In the realm of Prostitution, Promoting Prostitution, Solicitation and crimes relating to Escort Services,New York criminal defense attorneys often have to think out of the box to fight every battle for their client. Sometimes they are successful and sometimes they are not. One way to challenge a case is through a “Clayton” motion where a criminal defense attorney seeks the dismissal of a criminal case in the interest of justice. This motion can be made whether the case is for Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in Manhattan, Petit Larceny in Brooklyn, or Forgery in the Bronx. In fact, I have had tremendous success with similar applications on very serious matters where clients had faced felonies but had the charges reduced to the point where they had the opportunity to escape any criminal record at all.
In the past year, one criminal attorney, who should be applauded for his efforts, attempted to have his client’s Prostitution charge dismissed in the interest of justice. Unfortunately for his client, he was unsuccessful. In People v. Saori Sato, 2007CN004865, New York County (Manhattan) Criminal Court Judge Richard Weinberg denied the criminal defense attorney’s motion. The attorney argued that “prostitution is a victimless crime in which two equal contracting parties negotiate for the performance of an act proscribed in private by consenting adults.”
Judge Weinberg responded to that argument by stating that “if [the argument] were adopted, [it] would compel the Court to dismiss every prostitution case on its docket and would require the Court to improperly substitute its judgment for that of the Legislature.Furthermore, to argue that Prostitution is a victimless crime overlooks the impact that this activity may have on the health of the participants as well as innocent third parties and on the viability of neighborhoods where this activity occurs. To characterize the alleged transaction as a simple contract negotiation between equals ignores the reality that the circumstances of the parties are often quite disparate.” In other words…thanks for trying, but you are denied!
Any criminal defense attorney should be commended for zealously advocating for their client even if it is a difficult position. After all, you are innocent until proven guilty. That being said, an experienced criminal defense attorney knows what to argue, how to argue, and when to argue. In other words, there is a time and place to make the strongest challenges that have the greatest likelihood of success. That knowledge comes from experience. As a former prosecutor who served for seven years in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, I have the experience and knowledge to give you the best opportunity to get you where you want and need to be.