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Sneak-and-Peek Warrant for Hidden Cameras at Florida Massage Parlors Faces Scrutiny

We were told this sort of spying would only be used to stop terrorists. And yet...

Ingram Publishing/NewscomIngram Publishing/NewscomA central component of the recent investigation into Chinese massage-parlor sex was the secret installation of hidden cameras at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida. Now defense attorneys are challenging the legality of this move. On February 25, the law firm Kibbey Wagner filed paperwork in Martin and Palm Beach counties seeking an emergency declaratory judgment that police may not release images, audio, or video obtained from the secret cameras.

Permission for such surveillance stems from a provision of the PATRIOT Act that was passed with promises only to use the power against possible terrorists. "But the tactic has spilled over to infiltrating other crimes, most recently the alleged sex acts at the Jupiter business," notes Lisa J. Hurriash at the South Florida Sun Sentinel. "In such cases, so-called sneak-and-peek warrants let authorities access private property so the government can secretly do a search without notifying people under investigation."

In this case, police secretly filmed massage rooms in January 2019 after months of prior investigation into prostitution at Ochids of Asia and other local massage parlors. Caught on camera getting a massage and maybe more were New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and dozens of other men, who now face misdemeanor charges for allegedly soliciting prostitution. Workers and managers at the businesses were also arrested and stand accused of prostitution and racketeering.

Police were able to secretly install the surveillance cameras thanks to a sneak-and-peek warrant. Such warrants were sold after 9/11 as a way to stop terrorism, but in practice they've mainly been used in investigations of drug crimes.

Of the more than 11,000 such warrants issued in 2013, for instance, only 50 were related to terrorism; 9,401 were parts of drug investigations. In 2011, 5,093 of 6,775 requests for sneak-and-peek warrants were related to drug cases; just 31 were related to terrorism. "Exactly what privacy advocates argued in 2001 is happening: sneak and peak warrants are not just being used in exceptional circumstances—which was their original intent—but as an everyday investigative tool," the Electronic Frontier Foundation warned five years ago.

Now they're being used to stop prostitution under the guise of busting up international slavery rings.

To see such a tool used to investigate prostitution is "very, very troubling," according to University of Miami law professor Celeste Higgins, who spent 25 years as a federal public defender in southern Florida. "Putting devices into locations is really the ultimate invasion," she tells the Sun-Sentinel. "How is this a terrorism case?"

It's not, of course. But just as local cops and federal authorities have used anti-terrorism tools to prosecute potheads, they've been keen on attacking all prostitution (a misdemeanor crime under local laws throughout most of the U.S.) as "human trafficking," a federal crime. Police in Palm Beach and Jupiter counties have been trotting out that claim this time too, although no sex trafficking or forced labor charges have been filed.

As with so much of this case, that claim looks strange in light of the fact that the authorities spent months visiting and watching these businesses but not rescuing the women that they now say they suspect are trafficking victims. "Why would you allow an investigation to go on...and allow human trafficking?" defense attorney Marc Shiner asks in the Sun-Sentinel article. "That's like being raped on a daily basis. Why would the police condone such behavior?"

Several folks quoted by the Sun-Sentinel suggest that this case represents an unprecedented use of sneak-and-peek warrants—but that's not true even within Palm Beach County. As the same paper noted in 2014, Palm Beach authorities ran a similar massage-parlor sting operation back in 2007. They used a sneak-and-peek warrant to install cameras and catch sex acts on video back then, too.

In that case, one massage parlor worker was arrested for prostitution and 25 men were arrested for solicitation of prostitution. One woman in her fifties wound up charged with permitting an employee to practice massage without a license, living off proceeds from prostitution, and money laundering, but the case against her was eventually dropped.

Photo Credit: Ingram Publishing/Newscom

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  • Crusty Juggler||

    police secretly filmed massage rooms

    How much do you want to bet they had a potty cam in there as well?

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    Terrorists often hide things in their rectum. It is known.

  • Aloysious||

    That's 'prison wallet' to you, sir.

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

    Non, since I am betting they contracted you for the install and surveillance.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    I am no Jim Vaus.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    "Why would you allow an investigation to go on...and allow human trafficking?" defense attorney Marc Shiner asks in the Sun-Sentinel article. "That's like being raped on a daily basis. Why would the police condone such behavior?"

    The police quickly responded, "Because we're cops."

  • An Owl Named Dur||

    The cops delayed acting in the hope that one of the hoes would get a dog, so they could get some marksmanship practice along with their voyeur porn.

  • Truthteller1||

    The investigation is a sham and once again the progressive, woke media is complicit.

  • Johnny Hit n Run Paulene||

    Now we know why they called it the . . .

    . . . wait for it . . .

    Patriot Act!

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    If your massage is a pat riot, that's a terrible massage.

