Prostitution Sting

Here’s a little blurb out of today’s SF Gate / SF Chronicle:

“Police in Fairfield arrested 14 men for allegedly soliciting prostitutes over the weekend.
The men are accused of approaching undercover police officers who were posing as prostitutes and offering them money in exchange for sex Friday and Saturday.
Police booked the suspects at Solano County Jail.”

The story goes on to mention the names of those arrested. Public shaming of people who are accused of a crime, not convicted, and presumed innocent. Well, welcome to the new America. So, be careful of what kind of ad you answer on the Internet.

They will undoubtedly be charged with a violation of Section 647(b) of the Penal Code, a misdemeanor, soliciting an act of prostitution. I’m not sure what they’re doing with these cases in Solano County Court. In San Francisco they make you cough up $500.00 for a class in AIDS education and then dismiss. In Alameda County they want deferred entry of judgment, which means you have to plead guilty and then they’ll dismiss it in a year, but that still shows up as conviction for many purposes including immigration. I’m battling a couple of these cases in Oakland right now.

Then, as noted, there’s the potential immigration consequence. 647(b) is an act of moral turpitude, but it will probably fall under the petty offense exceptions. It’s still going to cause some problems at the border if you leave the country and are not a US citizen, but if your paperwork is otherwise in order you’re probably getting back into the USA. I’m not an immigration expert, but this is what the pros have told me.

Prostitution brings up a lot of issues. Human trafficking is quite clearly a bad thing, but the argument has been made (I’ve usually seen it made in the SF Chronicle.) that sex work is a legitimate profession.

Lots to think about, but be extra careful about those ads. Might be worth the drive to Nevada.

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