Bob Smith reasonably fears for his life.  A man yielding a knife, who is significantly larger than Bob, makes Bob believe that at any moment, he could be stabbed and killed.  Bob chooses not to run for it.  He pulls out a gun from his waistband and blows the perpetrator away.  Seems like a clear case of justifiable use of force. This is Florida, after all.  Bob chose to stand his ground.  There’s just one problem.  Bob is a convicted felon and isn’t allowed to legally possess a firearm.  Does he still have the right to obtain immunity under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” (SYG) law?

Former Florida State Senator Durell Peaden, who sponsored the original Stand Your Ground legislation in 2005, argues that if, as a convicted felon, one lost one’s right to bear arms, then one shouldn’t have the same protections that “law-abiding citizens should have.”  Many here in Florida agree with Peaden. The Florida Supreme Court will soon address this previously unresolved issue.  They’re reviewing a case that stems from Palm Beach County.  In that case, Brian Bragdon, a 25-year-old convicted cocaine dealer, shot two men outside a strip club.  Bragdon argues that he was defending himself.  Prosecutors, however, maintain that he doesn’t have the right to argue Stand Your Ground against the attempted murder charges because he’s a convicted felon, and, thus, should not have been in possession of a gun.  Two Florida appellate courts have ruled differently on this same issue.  It will take the highest court in Florida to resolve this.

Under the Stand Your Ground statute in Florida, a person is not legally required to retreat from someone and may use deadly force if they reasonably fear death or great bodily harm.  Prosecutors point to a portion of the law that eliminates the right of a person to argue SYG if that person was “engaged in an unlawful activity.”  The purpose for that language was, for example, to prevent a burglar from arguing Stand Your Ground after shooting someone while burglarizing their home.  Prosecutors want to use that language in the statute to argue that felons using guns shouldn’t be able to argue SYG as a defense because it’s unlawful for felons to carry gun, and thus, they, like a murdering burglar, were engaged in “unlawful activity.”

The issue is whether that is a fair interpretation of the law.  Additionally, another issue is whether it’s fair to deprive convicted felons of the right that every other citizen has.  I believe that the higher court will give felons the right to argue SYG.  The felon’s background has little to do with the details of the case for which he is charged. It’s important to note that even if the Supreme Court of Florida gives felons like Brian Bragdon the right to argue Stand Your Ground, it doesn’t mean that a judge and/or jury will buy it.  He still faces life in prison if the facts are tantamount to murder as opposed to self defense.

Here’s another one.  Another story from the criminal arena that will have you shaking your head.  A 19-year-old man from Austin, Texas chose to make and sell brownies and now is facing up to life in prison.  OK, so I’m leaving out a few details.  He laced the baked goods with additional “ingredients” that were intended to get consumers “baked.”  Because he added marijuana and hash oil to the mix, he faces a felony charge with outrageous possible sanctions.  Welcome to Texas.

Texas law enforcement found at the offender’s apartment 1.5 pounds of brownies, digital scales, a pound of marijuana, approximately $1600 in cash and dozens of baggies with hash oil and marijuana.  Police came to his apartment because they received complaints about “marijuana use.”

In Texas, possessing 4 grams of hash oil is enough for a first degree felony charge.  Apparently, this defendant, who had never been arrested prior to this bust, had 145 grams of hash oil.  Hash oil possession results in much more severe sanctions than marijuana.  The THC level in hash is much higher than in marijuana.  It’s actually in the same penalty group as amphetamines and ecstasy.  Additionally, because the defendant used hash oil, prosecutors are permitted to add up the total weight of brownies and tag him with manufacturing and distributing 1.5 pounds of that substance.

This one concerns me.  Without question, the offender deserves to be punished, however, a potential life sentence for this offense is outrageous.  In theory, if he, or another potential offender were to sprinkle a little cocaine into a huge drum containing 10 pounds of beer, he could be charged with trafficking in 10 pounds of cocaine, because the entire contents of the drum would be weighed.  That doesn’t make much sense.

Here’s the good news.  Prosecutors have something called, “Prosecutorial discretion.”  This case cries out for them to use it.  They will hopefully come up with a fair sentence for what he chose to do.  I’m confident that the legislators didn’t intend on this 19 year old, with no priors, to suffer in prison for decades for this offense.  My experience, having been both a prosecutor and defense lawyer for over two decades, is that typically these types of offenders can turn their lives around.  Hopefully, prosecutors will give him a chance to do so on this one.

