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They're actually prosecuting the woman who wanted to trade sex for World Series tickets?

Dec 17, 2009, 11:20 AM EDT

The only criminal cases I ever handled were white collar corruption things, so maybe I’m missing a couple of the nuances here, but is mounting a full-blown prosecution of the Philadelphia woman who tried to trade sex for World Series tickets via Craigslist really the best use of judicial resources?  They had a preliminary hearing yesterday, complete with salacious testimony from the undercover officers and everything. After it was all over they actually added an additional count to the charges against her.  Anyone feel safer now?

I suppose it’s possible that they have eliminated all other crime in Philadelphia the Philly suburbs* so fluky, one-off acts of immaturity are best handled by a double-barreled prosecutorial assault. In the rest of the world, however, this would likely result in an agreed plea to a disorderly conduct charge or something and it would have been over two months ago.

UPDATEFurther evidence — and much more serious evidence at that — that the Philly police have their priorities WAY out of whack. (thanks to reader Ethan Stock for the link)

*UPDATE II: As commenters have noted, the tickets-for-sex prosecution is taking place in the Philly suburbs, not Philly proper, so apologies to the Philadelphia police department and prosecutors for saying that they were responsible. But (a) all above points still stand for the people in Bucks County going after this woman of course; and (b) the link in the first Update shoes that the Philly cops are still whack. Just for different reasons than going after would-be World Series tickets prostitutes.

  1. YankeesfanLen - Dec 17, 2009 at 11:28 AM

    I noticed you characterized this post as “posts in which I put “sex” in the headline to get more pageviews”.
    Don’t you think that “Derek Jeter spits gum on the sidewal” would have worked better?

  2. Jeff - Dec 17, 2009 at 11:33 AM

    I noticed the characterization as well….very well played.
    This woman sounds like she was out of her mind.
    Craig, you’re a lawyer, the tickets weren’t technically money, so is it technically prostitution? As my wife mentioned, what is this the difference between this and a woman who bangs rich guys for nice gifts?

  3. Craig Calcaterra - Dec 17, 2009 at 11:37 AM

    All of the prostitution (and bribery, etc.) laws are written in terms of exchanging sex for things of value, not merely cash. You’re right that there’s a thin line between prostitution and gold digging, but the law sees it more in terms of a quid pro quo, whereas the nice gifts from the rich man are gratuitous, with no actual economic expectations being assumed beforehand.
    I’m in favor of legalizing and regulating prostitution, by the way, if that wasn’t clear.

  4. Jeff - Dec 17, 2009 at 11:41 AM

    Thanks Craig!

  5. Ethan Stock - Dec 17, 2009 at 11:47 AM

    Based on this story:
    http://www.philly.com/philly/news/79288022.html?page=1&c=y
    both the cops and the DA in Philadelphia have their priorities (and their motives) all screwed up.

  6. Old Gator - Dec 17, 2009 at 12:03 PM

    The real threat to the health and wellbeing of the people of Philadelphia is those horrible horsemeat and velveeta sandwiches everybody serves up there. Fluoridation of water was a communist plot; with the collapse of the Soviet Union, it is clear that these gut-clogging sandwiches are the last redoubt of their fellow travelers.
    And isn’t it just possible that this woman was carrying Pfiesteria piscicidia? You can’t be too careful with women who drink the water up there.

  7. Old Gator - Dec 17, 2009 at 12:05 PM

    Ooops – hit the send button.
    And furthermore, there already is legalized albeit only slightly regulated prostitution in America. It’s called Congress.

  8. John_Michael - Dec 17, 2009 at 12:16 PM

    Criag, it’s either a Broken Windows strategy, or:
    The patrolling officer on his beat is the one true dictatorship in America, we can lock a guy up on the humble, lock him up for real, or say f*ck it and drink ourselves to death under the expressway and our side partners will cover us, No one – I mean no one – tells us how to waste our shift!

  9. dym34 - Dec 17, 2009 at 12:18 PM

    Hey – as a Phily resident, I just wanted to point out that cops/DA prosecuting Finkelstein are NOT in Philly. They are safely tucked away in the ‘burbs (Bensalem to be precise).
    The cops in Philly are too interested in protecting their drug-dealing arsonist family members to prosecute a mickey mouse case like this.

  10. Craig Calcaterra - Dec 17, 2009 at 12:18 PM

    It’s all in the game, yo.

  11. Alex - Dec 17, 2009 at 12:19 PM

    Before you proceeded with the popular tactic of trashing all things Philadelphia you should have taken a moment to notice that the arrest of this woman was handled by the Bensalem, PA police and she is being prosecuted by the Bucks County DA’s office. You should really try to do a better job of fact checking before you make such sweeping criticisms of law enforecemnt and public officials, didn’t you learn that when you were handling high end white collar corruption cases?

  12. John_Michael - Dec 17, 2009 at 12:21 PM

    edit: Craig
    “I” before “A” except after “C” or when sounding like “A” in “neighbor” or “Craig.”

  13. Craig Calcaterra - Dec 17, 2009 at 12:25 PM

    Alex: fine, so the Philly police have bad priorities (see the updated link) AND the suburb cops have bad priorities too. Not sure how that makes it better because both cases are still whack, but if you want to call that a defense, so be it.

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  15. vintage memorabilia - Feb 24, 2010 at 11:54 AM

    Hard to know just what you’re talking about here. Maybe you should read around the subject matter before giving such thoughts to the rest of us.

  16. old town canoes - Feb 24, 2010 at 12:18 PM

    Not really sure exactly what you’re squawking about in this post. Maybe you should read up the subject matter before giving such thoughts to the rest of us.

  17. whitegoldengagementrings - Mar 4, 2010 at 12:50 AM

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  18. Libertarian - Mar 28, 2010 at 10:17 AM

    Now she’s found guilty of “attempted prostitution.” I wonder how the court found 12 Puritans as jurors in 2010, East Coast. I hope she gets a book deal, or even better, a movie role in a comedy spoofing those Puritans. What a waste of taxpayer’s money.

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