Judge John T. Hecht recently dismissed prostitution charges against a sixteen year old girl who was accused of hustling. Judge Hecht sits in the Criminal Court in Kings County. He has adopted the point of view young prostitutes are simply sexually exploited children. He stated with regard to the case of People vs. Samantha R, 2011kno 9255, “the criminal justice system is not always the best venue for addressing societal problems.”
In this case Samanthar R was arrested after she solicited males for prostitution. She was initially charged with loitering for the purpose of prostitution. This is a noncriminal violation punishable only up to 15 days in jail.
Safe Harbor for Exploited Children’s Act
Judge Hecht, in his decision, stated the legislature in 2008 enacted the “Safe Habor For Exploited Children Act.” Judge Hecht interpretted this statute to mean sixteen and seventeen year olds who are charged with prostitution should be referred to the Family Court and not prosecuted criminally. Judge Hecht further stated “if she is incapable of consenting to intercourse, the incapacity does not change because she agrees to except money.” Judge Hecht’s position is that the Safe Harbor Act precludes prosecution for prostitution of cases such as the one involving Samantha R.
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