  • An Owl Named Dur||

    Well, it certainly sounds better than the Prevention of $25 Rub and Tugs Act.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    I myself am a proponent of the 'Affordable Rub & Tug Act', or ARTA. I hear Crusty is the co-sponsor,, along with Al Gore.

  • An Owl Named Dur||

    Damned Socialist! Pay for your own handjobs.

  • a ab abc abcd abcde abcdef ahf||

    Wait until they bring back conscription.

  • Ordinary Person||

    Fuckin hilarious y'all.

  • chemjeff's rapist imports llc||

    Shut up bitch.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    If you can't get a handy at a rub and tug without Feds eyeballing the event, the terrorists have already won.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Speaking of eyeballing, that dude staring into the camera while he gets massaged is creeping me out. Reminds me of Thanksgiving at Crusty's house.

  • Ray McKigney||

    I always imagined dinner at Crusty's like something out of Petronius.

  • BYODB||

    What, the NSA didn't provide parallel construction?

  • Ultimate Suder-Man||

    NSA is HYDRA here too?

  • ||

    A central component of the recent investigation into Chinese massage-parlor sex was the secret installation of hidden cameras at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida.

    If you don't like being spied on go back to wherever it is you came from!

  • An Owl Named Dur||

    They came from China, so that's not going to work.

  • ||

    They came from China, so that's not going to work.

    Ah, good catch. At least they didn't come from Saudi Arabia, then my comment would've made some sense!

  • AlmightyJB||

    Cops spending taxpayer money to do what the rest of us do online for free. Assholes.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    The girl in the picture looks like she gives unnecessarily rough happy endings.

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

    The guy in the picture looks like he pays extra for that.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Friction is free!

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Nobody gives Crusty friction for free.

    Its costs him. Big time!

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

    Slaver!

  • a ab abc abcd abcde abcdef ahf||

    A. It's pretty obvious the cops only did this so they could get some free porn. You've got to be a pretty pathetic male to only be able to get your rocks off this way.

    B. If the objection to kiddie porn is that every viewer is raping that kid over and over and over again, does not the same rule apply here? Are not these human-trafficked victims being raped over and over and over again?

  • An Owl Named Dur||

    " It's pretty obvious the cops only did this so they could get some free porn."

    What, they haven't heard of PornHub?

  • croaker||

    They're cops. They don't have the brains to type "pornhub.com"

  • Ordinary Person||

    Prohibition is the crime.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    So, we know that ENB is pro-prostitute. But this is a little extreme, don't you think? Posting an article with such a sexy-ass photo so all of us here who looked at it immediately get horny and have to go buy prostitutes?

    Very sneaky.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    The birds nest on his head is a turn off

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    A bird's nest on the head is worth two in the bush.

  • An Owl Named Dur||

    Buying a prostitute is called "marriage". Kraft was merely renting.

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

    So your saying pimping is easy.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    4th Amendment: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    The sneak-and-peak warrants were to see how much farther the state could go.

  • Ordinary Person||

    Why can't Trump leverage all that witch hunt talk into actual change in criminal procedures? He's almost as worthless as Obama. Use that fucking presidential power to stop this police state shit. He could for instance forbid the use of the patriot act except for terrorism.

  • Sevo||

    Ordinary Person|3.4.19 @ 5:42PM|#
    "Why can't Trump leverage all that witch hunt talk into actual change in criminal procedures? He's almost as worthless as Obama. Use that fucking presidential power to stop this police state shit. He could for instance forbid the use of the patriot act except for terrorism."

    It's already forbidden to do so, except as loopholes are found. But you knew that, didn't you?

  • Longtobefree||

    Well, after all, the county blocks porn on the office computers, so they ad to make their own, low quality, no sex involved soft core films.

  • Jerryskids||

    Permission for such surveillance stems from a provision of the PATRIOT Act that was passed with promises only to use the power against possible terrorists. "But the tactic has spilled over to infiltrating other crimes, most recently the alleged sex acts at the Jupiter business," notes Lisa J. Hurriash at the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

    Remember when Tasers were sold as a non-lethal alternative to firearms and SWAT teams were used for hostage situations and the NSA spied only on foreigners?

  • Libertymike||

    Remember when Amber, Maria Conchita Alonzo's character in The Running Man, said "last season's winners," and Fireball, Jim Brown's character, responded, "no, last season's losers?"

  • A Thinking Mind||

    Remember when Arnold said, "I'll be back," and it was like that other time said, "I'll be back," and people clapped because they remembered that other thing he said?

  • Libertymike||

    I do.

  • Ray McKigney||

    The masses love predictable humor.

  • croaker||

    "Only in re-runs."

