According to reports, ex-Giant Lawrence “L.T.” Taylor pleaded guilt to the misdemeanors of Patronizing a Prostitute and Sexual Misconduct this afternoon in full satisfaction of his arrest and charges stemming from his alleged statutory rape of a 16 year old girl. It is likely that LT saw the “writing on the wall” if he decided to fight the case at trial. Unfortunately, for Mr. Taylor, it is not a legal defense to say that he believed, genuinely or not, that the girl was 19 or 25 for that matter. The former All-Pro linebacker is not out of the woods yet. It appears as if Mr. Taylor will be sentenced to probation, but will also have to register as a sex offender.
Patronizing a Prostitute is a fairly straight forward offense. A person is guilty of Patronizing a Prostitute in the Third Degree, New York Penal Law 230.04, when he or she patronizes a prostitute. Generally, patronizing includes an agreement or exchange of sexual conduct (it need not be penetration) for a fee.
Sexual Misconduct differs from Patronizing a Prostitute. According to New York Penal Law section 130.20, a person is guilty of this crime when:
1. He or she engages in sexual intercourse with another person without such person’s consent; or 2. He or she engages in oral sexual conduct or anal sexual conduct with another person without such person’s consent; or 3. He or she engages in sexual conduct with an animal or a dead human body.
While he may have sacked lions, colts and even bears, its is likely that LT did not perpetrate the offense as described in subsection three. He admitted to the crime as set forth in one of the other two subsections. The failure of consent on the part of the young girl was an inability to consent based on her age. In other words, she was too young to consent even if she agreed to have some form of sexual intercourse with the former linebacker. It is important to note that New York Penal Law 130.20 is a crime specified under the Sex Offender Registration Act.
While I clearly was not privy to the discussions between Mr. Taylor’s attorney and the prosecutors, Mr. Taylor certainly played his hand correctly from a criminal defense perspective. The original offer of a felony plea and six months jail was a ridiculous offer. Because he face no minimum sentence and a maximum of one and one third to four years in prison, there would be no reason to take a plea to a felony with jail. At that point, even with strong evidence against him, he should go to trial. There was no incentive to take a plea when he could have gotten that much jail or around that much time even if he were convicted. From the prosecution’s perspective, it is likely they too realized that there was no incentive for Mr. Taylor to plea to a felony with six months jail. Moreover, they probably recognized that if they did not sweeten the deal, they would be forced to put the young teenage girl on the stand where she would be subject to cross examination and potentially the media. Whether I am correct in my analysis or not, Mr. Taylor not only walks free, but does so without a felony record.
Saland Law PC is a New York criminal defense firm founded by two former Manhattan prosecutors. The New York criminal lawyers at Saland Law PC represent the accused throughout the New York City region.
Extensive information on criminal statutes (including Patronizing a Prostitute and Escort related crimes), legal decisions and other newsworthy cases can be found on the New York Criminal Lawyer Blog and the Saland Law PC website.