Sex Work

Monica Jones Takes 'Manifesting Prostitution' Challenge to Arizona Supreme Court

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Laverne Cox/Instagram

Monica Jones is asking the Supreme Court of Arizona to reverse her April conviction for "manifesting prostitution" and deem the ordinance she was charged under unconstitutional. Pursuant to Phoenix city code, accepting a ride from a stranger, waving at passersby, or asking someone whether they're a cop could constitute "manifesting an intent to commit or solicit an act of prostitution," a misdemeanor crime. 

Jones was arrested in May 2013, after accepting a ride from an undercover police officer working on Phoenix's "prostitution diversion" detail. Jones, a student at the University of Arizona, is active in LGBT and sex worker rights advocacy. At a rally the night before her arrest, she had been warning women about the Phoenix Police Department's sting operation that weekend. 

With the help of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Arizona Jones challenged the charges, arguing that Phoneix's manifesting prostitution statute is "unconstitutionally vague and overbroad" and infringed on freedom of speech. The Phoenix Municipal Court disagreed, sentencing Jones to 30 days jail time and a $500 fine. Today, Jones filed an appeal with the state Supreme Court. 

From The Arizona Republic

Jones' attorney, Jean-Jacques "J" Cabou of Perkins Coie LLP, said the ordinance undermined various portions of the First Amendment. "This law abridges a lot of pure speech — speech like speaking, speech like asking questions, speech like what you wear," Cabou said. "The law protects all of those things, and, in this case, it protected none of them."

In the April trial, the municipal judge's decision hinged on the accounts of two witnesses: Jones and the undercover Phoenix Police officer. Their stories diverged on several factors, including who initiated the ride and whether Jones instigated sexual contact.

Jones' attorneys say the ordinance also relies too much on the assumptions of the individual officer. In Jones case, attorneys noted, the undercover officer described her outfit as a "black, tight-fitting dress" and repeatedly referred to Jones as a man in his written report.

Jones is transgender. She was heading to meet friends at a bar and dressed in a manner this police officer deemed provocative. And that's what's insidious about this law: It allows for cops' subjective judgments about intent to stand in for any actual criminal activity. To manifest prostitution, you only need look to a cop like a prostitute.

"The officer who arrested me profiled me as a sex worker because I am transgender, I am a woman of color and I live in an area that is perceived to be low income," Jones said in a statement. At an ACLU gathering Monday night, she was joined by trans actress Laverne Cox. The Orange Is The New Black star said Jones' challenging the law was "a huge inspiration" to her and trans people across the county.

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  1. So she was streetwalking and got exactly what she was looking for? Except the cop was the John. This is pretty good.

    1. How is that your takeaway here?

      1. I think you got trolled. Although waffles has stated s(he) is not a libertarian so s(he) might believe prostitution should be stamped out.

      2. I misunderstood. I thought Jones deliberately took a ride from the cop so she could get arrested under the bullshit law and get the ACLU case. Upon rereading it seems Jones did not intend to be arrested, mea tulpa.

  2. Just as a matter of how law should work, I cannot see how this will make Constitutional muster.

    If it is not overturned at the State level, it will at the Federal level. Dressing ‘provocatively’ cannot be a crime, nor can asking someone if they are a cop, or accepting a ride.

    Just because certain actions MAY be precursors for illegal activity does not make them illegal. This line of thinking is little different than “it can’t be rape. She was dressed like a tramp and asking for it.”

  3. Jones was arrested in May 2013, after accepting a ride from an undercover police officer working on Phoenix’s “prostitution diversion” detail.

    I get no end of amusement from these undercover vice-squad task forces. “Yes, harrumph harrumph, our undercover hooker evaluation system–er, I mean ANTI-PROSTITUTION TASK FORCE–has been running for 20 successful years now…we’re asking for more funding, because the price of hookers has really skyrocketed–er, I mean NEED MOAR RECRUITS harrumph harrumph.”

    1. I dont’ think you go a harumph out of that guy in the back.

      1. Note to self: refresh before posting

      2. Give Paper Wasp harrumph!

  4. Shooting dogs and chasing down un-armed people who might do something wrong in the future is a whole lot safer than dealing with real, violent criminals.
    How ya gonna collect that retirement?

  5. If you have sex with a hooker and then arrest them you’re scum and should have your dick cut off.

    1. Except in Hawaii

  6. Ok…so am I right in assuming that there is only one actual woman in that picture?

    1. I think so. That dude needs to shave his mustache. If you can’t grow an awesome stache, then don’t grow one at all.

      1. So which one is Jones?!? Is it the white lady or one of the trannies?

        1. “Jones is transgender.”