  • ||

    Remember when Amber, Maria Conchita Alonzo's character in The Running Man, said "last season's winners," and Fireball, Jim Brown's character, responded, "no, last season's losers?"

    If that movie wasn't as prescient about media generated narratives and fake news as Demolition Man was about telecommunications and social brainwashing, I don't know what is.

  • TLBD||

    Demolition Man was based on Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.

    I need to go back and watch that movie. Haven't watched it since I read the book.

  • spork||

    I have something to say but I need to do a little business and use the seashells so I'LL BE BACK.

  • ||

    Remember when Tasers were sold as a non-lethal alternative to firearms and SWAT teams were used for hostage situations and the NSA spied only on foreigners?

    Neither do I.

  • Libertymike||

    Yes, I said that already in my post.

  • ||

    Yes, I said that already in my post.

    My mistake, I actually remember Jim Brown saying "No, last season's loser."

  • Rockabilly||

    A guy can't even get a hand job without the government peeping to see if it's a good one or not.

  • GiveMeLibertyOrHandouts||

    Finally a regulation I can support.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    You should change your username to GiveMeLibertyOrHandjobs.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    This kind of thing is one reason I am a Second Amendment supporter. So much nonsense is excused on the grounds that the State must protect the citizenry. Well, an armed populace can protect themselves.

    Naturally, State worshiping idiots of all stripes HATE the idea.

  • Fancylad||

    Has anyone here ever frequented a whore or gone to a rub and tug?
    If so, what's the point?
    All the ones I've seen IRL are horrific, and look diseased. I'd rather just spank to porn instead.

    What prompted you to spend the cash?

  • Ray McKigney||

    I'd be interested in a super select high-priced one. No way would I ever consider a cheap ho.

    Oh and by the way, I have never seen a sexy flight attendant.

  • Overt||

    Dude- JetSuiteX. Not only do you get to skip the rub and tug of TSA, but their flight attendants are quite the eye candy.

  • Sevo||

    "What prompted you to spend the cash?"

    I didn't but someone else did.
    Was out front of the LAX Hilton smoking a cigarette (at the time). She came out the front door in a skirt this short covering an oh, so tasty butt on top of some LOONG legs, and got in the first cab in line. I think she was blonde, but my attention was distracted. Dunno who paid, but I would have...
    IOWs, are you kidding? Do you think prostitution is a result of those with tastes not so finely developed?

  • Ray McKigney||

    AOC's Chief of Staff Funneled Big Money From PACs to Private Corporations to Hide Donations

    Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's (D-NY) chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabart, allegedly created multiple LLCs to funnel campaign contributions from various political action committees (PACs), a Federal Election Commission (FEC) complaint from the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) said.

    Under the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, all expenditures of $200 or more are required to be reported to the FEC. It appears that this structure was established to skirt FEC requirements on PAC donations, which are limited to $5,000 per election cycle.

    Anytime a PAC cuts a check to a candidate's committee, they're required to report that to the FEC and go into detail about what the money is being used for (marketing, fundraising, etc).

    "These are not minor or technical violations. We are talking about real money here. In all my years of studying FEC reports, I've never seen a more ambitious operation to circumvent reporting requirements. Representative Ocasio-Cortez has been quite vocal in condemning so-called dark money, but her own campaign went to great lengths to avoid the sunlight of disclosure," Tom Anderson, director of NLPC's Government Integrity Project, said in a statement.

  • Longtobefree||

    " I've never seen a more ambitious operation to circumvent reporting requirements. "

    So young he can't remember any of the Clinton campaigns? Really?

  • Ray McKigney||

    No one's ever actually seen a Clinton scam operation. The Clintons are like Ninjas when it comes to corruption.

  • Presskh||

    Bill only operates by word of mouth - no emails, no written details, no recordings. Why do you think he wanted so badly to speak to Lynch in person on the tarmac? No proof of what was said - he learned well from the mob. Hillary - not so smart.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    Hillary is our first ninja president.

  • Overt||

    You see, AOC fucked up here. She went hard against Pelosi and the Republicans. Like Trump, she is an outsider. Unlike Trump, she is a neophyte who hasn't been in cut-throat dealings for a long time.

    On the one hand, I am quite happy to see her thrown against the wall of big government oversight that she so desperately craves. On the other hand, I know that every single politician in government is guilty of this sort of bullshit, and it is only that she didn't toe the party line that she is now facing these consequences.

    On the other, mutant third, hand- we should all be pretty disheartened that the parties have constructed such a shitty system where you are almost guaranteed to violate some campaign finance regulation of some sort. Whether you end up sunk by these rules is merely a question of whether you know the secret hand shake or not. (Hint: it starts with you making a triangle from your hands, in the shape of a pyramid over your left- LEFT- eye.)

