Prostitution and the Law

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Patricia Pileggi, criminal defense attorney, partner at Schiff Hardin LLP, former federal prosecutor serving as the chief of the public integrity unit of the Eastern District of New York, talks about prostitution and the law, on the anniversary of Spitzer scandal.


Patricia Pileggi

Comments [18]

gaetano catelli from manhattan

re: "Why can't a Scarlet Letter be erased?"

this is one of those situations in which (a la Orwell's "Animal Farm") the religious right and the political left have far more in common than either wishes to acknowledge.

in the end, both groups are about social control, and both have convinced themselves that they are serving a higher good in trying to exercise this control.

the freedom of adult men and women to make their own arrangements regarding safe, sane, and consensual sexual activity is deeply subversive of a variety of vectors of social control.

for example, on the labor demand side, employers don't want sexually attractive men and women bidding up their labor costs.

and, on the labor supply side, a lot of people don't want sexually attractive men and women bidding down their price for consortium.

Mar. 11 2009 01:17 AM
gaetano catelli from manhattan

our financial system has hardly been "victimless". should we outlaw it -- or just regulate it more responsibly?

Mar. 11 2009 12:49 AM
DAT from Nathan Straus Projects

I don't understand, why a person arrested for
Prostitution can get a violation, but the
arrest stays on their permanent record,
never erased.

Under other circumstances, a person under arrest,
that gets a violation, an ACD, Adjournment in
Contemplation of Dismissal, if they don't get
re-arrested for 6 months or in some cases l year,
that arrest is erased from their record.

Why brand a person a Whore for life,
if it is not necessary?

Why can't a Scarlet Letter be erased?

It is expunged for other arrests that result
in violation, why does the prostitution charge
remain on the criminal record for good?

Mar. 10 2009 03:35 PM

Legalizing prostitution will not deal with the fact that our society continues to see women's bodies as commodities. Women being essentially bought and sold by men (and other women in the case of madams)--even if the sex is "consentual"--is the problem. Prostitution being a very old "profession" and a "common practice" (in the words of a caller), doesn't make it right.

Mar. 10 2009 02:14 PM
the truth from Atlanta/New York

Want to end it? Legalize it and tax it! That oughta do the trick! (No pun intended)

Mar. 10 2009 11:09 AM

JM, you don't seem to be aware that women are just as likely to stray (though less likely to admit it)?

Mar. 10 2009 10:55 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Prostitution is legal in Israel, but pimping is not! The problem there is getting the prostitutes to testify against their handlers to get convictions. In many cases, the girls don't want to get deported back to Eastern Europe being in the country illegally. Which is why brothels became widespread in Tel Aviv. But lately there has been a major crackdown.
But it should be remembered that prostitution is the second oldest profession, and the one way that women could support themselves in ancient times when they were driven out by their husbands. Or if they just didn't want to have and be dominated by one.

Mar. 10 2009 10:50 AM
Juline from Brooklyn

Prostitution should be decriminalized now. We already have laws on the books - good laws - criminalizing exploitation of minors, rape, and abuse. Let's keep those laws on the books and stop criminalizing consensual sex between adults. Criminalizing prostitution does not end it, does not "protect women" (or men, or transgender individuals), and wastes taxpayer money by cycling prostitutes in and out of the criminal justice system.

Mar. 10 2009 10:49 AM
Phil from Queens

-- lil'Elliot should have been suspended or disbarred as an attorney in NYS and with various Federal Bars... but he wasn't because he is a rich big shot and knows where many other's bodies are buried. Compare this to the disbarment of many minority attorneys over the past 10 - 15 years.

Mar. 10 2009 10:44 AM

The problem with Spitzer is that he went about it in the tackiest way possible (as opposed to maybe an indiscretion with a friend). I still feel awful for his daughters, because there is a message that remains, no matter what you accomplish in this world, you cannot possibly compare to a tanned young woman selling her body for a "VIP" club.

Mar. 10 2009 10:42 AM
JM from Long Island

I agree with HC. Has it occurred to anyone that maybe the divorce rate is so high because men are driven to have adulterous affairs, with all the resulting romantic entanglements ?

And maybe if prostitution were regulated and taxed, abuses could be controlled.

Mar. 10 2009 10:42 AM
Robert from NYC

I never thought any less of Spitzer. I liked him and I like him and I'm sorry he left. Sexual behavior unless physically or psychologically hurts someone is nothing I ever hold against people. It's just good ol' American hypocrisy at play. Prostitution should be legalized as should marijuana, It's time Americans grow up and be responsible for our own behavior and actions.

Mar. 10 2009 10:42 AM
hjs from 11211

i just thought why would he spend so much money on something one can get for free in almost any bar in NYC!

Mar. 10 2009 10:40 AM
michael from NYC

In sweden they successfully cut down on prostitution by making the purchase of service from a prostitute illegal, but not selling it.

Prostitution went down successfully.

ON a note, one of the first arrests was on of swedens supreme court judges ;)

I find the current way of going about it is paying more lipservice than really wanting to do anything about the real problem

Mar. 10 2009 10:39 AM
hjs from 11211

make prostitution and pot legal and tax it

Mar. 10 2009 10:38 AM
Norman from Hell's Kitchen

Some people think that a Republican federal prosecutor's office attacked a strong Democratic Governor to replace him with a compliant governor, for political reasons, like Don Seligman.

Is it possible that this was politically motivated?

Mar. 10 2009 10:37 AM
HC from nyc

As long as prostitution remains illegal there will be no regulation and therfore no protection for the victims of prostituion (underaged minors, rapes, etc.). Is the assumption behind the prohibition of prostitution that one day it will disappear? If so the naivete is obvious if not then the law is cynical. Why is it that prostiuttion is not legal (like it is in many European countries)?

Mar. 10 2009 10:36 AM
Steve (the other one) from Manhattan

Why wasn't Ashleigh Dupre charged?

Mar. 10 2009 10:33 AM

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