What do you believe is the appropriate sentence for a man who murders another man in front of his children, then kidnaps and rapes his ex-girlfriend, and then shoots at a cop?  Probation?  Kidding.  Many believe that the ultimate sanction should be imposed for those series of abhorrent offenses.  Well, that’s exactly what the judge did.  Russell Bucklew is currently on Missouri’s death row and was scheduled to die last night.  What saved him?

Justice Samuel Alito of the U.S. Supreme Court temporary delated the execution of Bucklew literally two hours before a lethal cocktail was to be injected into his veins.  The Court is reviewing his case today.  He can still be put to death by 12:01 Thursday as his death warrant is still in effect.  If he exhausts all his appeals by then, he will be killed by the State of Missouri.

So what did his lawyers argue to successfully get the brief stay?  They alleged that a rare illness that Bucklew possesses would make a lethal injection excruciating, and thus, a violation of the Constitution.  Because the State couldn’t show that Bucklew’s allegation was incorrect, they put the execution on hold.  The justices wrote, “Bucklew’s unrebutted medical evidence demonstrates the requisite sufficient likelihood of unnecessary pain and suffering beyond the constitutionally permissible amount inherent in all executions.”  They further wrote, “The irreparable harm to Bucklew is great in comparison to the harm to the state from staying the execution.”

Allegedly, Bucklew suffers from a cavernous hemangioma, a medical condition which creates big masses in his neck and head.  He argued that the tumors could prevent proper circulation of the drugs, which would prolong his death and cause him extreme pain.  That extraordinary pain that he would allegedly suffer, his attorneys argue, would violate the constitution’s protection against cruel and unusual punishment.

Naturally, the mother of Bucklew’s murder victim was very upset by the last minute delay.

I’m shaking my head on this one.  What’s uncontroverted is that his crime was atrocious and cruel.  What’s also not in dispute is that a Missouri jury determined that prison was too good for him and that he had to die.  What has halted that process is that the injection of lethal drugs may cause him some pain, more than permitted under the law?  What?  I’m sure the victim’s family is losing sleep over that, passionately crying, “Please don’t cause him any extra pain!” (That’s what’s called “sarcasm”)  Let me just say this, I think its more “cruel and unusual” to all parties involved to delay this execution based on these grounds then to proceed as planned.  I’m sure there are those who would make the argument that the death process should hurt a lot more than it does.  Regardless of the ultimate decision by the higher court, I do hope they decide this one quickly and justly.

If you’ve got a pulse, you’ll be angered by this one.  Milwaukee County Sheriffs Deputy Joseph Quiles alleges in his official report that he was driving his squad car when he came upon a stop sign.  He claims that he stopped his vehicle and then looked both ways before pulling out.  He then claims that he never saw any headlights when he suddenly struck a car driven by Tanya Weyker.  What happened next is nothing short of unbelievable.

Cops arrested her for five separate charges, including drunk driving resulting in injury.  The injury was actually  to Ms. Weyker, who suffered a fractured neck as a result of the February 2013 crash.  The injuries she sustained were too severe to allow her to perform field sobriety tests and/or even provide a breath sample.

Without any independent witness and/or video evidence, Ms. Weyker would be in a horrible predicament.  Her serious criminal case would be based almost exclusively on the words of law enforcement officers.  Fortunately, more evidence surfaced recently.

An investigation into both the crash and subsequent arrest yielded a video from a nearby surveillance camera.  What can clearly be seen is that Deputy Quiles’ squad car  never made a complete stop.  Weyker wasn’t responsible for the crash, the deputy was!  Additionally, the blood samples of Ms. Weyker taken by doctors at the hospital showed that she had no alcohol in her system on the night in question.  Furthermore, the fact that the headlights to Weyker’s Toyota Camry come on automatically should have been a red flag to investigators that the deputies’ claim that she didn’t have her lights on was meritless.

In spite of the overwhelming evidence of her innocence, it took months before prosecutors decided to drop charges against her.  Additionally, she is still waiting for the state to pay her medical bills for the injuries she sustained in the crash.

I’ve been in the criminal arena as a prosecutor and a criminal defense attorney for over two decades and I’m still angered and frustrated by stories like this.  I’m hoping that prosecutors charge this deputy with criminal offenses.  Additionally, I’m hoping that they demand that he go to jail for his actions.  The message to law enforcement  must be that if you manufacture evidence and/or falsely arrest someone, you must pay with your liberty.  I wouldn’t be opposed to a minimum mandatory prison term for cops like Quiles who attempt to frame innocent citizens.

