As I was browsing the Brockton Enterprise today I came across a story about two people arrested on unrelated prostitution charges a few nights ago. The arrests occurred in Brockton, Massachusetts. Around 10:00 p.m. Charie Shaw was arrested and charged with Sex For a Fee. About an hour later Kenneth Ritter was arrested and charged with Sexual Conduct for a Fee and Possession With Intent to Distribute a Class B substance. No more information was offered relative to the details of the alleged crimes.
I have been representing people accused of Soliciting a Prostitute and for Prostitution for over twenty-six years. In the past several years I have noticed a troubling trend among law enforcement agencies wherein undercover officers, posing as prostitutes approach men, engage them in discussions about their services and make an arrest. On countless occasions the accused comes into my office and makes clear that he was approached by the undercover cop and had no interest in engaging their proposed services. In most of the instances, once the officer has any discussion with her target a surveillance team swarms in and either makes an arrest or tells the individual that a summons will be sent to his home. Many times the interaction is far from a “discussion”. Rather, once the officer initiates the conversation an arrest is made. Many of these accused had absolutely no interest in the services of a prostitute nor did they have any interest in even continuing the discussion that the undercover initiated.
Not long ago I represented a lawyer charged with Solicitation of a prostitute. He was with colleagues, leaving a restaurant after a late night dinner. The undercover officer approached this man and his friends and offered sexual services. All of them declined. As they were walking away the officer looked at my client and reduced her price. He jokingly said “how about one million dollars?”. He was arrested. Fortunately his friends were able to corroborate his story and the charges were dismissed. But what about those occasions where someone does not have a witness? Hopefully the accused will hire someone experienced at resolving these cases in a manner in which there will be no trace of a criminal record.