          1. Sorry. Missed that part somehow. Honestly, I think I misread the entire last paragraph!

      2. He can’t help it, he’s French.

        1. Ah. I really wish I could grow an outstanding mustache but it comes in 3 different colors and my beard comes in patchy like joe dirt so I’d look like a child molester. But damn it, I make the sacrifice and stay clean shaving for the greater good.

          1. I believe that if I shaved off my goat, my soul would evaporate. Therefore, I don’t.

            1. I think the soul is attached to the soul patch, so it is probably best to avoid shaving in general. Lucky for me I sold my soul to the devil for banjo lessons, so I can shave away.

              1. I sold my soul to the devil for banjo lessons

                Sloopy isn’t gonna like that.

          2. I can’t grow fun facial hair, but I wish I could. I’ve always wondered about the consequences of putting Rogaine on my face

            1. You might turn into a wolf-man, but I feel it is worth the risk.

              1. You know who can grow a great mustache? Monica Jones!

    2. There’s 3 for the purposes of this article, where one of the three was having her rights violated and the debate over transgenders is irrelevant.

      1. No debate over transgenders. But you can’t call “Monica” a woman because he is clearly a man…But of course LGBTQ rights trump being objective, so most here will probably disagree!

        1. LGBTQ? Why are you microaggressing?

          It is LGBTQWERTY, so you cover, literally, everyone.

          1. That’s my kind of special interest group! But just so you know, Marshall, I stay microagressing.

            1. I stay microagressing.

              See, and NutraSweet can vouch for this, when you are an asshole all of the time, it is very difficult to dial your aggression back to micro. I can’t hardly commit a microaggression because I am always macroaggressing.

      2. There’s 3 for the purposes of this article, where one of the three was having her rights violated and the debate over transgenders is irrelevant.

        And the internet won’t stand for irrelevant arguments!

        If you’re gonna make irrelevant arguments about meaningless stuff you should clearly be drafting legislation rather than wasting time ranting on internet forums!

        1. Also “there’s 3” is really poor grammar. You should never use poor grammar on internet forums, especially when you’re claiming that two men are in fact women…

          1. Yep poor grammar, I just don’t why you would read this article and think that your opinion that she’s not a woman is what you took from it. I mean when it’s some social justice warrior saying you should be forced to think that way, go for it.

            1. “I just don’t why you would read this article…” You really need to hit the preview button!

              But seriously, he can call himself whatever he wants, but it’s misleading to write the article, refer to Monica as a woman throughout, and then kind of just insert the truth that it is actually a man in the last paragraph or two.

              It would be like if I started an article, “as a cat, I know a thing or two about milk.” And then told you at the end that I was just a cosplay enthusiast.

              1. Because whether or not Monica is trans shouldn’t have a bearing on the rightness or wrongness of this statute, and I didn’t want to preconceive people in one direction by making that a focal point to start with.

                1. Fair enough. I was still confused. Perhaps a result of having a tiny man brain 😉

  7. Hugh Grant approves.

  8. $20 says that the cop made the arrest because he was pissed off about getting turned on by a transvestite.

    1. If that were the case she’d probably have “resisted arrest” in the same way Eric Garner did.

  9. Strangely, Women (and trannies!) love this number

  10. No way in hell this law survives the courts.

    Right? Right? Bueller?

    1. Courts are pretty good on first amendment stuff. At least when it doesn’t involve commercial or election related things.

  11. “”””Jones is transgender””””

    Charge her with false advertising

    1. Maybe the cop is just mad because he’s a self hating queer?

      1. So its just a case of a homosexual causing trouble?

        1. Isn’t everything?

  12. “The law is often but the tyrant’s will…” and especially so when you can’t even ask a stranger for a ride.

  13. She was heading to meet friends at a bar and dressed in a manner this police officer deemed provocative.

    Got it. She was arrested for the ol’ “she was asking for it” excuse.

  14. Does this mean SWAT could raid a Pimp n’ Ho party and net hundreds of arrests for ‘Manifesting’?

  15. The problem here is that the law targets prostitutes and it snagged an advocate for prostitutes who deliberately tripped the snare.

    They would have been smarter to drop the charges but this seems to be a poor test case for the libertarians. Er. I mean prostitutes.

  16. Judge Hercules Alexander Dellas
    Age: 64 (Born Feb 14, 1951)
    221 W Behrend DR
    Phoenix, AZ 85027
    (623) 434-8418

    6840 N 2nd PL
    Phoenix, AZ 85012

    herculesd@aol.com
    hdellas@hotmail.com
    hdellas@verizon.net
    hdellas@cs.com

    Both properties are in his name.

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