Great moments in law enforcement: Hawaii police argue to keep prostitution exemption

posted at 12:41 pm on March 21, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Let’s try to understand this through a logical syllogism. In Hawaii, as in most states, prostitution is a crime. Police are supposed to stop crime. Therefore, police should stop prostitution — and not participate in it. However, police in Honolulu have an exemption to participate fully (so to speak) in prostitution in order to, er, stop prostitution. And they would like to keep that exemption in place, brah:

Honolulu police officers have urged lawmakers to keep an exemption in state law that allows undercover officers to have sex with prostitutes during investigations, touching off a heated debate.

Authorities say they need the legal protection to catch lawbreakers in the act. Critics, including human trafficking experts and other police, say it’s unnecessary and could further victimize sex workers, many of whom have been forced into the trade.

Police haven’t said how often — or even if — they use the provision. And when they asked legislators to preserve it, they made assurances that internal policies and procedures are in place to prevent officers from taking advantage of it. …

A Hawaii bill cracking down on prostitution (HB 1926) was originally written to scrap the sex exemption for officers on duty. It was amended to restore that protection after police testimony. The revised proposal passed the state House and will go before a Senate committee Friday.

It’s not immediately clear whether similar provisions are in place elsewhere as state law or department policy. But advocates were shocked that Hawaii exempts police from its prostitution laws, suggesting it’s an invitation for misconduct.

One rationale or at least analogy would be the war on drugs. It’s illegal to buy and sell prohibited drugs (and illegally buy and sell legal drugs too)  as well as to use them, but police routinely buy and sell drugs in order to close down trafficking channels. These kinds of undercover operations carry exemptions from prosecution for those illegal acts because we as a society value the end result of the investigations — capturing higher-ups and closing down supply points. We accept that trade-off in large measure because the police who work these undercover assignments don’t receive the normal “benefits” of the trade — the use of the drugs, and the profits.

That’s clearly not the case when police have sex with prostitutes, no matter how dedicated and detached the officer might be. Besides, one of the reasons for criminalizing prostitution is that it operates on the basis of human trafficking and victimizes women and girls. If police are having sex with prostitutes, does that not add to that victimization — or are police only sleeping with fully self-actualized women of age in these stings? If that’s the case, why are they targeting those women rather than try to liberate those being exploited?

This demand for an exemption carries even more irony considering the intent of the bill, emphasis mine:

The Hawaii bill aims to ratchet up penalties on johns and pimps. Selling sex would remain a petty misdemeanor.

Actually, that’s the way to attack prostitution — by drying up the demand. How does that square with the exemption, though, when the cop is the john? Who’s getting arrested in that scenario? The pimp, perhaps, but that part of the transaction takes place before the sex act transpires (if it happens in the cop’s presence at all), not afterward. Prostitution rarely works on unsecured credit.

The Associated Press notes that there isn’t much information on whether other jurisdictions allow for that kind of exemption, but perhaps other states should ask that question.


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Police person getting paid to have sex? Isn’t THAT prostitution too?

PolAgnostic on March 21, 2014 at 12:42 PM

Where’s Allahpundit?

blink on March 21, 2014 at 12:42 PM

On vacation this week, back Monday.

Ed Morrissey on March 21, 2014 at 12:43 PM

Where’s Allahpundit?

blink on March 21, 2014 at 12:42 PM

Trapped in a closet with Bishop. Snarkiest man comes out alive.

nobar on March 21, 2014 at 12:45 PM

. . . I should have been a cop.

Axe on March 21, 2014 at 12:45 PM

…Mooch…is in China….right?

KOOLAID2 on March 21, 2014 at 12:46 PM

However, police in Honolulu have an exemption to participate fully (so to speak) in prostitution in order to, er, stop prostitution.

How would you like to be the spouse of the Police participating in this?

Disease.

portlandon on March 21, 2014 at 12:47 PM

So the police in Hawaii catch more than bad guys, eh?