In my most recent post, I described the miscarriage of justice in the case of New York vs. Jonathan Fleming. Fleming, a 51- year-old convicted murderer, was in the process of serving his 25th year of a 25 years to life sentence when he was recently released.  Turns out, he was innocent, just as he passionately alleged during his trial 25  years ago.

Cases like his make me think about all those other wrongfully convicted defendants.  Additionally, I ponder about those who are on death row, facing the ultimate sanction for crimes they did not commit.  While a single defendant falsely convicted is too many, I wish we knew an exact number.

A newly released study has created quite a stir, not only amongst those in the anti-death penalty community.  According to the study, more than four percent of inmates who are sentenced to death in the U.S. are probably innocent.  The researchers are calling their estimate a “conservative” one, noting that the number of capital defendants who were exonerated over the past thirty years is actually double (8%).  Researchers claim that the purpose of their study was to account for those innocent defendants who, unlike Jonathan Fleming, are never exonerated. 

The authors of the study reviewed the outcomes of the 7,482 death sentences given out from 1973 to 2004.  From that group, 117 were exonerated.  That’s 1.6 percent.  The researchers concluded that at least 4.1 percent of death row inmates would have ultimately been exonerated with sufficient additional time and resources.  That equates to another 200 death row inmates being cleared during those three decades.

Bottom line, innocent people are languishing in both the general prison population and on death row.  The recently released numbers should spark additional renewed dialogue and debate concerning the death penalty and the Criminal Justice System.  I’m not advocating any particular position.  I just want the facts to be out there.

If you’re one of the many who wonders, “How can you defend those guilty people?” then this article is for you.  Once again, another prisoner has been released after newly discovered evidence proves that he was innocent.  The latest defendant is Jonathan Fleming.  Fleming, who is 51- years-old, was in the process of serving his 25th year of a 25 years to life sentence when he was recently released.

In 1989, Fleming was convicted of Second Degree Murder after allegedly shooting, Darryl Alston, a rival drug dealer, on Aug. 15, 1989.  The shooting occurred in Brooklyn, New York.  His defense was very simple.  He unsuccessfully argued at his trial that he was at Disney World in Orlando with his family at the time of the shooting.  His attorneys presented evidence at trial that included plane tickets, video footage and vacation photos.  Prosecutors argued that Fleming could have returned to Brooklyn and shot the victim.  They even entered into evidence a list of 53 possible flights that he could have taken, casting some doubt on the testimony and evidence provided by Fleming’s family members.

The most compelling evidence prosecutors introduced during Fleming’s trial was testimony from eyewitness Jacqueline Belardo, who positively identified Fleming as the shooter.  That same “star witness” later recanted her testimony prior to sentencing, claiming that she identified Fleming solely to receive a dismissal of her grand larceny charges.  Prosecutors alleged that Ms. Belardo was lying.

It wasn’t until June 2013 that the Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU) began examining Fleming’s conviction after attorneys and investigators for the falsely accused brought in new witness statements.  In November, the CIU turned over to the defense police logs showing that their star witness Belardo, was charged with grand larceny after being found in a stolen van.  Law enforcement questioned her for several hours, resulting in her pointing her finger at Fleming.  About an hour later, her charges were dropped and she was released.

The most compelling piece of evidence the CIU turned over to the defense was a phone receipt.  Mr. Fleming paid a phone bill at the Quality Inn in Orlando at 9:27 p.m. on August 14, 1989.  That made it almost impossible for him to have made it back to Brooklyn in time for the 2:15 a.m. shooting on August 15th.  The receipt was never part of the evidence at trial.  The lead detective claimed during the 1989 trial cross examination that he didn’t recall recovering it.  Investigators found the receipt in the case file last year.

Additional new evidence included a report from the Orlando Police Department.  In the report, it was revealed that Quality Inn staff members remembered Mr. Fleming being in the hotel.  At his trial, only family members vouched for his presence in Orlando.  Furthermore, after witnesses to the shooting were re-interviewed, their testimony pointed to a different suspect.

In recommending the dismissal of the charges against him, the prosecutor told Judge Matthew J. D’Emic that had the newly disclosed evidence been available at trial, the “likely outcome of the trial would have been different.”

