As a general rule I’m opposed to criminalizing victimless crimes such as drugs or prostitution, and a recent conversation with a friend further confirms my belief.

Cary told me that he had recently been called to serve on a jury here in Los Angeles for the trial of a Latin American immigrant who was being prosecuted because he had offered a prostitute money.  The prostitute, of course, turned out to be an undercover cop.

I thought there must have been more to the case than that, but Cary says that was all there is.

Below is what Cary had to say about it:

The initial jury pool consisted of 40 of us and we spent three full days on jury selection.  Think of it–40 people who have jobs, families, responsibilities, mortgages, and kids, and for three days they have to sit there being pulled away from all of it while prosecutors intently asked us about this “crime.”

The guy’s family and friends are probably back in Mexico or El Salvador or wherever, and he’s probably very lonely.  He is a rather homely guy, and has little money, so I’m sure his sexual options are very limited. It’s not surprising that when a pretty woman walks up to him appearing to be a hooker, he would be interested.

When the prosecutors questioned me, I explained that I have traveled all over the world, and have often seen that it is sometimes difficult to understand quirky local customs and laws. In some parts of Latin America, prostitution is legal and/or tolerated. This guy may not have even realized that he was doing anything illegal.

After I said this I was dismissed from the jury. And would you believe that as I was preparing to leave they were bringing in another group of 40 people? All for this stupid trial against this hapless sap?

I wonder how much money in lost wages there is just from the jury selection in his trial, much less the trial itself. Add that to the cost of the trial itself and we have a considerable waste of money.

More importantly, we’re making this man’s already difficult life even more difficult.  And for what?

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