Othniel on March 21, 2014 at 12:48 PM

Nookie for me, but not for thee.

Mark1971 on March 21, 2014 at 12:48 PM

I was a cop in Honolulu and I never heard about this exemption to the law…

DAMN THE BAD LUCK!

NavyMustang on March 21, 2014 at 12:50 PM

What’s with the Cop covering his eyes??

ToddPA on March 21, 2014 at 12:51 PM

So when are the gheys going to sue because no cop wants to entrap them?

platypus on March 21, 2014 at 12:52 PM

If the legislature were to succeed in removing the exemption, I’m certain there’s a clause in the CBA that covers that very thing.

Just wondering….do the cops use union-manufactured condoms, creams, and toys during their investigations?

BobMbx on March 21, 2014 at 12:52 PM

NavyMustang on March 21, 2014 at 12:50 PM

Next time, try to pay attention in those training classes…

oldleprechaun on March 21, 2014 at 12:54 PM

Where’s Allahpundit?

blink on March 21, 2014 at 12:42 PM

Trapped in a closet with Bishop. Snarkiest man comes out alive.

nobar on March 21, 2014 at 12:45 PM

This needs to be posted every day, for the next two weeks.

ToddPA on March 21, 2014 at 12:55 PM

Hawaii police fight for the right to contract drug-resistant STDs.

Pork-Chop on March 21, 2014 at 12:56 PM

Hooker ‘em, Danno.

Mr. D on March 21, 2014 at 12:56 PM

Doesn’t the Constitution prohibit unequal protection under the law?

IE: if it’s a crime for a citizen it has to be a crime for a government actor?

If that’s not the case, what’s to stop exceptions to, for example laws against TAKING BRIBES or embezzlement for government workers?

ConstantineXI on March 21, 2014 at 12:56 PM

As always, South Park already hit it… so to speak.

Dukeboy01 on March 21, 2014 at 12:57 PM

“You’re under arr… you’re uuuu…oh… yeah… keep doing that… when you’re done I have some-mmmm… -thing to tell you…”

Dexter_Alarius on March 21, 2014 at 12:58 PM

“But honey, it’s my job!” -Officer Krupke

Akzed on March 21, 2014 at 12:58 PM

One rationale or at least analogy would be the war on drugs.

So yet another casualty of our heinous and futile war on drugs. Police officers need not obey the same laws as the rest of us. If we are not going to make drugs legal, let’s make prostitution legal and then we can at least put an end to this injustice. Legalizing both would be best, of course.

MJBrutus on March 21, 2014 at 12:59 PM

Akzed on March 21, 2014 at 12:58 PM

West Side Story reference, eh?

MJBrutus on March 21, 2014 at 1:00 PM

This is Jack Lord, and I say bare em, if you got em!!

Has anyone thought this may simply be a Rear of the Year Contest??

ALOHA!!

Jack Lords Hair on March 21, 2014 at 1:01 PM

Sorry, I have to flex my libertarian bone, so to speak. The world’s oldest profession ought to be legal and safe.

John the Libertarian on March 21, 2014 at 1:04 PM

I haven’t researched this, but I was a beat cop in Honolulu, so I have that going for me.

I suspect this applies to the massage parlor trade. I can tell you that all the arrests for street prostitution take place on the street. I never saw anything different. The U/C will get the hooker to offer sex, set a price, then bring out the bracelets.

AFAIK, in a massage parlor, it’s tougher to prove prostitution. Usually, the conversation is along the lines of “would you like something extra?” “want a happy ending?” Stuff like that. The prostitute can use the defense that she wasn’t talking about sex, just a REALLY GOOD massage.

With the exemption in place, some degree of sexual contact can take place without the prostitute claiming that the cop was simply a john.

Of course, I couldn’t resist writing all my former beat partner brothers tweaking as being the naughty boys they are.

Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

NavyMustang on March 21, 2014 at 1:06 PM

Police are supposed to stop crime.

