One thing we have not spent a great deal of time on in this blog is the question of jurisdiction. In other words, what determines where criminal charges are brought?
While, like most things in the justice system, there are exceptions, the general rule is where the crime allegedly took place. In other words, if Rhode Island Ricky is alleged to have shot and killed New Jersey Nicky in Massachusetts, then it would be up to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to prosecute the murder.
That is, assuming the case was to be handled in state court.
It is, therefore, not unusual that someone from one state is prosecuted in another state no matter where he or she lives.
In the case we discuss today, the defendant-at-issue, 30-year-old Javann Hall (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) is from Massachusetts. However, on Monday, he pleaded guilty in a case of human trafficking in New Jersey.
According to the Boston Herald,
prosecutors say that the Defendant faces a possible seven-year prison term when he is sentenced on April 1st.
The Defendant was arrested during an undercover prostitution investigation at a Cherry Hill hotel in January 2015. Law enforcement claims that he dropped off a Boston woman who had been advertised online. The woman was arrested after she solicited an undercover detective and was taken into custody without incident.
Next step was the interview of that woman. Rather than donning the role of criminal defendant herself, she took on the mantle of “victim”.
In other words, as law enforcement released, “further investigation” revealed that the Defendant was using threats of violence to force her to engage in prostitution activity several times a day.
Not surprisingly, authorities say the charges against her will be dismissed.
Prosecutors have apparently already announced that the Defendant will have to pay restitution to the woman.
Attorney Sam’s Take On The Changing Legal Landscape Of Prostitution And Human Trafficking
Yes, if this scenario sounds familier, we have dealt with similar subjects before.
First…my usual disclaimer. The crime of human trafficking…meaning trafficking another human being for sexual or other purposes against their will…is a reprehensible crime.
“Does that mean you will not take such cases?”
I am a criminal defense attorney. I represent both guilty and innocent parties and do my best to ensure that law enforcement and the courts enforce the United States Constitution and the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights. The end result is not up to me…if a case goes to trial, then it is up to the judge or jury. However, whether I have the personal belief that a particular defendant is guilty or innocent, I will live up to my oath to represent that person to the best of my ability.
So, no, it does not mean that. There are many reprehensible crimes.
That does not mean, however, that simply because someone claims that my client has done a reprehensible crime, their allegation is my bond and my client is guilty.
That is more the role of law enforcement…particularly if the fits their preconceived suspicions or has the potential of being a high profile allegation.
“Well, Sam, your views regarding the prosecution of alleged prostitutes is well-documented. Doesn’t this case fall under that category?”
Maybe. Maybe not.
Let’s continue with this story in my next blog. There is much to discuss.
In the meantime, have a great, safe and law-abiding weekend.