Katz calls on court to dismiss prostitution-related arrests
Mar 23, 2021 | 2174 views | 0 0 comments | 214 214 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz last week requested the dismissal of nearly 700 cases where people were detained, arrested and charged with loitering for the purpose of engaging in prostitution and prostitution-related crimes.

Since taking office, Katz has not prosecuted a single person charged with the vague loitering law she argues far too often targets women, trans people and people of color based solely on their appearance.

Last month, the state legislature took action and finally repealed the law.

“Historical data shows that enforcement of this statute had primarily been used to arrest people based on their gender or appearance,” Katz said. “Dismissing cases related to this unfair and now repealed statute frees members of our community from the collateral consequences of their arrests.”

In many of the cases DA Katz asked the court to vacate warrants on and dismiss, the defendants were charged with prostitution.

Specifically, Katz requested the court dismiss:

• 146 cases of defendants with outstanding warrants on open cases. The DA requested that all warrants be vacated and the cases dismissed.

• 84 cases of defendants with outstanding warrants who failed to appear after pleading guilty. The DA requested the convictions on those cases also be vacated and the cases dismissed.

• 443 cases of defendants with outstanding warrants on pending cases.

In addition to dismissing these cases, the DA also requested the cases be sealed so that individuals do not have a criminal record.

“Instead of prosecuting these defendants, we need to provide a helping hand by connecting them with meaningful services, support options and the necessary tools that will assist them to safely exit the sex trade if that is what they choose to do,” Katz said.
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