No. Sorry, but this is a pet peeve of mine. That is not the function of the police. They are to arrest criminals either after having committed a crime. They aren’t supposed to stop crime. The 2nd amendment has a “stop crime” function built into it but not police forces. Yeah, they can wear uniforms and show their faces in public in order to deter a little bit of street crime, but that isn’t their job, really. Pulling people over to check for seatbelts or pulling over innocent people to give them a drunk test is NOT their job and is all very un-Constitutional, to begin with.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on March 21, 2014 at 1:06 PM

Is there a story behind the photo?

Arnold Yabenson on March 21, 2014 at 1:07 PM

Where’s Allahpundit?

blink on March 21, 2014 at 12:42 PM

…Mooch…is in China….right?

KOOLAID2 on March 21, 2014 at 12:46 PM

Have Mooch and AP ever been seen together in the same room??

Just sayin’

Pless1foEngrish on March 21, 2014 at 1:07 PM

NavyMustang on March 21, 2014 at 12:50 PM

Next time, try to pay attention in those training classes…

oldleprechaun on March 21, 2014 at 12:54 PM

LOL!

Speaking of old leprechauns, I’m pretty sure that I was one of the few, if not the only Irish cop on the force. Who woulda thunk it?!

NavyMustang on March 21, 2014 at 1:08 PM

Don Ho checking in:

“What’s with all these Effing Ho’s!!??”

Jack Lords Hair on March 21, 2014 at 1:08 PM

Have Mooch and AP ever been seen together in the same room??

Just sayin’

Pless1foEngrish on March 21, 2014 at 1:07 PM

Another person can fit into a room that Moochelle is already in? I don’t know about that.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on March 21, 2014 at 1:09 PM

Is there a story behind the photo?

Arnold Yabenson on March 21, 2014 at 1:07 PM

There probably is, but the photo wasn’t taken in Honolulu. The uniforms aren’t the same.

But, it could have been taken there. We cops got to know the hookers pretty well. Great sources of information. The transvestites in particular for some reason. Or “benny boys” as we called them.

NavyMustang on March 21, 2014 at 1:10 PM

Don Ho checking in:

“What’s with all these Effing Ho’s!!??”

Jack Lords Hair on March 21, 2014 at 1:08 PM

His daughter’s a double Ho, Hoku Ho.

She did have two good songs, one for each Ho.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on March 21, 2014 at 1:11 PM

New twist of Casablanca scene!!

Cop: “I’m shocked! Shocked to hear there is prostitution going on here!”

Madam: “Your clothes sir!”

Cop: “Oh, thank you very much!”

Deano1952 on March 21, 2014 at 1:12 PM

First, free doughnuts and coffee. Now, this.

orangemtl on March 21, 2014 at 1:13 PM

Sounds like more proof that cops in general are “pigs.”

Federati on March 21, 2014 at 1:14 PM

Where’s Allahpundit?

blink on March 21, 2014 at 12:42 PM

Trapped in a closet with Bishop. Snarkiest man comes out alive.

nobar on March 21, 2014 at 12:45 PM

My money’s on Bishop. He always comes out first.

backwoods conservative on March 21, 2014 at 1:17 PM

Is there a story behind the photo?

Arnold Yabenson on March 21, 2014 at 1:07 PM

I just did a search for “police facepalm,” and that was one of the first images I got.

Ed Morrissey on March 21, 2014 at 1:17 PM

Where’s Allahpundit?

blink on March 21, 2014 at 12:42 PM

On vacation this week, back Monday.

Ed Morrissey on March 21, 2014 at 12:43 PM

Not what Jazz said.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Allahpundit is still standing in line to volunteer for the Crimean Army, but should be returning as soon as that no longer exists.

Bmore on March 21, 2014 at 1:21 PM

Great picture!

“It’s a sacrifice, but it’s for my country!”

TerryW on March 21, 2014 at 1:25 PM

West Side Story reference, eh?
MJBrutus on March 21, 2014 at 1:00 PM

Yeah I guess JetBoy got it too.

