Part II: Seattle Prostitution Sting Continues Over Public Outcry

Several months ago hundreds of men were arrested in a prostitution sting operation conducted by the Seattle Police Department at a massage parlor. Female police officers dressed in disguises and offered customers a massage and a sexual act for compensation. See Prostitution Sting by Seattle Police
here. The public voiced concerns about wasting tax payer dollars on expensive undercover operations and argued the money should be used to prosecute more serious crimes like drug dealing or drunk driving.

However, the Seattle City Attorney’s Office and the Seattle Police Department disagreed and approved more undercover arrests. A prostitution sting on Aurora Avenue between June 24 and July 1, 2017 netted over a hundred arrests. Read about the penalties and what to expect if arrested for Solicitation or Sexual Exploitation.

The number of arrests has created a backlog of uncharged cases. The City is still filing criminal cases from last year’s sting operation. The Prosecutors are concerned about creating a burden on the court system if all the cases are charged at the same time. Defense attorneys are also slowing the government down by filing motions to dismiss and challenging the undercover operations. Time is running out on some uncharged cases. The statute of limitation under Washington law allows the government one year to file a misdemeanor offense.

Members of the criminal defense bar have formed a working group to challenge the cases on numerous constitutional grounds and government misconduct. One concern is the inaccurate labelling of the criminal offense as “sexual exploitation” versus patronizing a prostitute as used under the State statute. The former label implies the undercover officer is exploited in a felonious manner. Inaccurate descriptions of a criminal offense are misinterpreted by members of the public and potential employers. The Constitution and several statutes require an accurate description and proper notice of what constitutes a violation of our criminal code.

The motions to dismiss have been filed in front of several Seattle Municipal Court Judges and will be heard in the next few months. Contact our office to learn more about Sexual Exploitation charges and what defenses are available.

New Relief for Juvenile Sex Offenders in Lynwood

This new relief is helping to remove the stain of a criminal conviction and lift the sex offender registration requirement.

Juvenile sex convictions in Washington have short-term consequences including confinement, registration as a sex offender, and court ordered sexual deviancy treatment.

A mere charge or allegation can negatively impact a person’s ability to seek gainful

  • Employment
  • Housing
  • Financial aid
  • Educational Benefits
  • Personal Relationships

Unfortunately, juvenile sex charges also have other unforeseen and long-lasting consequences that can create a psychological barrier straining relationships with family, friends, and significant others. Many young Juvenile offenders in the past were trapped, unable to vacate or seal their records, and forced to live with the conviction for the rest of their lives. It is well documented that many of them will have difficulty finding legitimate jobs and developing intimate relationships as they move into adulthood. Should we brand eleven-year-old offenders for the rest of their life? Is it too early to give up on them?

The Washington State Legislature believes it is too early and enacted a law to help convicted Juvenile Sex Offenders.

In 2011, the Washington State Legislature agreed that we have an obligation to rehabilitate sexual assault offenders and passed a law allowing some Juveniles the ability to vacate and seal their records.

It was decided as a matter of public policy that the toll on society for permanently branding a Juvenile at such an early age was too great. They considered research that children’s brains do not fully develop until their twenties and the impact it has on decision making abilities. This is by no means an excuse for committing a crime but it was a factor the Legislature considered before enacting the Juvenile Vacate law.

What You Need to Know to Vacate Your Record in Lynwood

Few people know that a Juvenile Sex Offender may vacate and seal his or her sex offense conviction. It is important to understand not all offenders are eligible to seal their records under this law.* For those that are eligible, it will not be an easy and quick process. A person must prove to the court that they have been rehabilitated and no longer pose a risk to society. The court will consider numerous factors including:

  • Nature of the offense
  • Criminal behavior before and after the offense
  • Noncriminal behavior before and after the offense
  • Compliance with supervision
  • Length of time since the offense
  • Participation in treatment
  • Input from the victim, law enforcement, and probation
  • Stability in employment and housing

Normally, we encourage our clients to seek a current risk assessment by a professional State certified therapist and voluntarily participate in a polygraph examination. Our Lynwood sex crime attorneys must also provide proof of that the offender successfully completed sexual deviancy counseling. It is not unusual for our office to take additional steps including interviewing family and friends. We will provide a “biography” of the Respondent to support our Petition to remove him or her from the sex offender registry.

A Judge and Prosecutor will hear the evidence to determine if a person is an appropriate candidate to lift the sex offender registration requirement and to have his or her record vacated and sealed. If granted, the charge will be dismissed and the file will be sealed. A person will officially be able to state on employment applications and elsewhere that he or she has never been convicted of the offense.

It may not be the answer for everyone, but the Legislature has determined some Juvenile Sex offenders deserve a second chance. Contact the Law Office of Michael P. Sheehy in Lynwood to determine your eligibility. Everybody makes mistakes – but should the mistakes you made as a child live with you for the rest of your life?

*Adult Sex offenders are generally not eligible to vacate their record and certain Juvenile Sex offenses are statutorily prohibited as well.


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