Utah Man Arrested for Exploiting Prostitution

A Utah man was arrested for exploiting prostitution during a human trafficking sting over the weekend in Salt Lake County.

The Pimp

Photo by: Ken

According to a bookings report from the Salt Lake County Jail, 28 year old Roger Dewayne Jessop was arrested on Friday for exploiting prostitution, a third degree felony. Police reports state Jessop was arrested at a hotel after an undercover agent arrived to an arranged meeting with a prostitute and observed that Jessop was the one running the show, causing the female prostitute to offer sex in exchange for money.

Exploiting prostitution

Utah Code 76-10-1305 states: “A person is guilty of exploiting prostitution is the person;

a) Procures a person for a place of prostitution;
b) Encourages, induces, or otherwise purposely causes another to become or remain a prostitute;
c) Transports a person into or within this state with a purpose to promote that person’s engaging in prostitution or procuring or paying for transportation with that purpose;
d) Not being a child or legal dependent of a prostitute, shares the proceeds of prostitution with a prostitute pursuant to their understanding that he is to share therein; or
e) Owns, controls, manages, supervises, or otherwise keeps, alone or in association with another, a place or prostitution or a business where prostitution occurs or is arranged, encouraged, supported, or promoted.”

Sexual solicitation or sex trafficking

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Those who “offer or agree to commit any sexual activity with another person for a fee ( . . . )“ are guilty of sexual solicitation, a class B misdemeanor. These charges do not apply if the person offering sex is a victim and doing said acts against their will. It wasn’t noted the age of the prostitute being pimped out by Jessop or whether or not she was a willing participant, however multiple female victims of human trafficking were noted as being rescued during the operation in Salt Lake County. To report information on a possible situation of human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888. For legal aid regarding prostitution charges contact a criminal defense attorney.

 

Police Use of Radar Guns to Detect Texting and Driving

Radar guns have been used by police since 1949 to catch speeding drivers and are now being developed to also detect those texting and driving.

Distracted driving

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According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving is dangerous, claiming 3,477 lives in 2015 alone [and] 391,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. ( . . . ) [T]exting is the most alarming distraction. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.” The NHTSA also announced that “During daylight hours, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones while driving. With smart phones offering consumers communication, shopping, entertainment and so much more on the go, it is hard to not look at our phones- even on short trips in the car. Ignoring the sound of a notification or delaying the sending of a quick message to a friend takes a lot of willpower to avoid.

Texting and driving

Many individuals that text and drive can appear to do so stealthily, often without being noticed by other drivers or law enforcement until their distracted driving gets them into trouble. Cell phone use prior to an accident is extremely common, so common in fact that those at fault are often blamed for using a cell phone use whenever a vehicle accident occurs from a driver who was distracted. Following an accident, law enforcement can usually determine whether or not a cell phone was actually in use leading up to the collision. Now however, officers would like to detect texting and driving prior to a potential accident.

Texting radar guns

Photo by: James G

A company called ComSonics has been working on a radar gun that can help police detect whether or not a cell phone is being used in a moving vehicle. The texting radar gun, named Sniffer Sleuth uses radar technology to detect radio frequencies that are emitted from a cell phone during use. Every time a text is sent, a call is made, or the phone is otherwise being used by a distracted driver, the Sniffer Sleuth will be able to pick up on the change in frequencies, alerting the officer on the other side of the gun.

A work in progress

While the Sniffer Sleuth seems like a great idea to catch those who text or Facebook while driving, there are some concerns with its accuracy and thus its validity as proof of distracted driving. For one, a speeding radar gun targets the entire car yet a texting gun is going to pinpoint where in the moving car a phone is being used? Unless a driver is alone, it seems highly unlikely that a radar gun would be able to determine from where in the car the radio frequencies are being discharged from. Another issue is for those who are texting or calling legally through the use of hands-free technology such as Bluetooth connections in their vehicle. Although law enforcement should be able to note a driver is using one of these hands-free options after viewing the driver’s phone, that driver still has to deal with the embarrassment of being pulled over along with the loss of time from the traffic stop. The other major concern that is at stake is the privacy of the public. Will the texting radar guns be able to pick up any content of messages and if not, won’t law enforcement then be able to use more privacy concerning gadgets such as the Textalyzer? Finally, will officers use this new technology as a means of pulling over a suspicious vehicle whose driver is otherwise following the law?

Criminal Charges

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If someone is found guilty of texting while driving, they will face a class C misdemeanor or a class B misdemeanor if they cause an accident where someone is seriously injured. Utah Code 41-6a-1716 states unless for navigation or during an emergency, “A person may not use a handheld wireless communication device while operating a moving motor vehicle on a highway in this state to manually:
(a) write, send, or read a written communication, including:
(i) a text message;
(ii) an instant message; or
(iii) electronic mail;
(b) dial a phone number;
(c) access the Internet;
(d) view or record video; or
(e) enter data into a handheld wireless communication device”

Anyone facing charges following law enforcement’s use of text-detecting gadgets such as Sniffer Sleuths or Textlyers should speak to an attorney about the reliability of the information collected and whether or not it will hold up in court.

Lewdness in Utah

Some individuals can display behavior in public that is obviously inappropriate, but at what point does it constitute lewdness in Utah?

Lewdness

Photo by: Jen

According to Utah Code 76-9-702, A person is guilty of lewdness if the person under circumstances not amounting to [any sexual assault offense], performs any of the following acts in a public place or under circumstances which the person should know will likely cause affront or alarm to, on, or in the presence of another who is 14 years of age or older:
(a) an act of sexual intercourse or sodomy;
(b) exposes his or her genitals, the female breast below the top of the areola, the buttocks, the anus, or the pubic area;
(c) masturbates; or
(d) any other act of lewdness.”

Lewdness is a class B misdemeanor unless the person is a repeat offender or a convicted sex offender; in that case, the charge would be raised to a third degree felony.

Lewdness or just inappropriate behavior?

Although the section of Utah Code defining lewdness explains specific ways in which a person could face charges, it then adds “any other act of lewdness” which definition could leave the door wide open to interpretation. The Court of Appeals of Utah addressed one officer’s interpretation of this law in the late 90’s when a 16 year old juvenile was charged with lewdness after he “grabbed ahold of his crotch and shook it up and down” while standing in front of a parked vehicle occupied by a woman. An officer observed this deliberate act of offensive behavior that lasted for an uncomfortable “ten to fifteen seconds” and arrested the teen for class B misdemeanor lewdness.

Not of equal magnitude of gravity

The Court of Appeals of Utah reversed the charges on the teen, stating that “while {the 17 year old’s] gestures were certainly immature and offensive, they are not of similar gravity as the conduct expressly proscribed by [section 76-9-702]”. With a law that could risk being interpreted too harshly by some law enforcement, it is vital to seek representation from an experienced defense attorney if charges such as lewdness ever arise.