Ken Lammers over at CrimLaw posted about Richmond, Virginia’s efforts to create Prostitute-Free Zones. Once again, what at first seems like a good idea, and certainly makes for good political grandstanding, turns out to be a poorly thought out idea. Some quotes from the Richmond Times-Dispatch story on the subject:
"Getting a conviction on prostitution is somewhat difficult — even making an arrest," 3rd District Councilman Chris A. Hilbert said. "You can’t make that initial arrest any easier, but banishment for someone’s mere presence in these zones could help to curb the problem and prevent people from coming back and harming these neighborhoods…We ought to be focused on not just getting tough on crime, but getting smart on crime."
Apparently, the police can’t always develop reasonable suspicion to detain "known prostitutes" who are merely existing in certain areas, so the Councilman believes we should get rid of the basic idea in criminal law, called reasonable suspicion to detain, that the police have to have some sort of justification to stop and investigate you for criminal activity.
As to getting smart on crime, how about this: let’s ban certain people from various neighborhoods in a particular city. Wait a minute, that’s not fair to the other parts of the city. Let’s ban them from the entire city. But wait, prostitution is illegal county wide. This known prostitute, who is not currently violating the law should be banned from the entire county. Oh wait, Prostitution is illegal all across the state… and the country…