This case is so troubling for me.  25 years!!!  He went from having a wonderful time with his family hanging with Mickey and Minnie to the abhorrent brutality of a New York prison as quickly as you can say, “injustice.”  Unfortunately, these things happen too often.  The new Brooklyn district attorney Kenneth P. Thompson inherited dozens of wrongful conviction cases when he took office this year.  Additionally, his office is reviewing 50 cases handled by detective Louis Scarcella, who has been accused of using illegal tactics to frame suspects.  Scarcella wasn’t part of the Fleming case.

I think of the many who still languish in prison for crimes that they didn’t commit.  I also think of those whose cases are currently pending that may be convicted as a result of the corruption of a few crooked cops.  I need to remind myself of those injustices and potential future injustices every day to keep me working as zealously as I do for those accused.

Hopefully you’ll think of Jonathan Fleming the next time you ponder, “How can you defend those guilty people?”

 

 

Minutes ago, 42 year old Michel Escoto was convicted of murdering his wife.  It took twelve years from the vicious beating to today’s first degree murder conviction.  Jurors took just 2 1/2 hours to convict Escoto, who committed the murder to collect on a $1 million life insurance policy.  The trial took a month and was anything but typical.

As has been repeatedly reported, this defendant believed it was in his best interest to act as his own attorney.  The Constitution does give him the right to have a fool for a client.  The question is, “Was this a smart move?”

The obvious answer is, “Hell no!  Look at the outcome.”  Even ignoring the guilty verdict for one moment, it still was dooms day from the start for this convicted murderer.  I must concede that it was theoretically possible that this guy, who never attended law school and had never handled a traffic ticket for himself or anyone else, could have pulled off an acquittal.  I’ll grant him that generic possibility.  In reality, however, his chances of winning, from the start, were always so low, so remote, approaching almost no real value.

Trial work is an art form.  Effective cross examination is a unique skill cultivated over years of practice.  This defendant was misled by his ego that erroneously told him that he was his best choice for lead attorney.  I told one local reporter that I would tell this now convicted defendant, “Your ego is not your amigo.”

I’m not suggesting that having a skilled and experienced attorney will ensure an acquittal.  Candidly, I think some cases are losers for the defense, unless David Copperfield is on retainer and can make overwhelming evidence disappear.  However, in this case, a veteran attorney was appointed on behalf of this now convicted murderer and he played a minor role, at the request of the defendant.  The skilled attorney should have been cross examining witnesses instead of the defendant.

At one point, the defendant was held in contempt by the judge and then ordered to serve 30 days in jail.  The problem with that is that jurors saw Escoto act up in court and anger the only person they trust in that the courtroom, the judge.  Avoiding conflicts with the judge that may give the impression that the judge favors the other side is something that trial lawyers learn early on in their career.  Escoto, having never litigated a day in his life, wouldn’t have learned that critical lesson.

The clear takeaway from this trial is that one should never represent themselves in a criminal case, especially when the charge is as serious as this one.  If Ted Bundy were still around, he’d surely agree with me.

 

 

Yesterday, I wrote about Superior Court Judge Jan Jurden, who made a decision that has resulted in her receiving a number of death threats.  See:  http://www.floridacriminaldefenselawyerblog.com/2014/04/jail-child-rapist.html  Many are demanding her removal from the bench.  As I shared with you in the article, the judge sentenced a man who raped his three year old daughter to probation instead of prison.  The offender was a du Pont family heir.

The outrage stemmed primarily from what the judge wrote in her sentencing order:  “He would not fare well in prison.”  She used that as a mitigator in doling out the very light sentence.  Nowhere in her order did she attempt to justify her sentence by alleging that the prosecution’s evidence was weak in any way.  That fact, in my opinion, would have served as the only possible reason to justify probation in this horrific case.   So, naturally, in yesterday’s blog post, I was very critical of this judge’s judgment.  Additionally, based upon the facts that were available to me when I wrote the article, I put the blame solely on the judge.

Many attorneys, both prosecutors and defense lawyers, are coming to the judge’s defense.  Based upon the facts that just came to my attention, I am now jumping on that band wagon, to some extent.

What I just learned was that the prosecutor handling the case recommended a sentence of probation.  The judge didn’t come up with that on her own.  Prosecutors apparently had challenges proving this case.  For example, there reportedly was no physical evidence to corroborate the child’s claims.  Additionally, prosecutors were concerned about putting a young child witness on the stand where she invariably would have faced vigorous cross-examination and possible further victimization.  It’s important to note that child witnesses can be very unpredictable in front of a jury.  Prosecutors never announced on the record all the reasons why they recommended probation.