  • Sevo||

    "On the other, mutant third, hand- we should all be pretty disheartened that the parties have constructed such a shitty system where you are almost guaranteed to violate some campaign finance regulation of some sort."

    Any EM member of the armed forces knows full well that there is no way to fulfill the entire 'intent' of an order or regulation; you are guilty of some infraction by climbing out of the bunk in the morning.
    In her case, it's doubtful I'm find my sympathy face. She and her GND can get sunk by any means available; the woman is a danger to humanity.

  • BigT||

    AOC is more of a danger to the Donkeys. Her message is widely rejected, although her intentions are embraced. A more measured approach to socialism might appeal more broadly to voters.

    Fortunately this overreach will cost many blue seats.

  • Sevo||

    OT:
    Jeff Adachi, San Fran elected public defender who apparently never held a job, died in the North Beach home (? Room?) of a woman who then managed to get lost before the cops had a chance to 'meet' with her. Some photogers got images, including several (or more) 'dead soldiers' (if you get what I mean, and I think you do); he died after being transported from her bedroom.
    There were no 'sneak-peak' cameras, but the woman in question is certainly not his wife.
    Given that all defendants are due a defense, I don't have a problem with what he did in office, but I do have a problem with the proggies in SF 'celebrating his life' when, by all appearances, he was doing nothing other than what Kraft was doing in FL.
    The news 'sources' are now calling the woman "a friend":

    "Adachi, who was 59, was having dinner with a friend in North Beach on Friday night when he began to have trouble breathing, according to Katy St. Clair, spokeswoman for the public defender's office.
    Emergency crews were able to recover a pulse but Adachi later died at the hospital, St. Clair said Saturday."
    https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2019/02/23/
    sf-public-defender-adachi-death-mourned/

  • Conchfritters||

    Jeff Adachi, San Fran elected public defender

    Public defenders are elected in San Fran? Where i came from you'd be lucky to find a public defender who wasn't drunk and didn't just graduate from law school, and they weren't elected.

    "Dead soldiers"?? Empty beer bottles? Don't know what you mean.

    The link is shit/fucked

  • ||

    "Dead soldiers"?? Empty beer bottles? Don't know what you mean.

    I've known it to mean two things. If someone says "Look at all the dead soldiers." they mean empty beer bottles. If someone says "There were lots of dead soldiers... if you know what I mean." they mean something different.

  • BigT||

    "Heavy breathing kills scumbag lawyer."

  • ||

    Thieves and intruders will never suspect that this Toothbrush contains a hidden camera that is capturing their every move. You don't have to worry about thieves or your child's babysitter any longer.

    Protect your bathroom from the babysitter and thieves! Subtle. Put it in the bedroom to protect your wife from the milkman and the pool boy while she sleeps!

  • Presskh||

    Like every other government intrusion into personal information, regardless of what they say or promise, if it can be abused it will be abused. The so-called "Patriot" act should be immediately repealed.

  • Sevo||

    "The so-called "Patriot" act should be immediately repealed."

    And TSA disbanded right now.
    Hey, I can dream...

  • Eddy||

    Hey, did you hear about the fortune-teller who gives massages on the side?

    The medium is the massage.

    I think I'll repeat this joke in a more popular thread.

  • Ray McKigney||

    I'm sure it will go over just as well.

  • Sevo||

    WaPo fact-checks Trump's speech, somehow avoids fact-checking WaPo's pathetic coverage of the Covington kids:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoa2ONLykFk
    Pretty doubtful that Trump's speech caused the grief that a supposed news organization did to some 18YO, and the best they've done yet is to admit that 'maybe we didn't cover both sides'.
    Remember when WaPo busted Obo for the lie that 'you can keep your doctor'? Me neither.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    After the media got caught lying and publicly bashed for it, the Lefties started a bunch of 'fact checkers'.

    These 'fact checkers' still skew the facts and try to give more credibility to the Lefty lies.

    Libertarians are one of the few groups of people that fact check the 'fact checkers'.

  • IceTrey||

    The defense is they were making a porno which for some reason is legal while prostitution isn't.

  • Conchfritters||

    Permission for such surveillance stems from a provision of the PATRIOT Act

    I always suspected that Robert Kraft got a hand job and cheated on his deceased wife, but now he's involved with literal terrorism? Get out the pink softball bats...

  • belle7s||

    Cop #1 "We have sent you in there 12 times for a full 90 minutes and you still didn't get the camera angle right!"
    Cop #2 "Just send me in there one more time! I'm sure there is a position I haven't tried!"

  • FreedomRingsTrue||

    We live in a police state. We can barely walk out our front door without breaking a law that some self-important politician dreamed up.

  • JonFrum||

    Now we know where all those 'Asian' videos on Pornhub come from.

  • killboyumeed847548588||

    Your confusion is understandable, but this blog is called The Volokh Conspiracy.

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