from witnesses, put restrictions on what electronics he is allowed to have and banned him from the Strip.

If Maxwell doesn’t follow the rules he’ll be found guilty of one misdemeanor count of attempt to capture an image of a private area of another person and spend six months in jail.

Maxwell’s ability to stay out of trouble has been a question throughout his case.

The defendant drew the ire of Las Vegas Township Judge Eric Goodman when he was arrested in a different case for the same behavior.

Not knowing how else to keep the community safe, Goodman ordered Maxwell to house arrest.

Things got legally hairy at that point, complicated by what Maxwell’s public defender referred to as his client’s “libertarian mindset.”

When Goodman ordered Maxwell to house arrest in July 2013 after taking issue with Maxwell's attitude about the new arrest, Maxwell had yet to be charged with a crime.

Because the forensics lab was overworked, evidence pertaining to his September 2012 arrest hadn't been reviewed and prosecutors couldn't file charges.

Deputy Public Defender Robert O’Brien, argued the judge overstepped his authority by ordering 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 briefly landed him in the Clark County Detention Center. There, authorities wanted him to sign new house arrest paperwork, but Maxwell refused.

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 charged Maxwell with three misdemeanors and Maxwell signed the paperwork.

Two of those misdemeanors were dropped at the hearing today.

As part of the conditions for getting the case dismissed Maxwell also won’t be allowed to have “video recording equipment such as cellphones, camcorders or computer video equipment.”

He can have a cellphone, as long as the camera is rendered useless. He is allowed to work on a laptop.

If Maxwell does step out of line, he won’t get any credit for the time he served on house arrest, Bonaventure ruled.

A status check is set for April 4.

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