In recommending probation, prosecutors thought there was a strong probability that they may lose the case and thought a felony conviction and getting him on the  state sex offenders registry was better than possibly getting nothing as a result of an acquittal.  Additionally, it was prosecutors who initially charged the defendant with second-degree rape, and then lowered the charge to fourth-degree rape.  The recommended sentence for that offense is zero to 30 months in prison.  So the judge did legally sentence du Pont within the guidelines.

Many will read this and think, as did I in yesterday’s article, “While she was legally permitted to sentence him to probation, she morally shouldn’t have.” I will in no way attempt to persuade you otherwise.  What is imperative to point out is how the criminal system will be adversely affected if judge’s routinely ignore sentencing recommendations from prosecutors.  If judge’s don’t follow what the state recommends, then defense attorneys can’t recommend that their clients plead guilty and accept plea bargains.  Instead, they will be forced to tell clients, “This judge is a loose cannon and if you plead guilty, this judge may give you a lot more than what the prosecutor has agreed to recommend.”  If that were to happen, then the system would shut down.  Plea bargains are a necessary evil of the system.  It keeps the system moving.  There’s no way judges can try every case.  That’s what will happen if judges don’t back prosecutors on most pleas.

Could this have been that one case that the judge decided, “No Mr. Prosecutor, I won’t accept that lenient sentence recommendation in this case because the facts are just too abhorrent and he is too much of a danger to the community?”  Possibly.  However, this judge should assume, as most do, that prosecutors know the ins and outs of their case better than anyone.  They know the strengths, weaknesses, mitigators etc. better than anyone.  It was reasonable for this generally experienced and fair judge to rely on the prosecutor for sentencing guidance.

The point of writing this article is to change my position to some extent based upon my new information.  I believe that the judge doesn’t bear full responsibility for the outcome of this case.  Prosecutors made the recommendation for probation.  They did so because of challenges that they faced with their case.  I believe much of this controversy wouldn’t have started if the judge had made that clear in her sentencing order.  I would have had a different opinion had the judge written in her sentencing order, “Additionally, prosecutors recommended that the defendant be sentenced to probation.”

 

This isn’t a belated April Fool’s post.  This really happened.  A wealthy guy rapes his three year old daughter.  The judge, Judge Jan Jurden, sentenced Robert H. Richards IV, a wealthy du Pont heir, to probation.  Prosecutors passionate sought a ten year minimum mandatory prison sentence.  What’s most troubling about this story isn’t his sentence…it’s the reason the judge gave for the sentence.

In her sentencing order, Judge Jurden claimed she considered “unique circumstances” when deciding his punishment for fourth-degree rape.  She felt that du Pont would  “not fare well” in prison and needed treatment in lieu of prison time.

Not surprisingly, many people are outraged by the judge’s decision and reasoning.  Some claim that her rationale would serve as better justification if the offender was a drug addict and not a child rapist.

What’s also intriguing is that this particular judge is known by both prosecutors and defense attorneys as a “tough sentencing judge.”  Judge Jurden has been a judge since 2001.

Many who criticized the sentence pointed out correctly that prison officials can put inmates in protective custody if they have concerns about their safety.  It’s no secret that child rapists are often targeted by other inmates.

As an attorney who has prosecuted and defended many of these types of cases, I am extremely surprised at the sentence.  I am even more shocked at the rationale the judge gave for the lenient sentence.  This defendant wasn’t frail and meek.  Records show that he was  6 feet, 4 inches tall and between 250 and 276 pounds.  He had no known physical ailments.  Candidly, even if he was 5 foot tall and 95 pounds, I would still take exception to the sentence.

As a defense lawyer, I would fight to get the same outcome.  I’d be thrilled if I could obtain probation instead of prison for one of my clients under these circumstances.  Regardless of what sentence I would seek professionally, I find that there was something very improper about the judge’s analysis on this one. Aristotle defined justice as, “Like cases being treated alike.”  Without question, this can safely be called an “injustice” in light of the disparity between what the judge doled out and what 99% of other judges in that same courthouse and around the country would have given.

Adding insult to injury, the defendant is extremely wealthy.  This judge did a phenomenal job perpetuating the majority of the public’s belief that it takes money to get an extraordinary outcome in the criminal arena.  Additionally, I wonder how many future rape victims will be impacted by this case.  Already, there’s a certain reluctance on many to come forward and confront their accuser.  A major source of their fear stems from their concern that the system won’t adequately punish the perpetrator.  This case seems to justify their concern.

