It is the fundamental theory of all the more recent American law…that the average citizen is half-witted, and hence not to be trusted to either his own devices or his own thoughts. - H.L. Mencken
Our monthly roundup of short news stories that remind me of past columns.
Lack of Evidence (December 16th, 2010)
In this column I wrote that in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina,
…winking is evidence of prostitution. In Detroit, not wearing a bra and/or panties serves a similar function, and in many places it’s having more than one condom in one’s purse. And for a woman to appear alone on a street has been used as evidence since the beginning of prohibition over a century ago. Cops are not allowed such ridiculous excuses for “evidence” for any other “crime”, so why are they allowed it for prostitution? It’s because it is the only human activity which is legal to perform for free but not for directly-negotiated pay, so physical evidence is impossible. There is no body, no stolen goods, no bruises; even DNA evidence recovered from a hooker’s skin could only suggest sex had occurred, not prostitution.
Undercover vice squad officers routinely come into contact with skeptical prostitutes wary that their prospective john may actually be a police officer. So, before discussing business, a hooker will often ask the purported sex-seeker to first expose himself, since that is a no-no for a cop. Anticipating this demand, a Florida detective “attempting to solicit prostitutes” last night hit the Sarasota streets with a “flaccid rubber replica of a penis” stuffed into his pants…when the detective asked [a woman he picked up] how much it would cost for oral sex, the woman was noncommittal…“I then exposed a flaccid rubber replica of a penis and placed a condom on it,” wrote Smith. “She immediately leaned over and put it into her mouth.” At this point…[the cop] spotted an opossum crossing the road and slammed on the brakes, “causing the female to slide out of her seat and mildly into the dashboard.” The report does not make clear whether she still had Smith’s sheathed fake penis in her mouth at the time…
Despite the known tendency of Sarasota cops to lie about vice operations, Florida is obviously stricter than states like Pennsylvania, where cops are allowed to get as naked as they like or even rape women before arresting them. But this ridiculous dildo dodge proves nothing except that a pervert cop had a sex toy in his car (big surprise). I hope she sues him for the head injury as the other Florida woman who was tased and beaten by cops is doing.
Thinking with the Wrong Head (March 2nd, 2011)
Nearly every politician sees whores, and practically none of them get caught because they have the sense to hire them from a discreet agency rather than trolling Craigslist like Chris Lee or cruising for streetwalkers like Kenneth Maag, the (now former) Mayor of Ottawa, Ohio:
Kenneth Maag resigned as the Mayor of Ottawa [Ohio] two weeks after his arrest on charges of soliciting prostitution…Maag also asked that his name be removed from the ballot in the upcoming election…[in which he] was running unopposed. Maag was arrested on [August 29th] …during a prostitution sting…[and] charged with solicitation for prostitution, a third degree misdemeanor…
CORRECTION, 10/5/11: I originally missed that this was a story from a city in Ohio and presumed it was Ottawa, Canada; my grievous error was called to my attention by a reader from the larger and more famous Canadian Ottawa. Boy, is my face red! Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa! And I’ll let my husband know that a spanking is due for my carelessness when he gets home from his current trip (and lest any of you think that’s no punishment, think again; his spankings hurt!)
He Said, She Said (March 4th, 2011)
When I mentioned the John Hopkins case again in my September 15th column, regular reader Bandoblue decided to investigate and discovered a link which led me to this New York Post follow-up from June 29th:
…John Hopkins, who had been in jail since his arrest in February, was released without bail after prosecutor Christina Fay told Brooklyn Judge Patricia DiMango that his accuser was loath to come back to New York to testify…The woman, who had a previous consensual S&M relationship with Hopkins, was found by cops curled in the fetal position, chained to a radiator. Hospital records showed she was suffering severe alcohol poisoning. She has since left the state and has missed several court appearances. Hopkins walked out of court hand-in-hand with his sister, an Episcopalian minister and former assistant district attorney in Maryland. [They] declined to comment, but his lawyer Andrew Stoll maintains Hopkins did not commit any crime. ”Innocent people get accused of crimes…Everyone should know that.”
Though Hopkins was released, his ordeal isn’t quite over yet; according to The Framing Business his case was scheduled for trial on September 20th, though I haven’t been able to dig up anything on how that went.
For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (March 22nd, 2011)
Many well-meaning people who believe themselves to be on our side call for prostitution to be “legalized and heavily regulated”; they do not understand that such “heavy” regulatory schemes are terribly unfair (subjecting whores to far more supervision, higher fees and nuisance inspections than other service jobs) and often have such onerous restrictions that they simply drive many women back underground. 70% of Nevada prostitutes prefer to work illegally than to subject themselves to the Draconian regime of the legal brothels, and if the scheme reported in the September 15th Edmonton Journal gets any more expensive, arbitrary and elaborate than what is described here, they’ll be right back where they started:
Proposed new rules for escort agencies and body-rub parlours will put Edmonton at Canada’s forefront for regulating erotic businesses, the city’s chief licensing officer says. Under recommended bylaw changes released Thursday, escorts and body-rub workers will need to take a sexual exploitation information session and prove they’re over 18 before receiving a business licence. Legitimate massage practitioners would be regulated separately from the steamy side of the field, with a lower fee and no more need for police checks. The city also wants to form a sex-industry enforcement team, similar to the group inspecting bars and nightclubs, that could include police, bylaw, health, employment and immigration, border services and community members…
…He expects the sexual exploitation course, the only one he knows about in Canada, would last two or three hours and cover such issues as employment standards and human trafficking. Police would be able to recommend to [licensing officer Roger] Kirillo whether he should give escort agencies and exotic entertainment agencies licences, based primarily on whether those in charge have a history of violence. The Ontario Court of Appeal still hasn’t ruled on a case that successfully challenged the constitutionality of laws against keeping a bawdy house, pimping and soliciting in public, but Kirillo said that isn’t the issue right now. “We’re not licensing prostitution. We’re licensing an adult entertainment and erotic industry”…
Setting aside the idea that a “training course” run by social workers who have never hooked a day in their lives could be anything but insulting and patronizing, as soon as an “enforcement team” and artificially-higher fees enter the picture the door is open for abuse. As for Kirillo’s crowing about this being the “forefront” of regulating erotic businesses, he’s obviously unfamiliar with the history of the subject because what he’s proposing is the same as the system established soon after the French Revolution, wherein police are allowed to decide who gets licenses. Any whore who bribes the police in money and sex as often as demanded, and madams who give cops the run of their establishments, get the OK and others don’t. This isn’t the “forefront” of anything; it’s plain old government pimping again.
One Year Ago Today
“Safe Targets” exposes an attempt to extort money from Denver escorts by threatening to trash their reputations, thus taking advantage of the vulnerability engendered by criminalization.