I can only see justification for a sentence like this if the prosecution’s evidence was lacking.  In many of these cases, without physical evidence, and some contradictions in the testimony, prosecutors have a tough time proving the cases beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt.  Plea bargains, even lenient ones, become necessary in those instances.  The thought process is, it’s better to get something rather than nothing.  This case didn’t have any of those evidentiary challenges.  The judge didn’t cite a “lack of evidence” as the reason for her extraordinary generosity.  As a result, I think the judge’s sentence, without hearing more, is a miscarriage of justice.

INTRODUCTION

A cop comes home after a long day at work.  His wife rushes to greet him at the door and enthusiastically asks, “Honey, how was your day?”  He responds, “It was rough, but very productive.  We did another prostitution sting and made over 30 arrests.”  The wife smiles proudly and exclaims, “Way to go baby!  I’m so proud of you.”  He responds, “I need to shower and rest, after all the  sex I had today.”  Shocked and bewildered, the wife says, “Did I just hear you correctly?  You had sex today?”  He fires back with, “I know.  It sucks.  This police work is not what I thought it would be.  Having sex with all these prostitutes so we can make the arrest is very tiring”  Putting aside, for just one moment, what would go on in that marital home after that brief and shocking exchange, I must ask one question, “Can that happen legally?  Can a cop legally have sex with a prostitute, assuming it’s all in the line of duty?”  The answer may surprise you.

 ANALYSIS

In cheesy television cop dramas, law enforcement officers slap handcuffs on the prostitutes as soon as there’s an agreement reached to exchange money for a particular sex act.  Typically, you never see the cop actually receiving the service of the sex worker.  That would be absurd.  Also, what viewer would think that it was realistic?  Surprisingly, one state in this wonderful union of ours legally permits officers to actually have sex with the prostitutes  before arrest.  Here’s a hint, “Book em’ Danno!”  That’s right, police officers from Hawaii are fighting to keep a state law that permits them to have the flexibility to actually have sex with the prostitutes.  They argue that if undercover cops are no longer permitted to engage in sex acts with prostitutes then they would be able to change their tactics and filter out officers.   Further, they maintain that if the law enforcement exemption is deleted, prostitutes would demand that the sex occur before money changes hand.  Cops call that, “cop checking,” the practice by prostitutes of filtering out officers.

The reaction from civil rights groups and victims’ advocates has been extremely strong.  They call law enforcement’s position, “ridiculous.”  They believe that this controversial “investigative tool” is extremely problematic.  They point to states like Georgia, California, Illinois, New York, Texas and Washington, D.C., states with much higher rates of sex trafficking and prostitution than Hawaii, as examples of states that don’t allow actual penetration to be used by cops during prostitution sting investigations.  In those states, they argue, cops have no problems making viable, successful and lawful arrests.

Just last month, Hawaiian lawmakers in the state House voted to preserve the exemption.  However, the Senate’s Judiciary Committee deferred a vote until later this week.

Another option other than banning the law is a proposed amendment that lawmakers will consider.  It permits officers to touch adult prostitutes, however, they wouldn’t be legally permitted to “sexually penetrate” them.  When it comes to underage prostitutes, officers would not be permitted to touch them.

OPINION

After working in the criminal arena for over two decades, few things shock me any more.  Candidly, hearing that cops were allowed to legally penetrate the prostitutes that they arrest is one of those things that definitely shocks me.  If this was the law in Amsterdam, I wouldn’t give it a second thought.  The fact that it’s on the books in the United States is unbelievable and troubling.

I’ve prosecuted and defended many prostitution cases.  I’ve never heard of cops having challenges making sufficient arrests solely because they couldn’t engage in the physical act.  There’s always been numerous prostitution cases coming in and out of the criminal system solely based on discussion without having to consummate the act they discussed.  In the few instances where some cases may be jeopardized because Toiletta, Falopia and/or Amber need to have sex to “cop check,” then I say, “Let em’ go.”  Nothing is worth having a law on the books like the one they have in Hawaii.

CONCLUSION

I think it’s a matter of time before this law is abolished.  Now that many more have been made aware of it, I think legislators will finally tell cops, “No.  You’ve got to make your arrests without actually having sex with these gals.”  As for the hypothetical cop discussed above who discloses to his wife that he’s been engaged in a day of sex acts all in the name of law enforcement, I say, “Good luck my friend.  You’re going to need it.  Aloha!”

 

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