Akzed on March 21, 2014 at 1:25 PM

Sorry, I have to flex my libertarian bone, so to speak. The world’s oldest profession ought to be legal and safe. John the Libertarian on March 21, 2014 at 1:04 PM

But it can’t be both.

And sex slavery is hard on women. So, there’s that too.

Akzed on March 21, 2014 at 1:27 PM

The rest of the country has been busting prostitutes without any problems by simply waiting until the “offer” is made and arresting them. Solicitation carries the same penalty as being “caught in the act” in most places.

There is no need for cops to, er, partake.

Sometimes undercover narcotics cops do use drugs to help their cover, though. And undercover cops commit minor crimes for the same reason.

Adjoran on March 21, 2014 at 1:27 PM

His daughter’s a double Ho, Hoku Ho.

She did have two good songs, one for each Ho.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on March 21, 2014 at 1:11 PM

“Tiny Boobies…in the sand”

Bert Convy will be along shortly….

Jack Lords Hair on March 21, 2014 at 1:28 PM

The new guy gets to work the tranny hooker detail.

slickwillie2001 on March 21, 2014 at 1:28 PM

***k ‘em, Dano!

Dexter_Alarius on March 21, 2014 at 1:32 PM

I know that cops undercover buy drugs, but they don’t actually take them, do they? Getting a hooker to agree to an exchange money for the trick is one thing, but “taking the drug” is another.

hip shot on March 21, 2014 at 1:32 PM

Adjoran on March 21, 2014 at 1:27 PM

Sorry, I just saw your post after I sent mine, I guess we said the same thing.

hip shot on March 21, 2014 at 1:35 PM

I’m pretty sure that I was one of the few, if not the only Irish cop on the force. Who woulda thunk it?!

NavyMustang on March 21, 2014 at 1:08 PM

Now THAT stretches credulity!

oldleprechaun on March 21, 2014 at 1:43 PM

I just did a search for “police facepalm,” and that was one of the first images I got.

Ed Morrissey on March 21, 2014 at 1:17 PM

Thanks Ed.

Arnold Yabenson on March 21, 2014 at 1:43 PM

Bert Convy will be along shortly….

Jack Lords Hair on March 21, 2014 at 1:28 PM

Bert should have gotten an Oscar for his role in Semi-Tough.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on March 21, 2014 at 1:44 PM

Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

NavyMustang on March 21, 2014 at 1:06 PM

There, fixed it for you.

DDay on March 21, 2014 at 1:49 PM

Going into public service has its benefits.

cimbri on March 21, 2014 at 1:50 PM

My quibble would be that when the lawbreakers know how far a cop is not allowed to go, they will make that new guy who wants to see where they keep the underage girls cross that line, just to make sure he’s not a cop.

Sekhmet on March 21, 2014 at 1:52 PM

We accept that trade-off in large measure because the police who work these undercover assignments don’t receive the normal “benefits” of the trade — the use of the drugs, and the profits.

You don’t think undercover narcs use drugs? Uhhhhhhhh got some news for you Ed – narcs use drugs. There are special rehab programs and facilities specifically for law enforcement officers who get addicted to various drugs.

As for the prostutition thing, I think S2 of “The Wire” and its episode that included McNulty finding himself in a menage’a’trois with prostitutes during an undercover sting is probably more realistic than uncommon. If the girl is over the age of 18, she isn’t a victim, at least in the sense you’re speaking of. If a cop has sex with a 15 year old prostite, throw the degenerate in prison.

King B on March 21, 2014 at 1:52 PM

Police haven’t said how often — or even if — they use the provision. And when they asked legislators to preserve it, they made assurances that internal policies and procedures are in place to prevent officers from taking advantage of it. …

Thanks for the laugh of the day Ed.

rbj on March 21, 2014 at 1:56 PM

Just put Magnum PI on the case.

WhatSlushfund on March 21, 2014 at 2:05 PM

Is there a story behind the photo?

Arnold Yabenson on March 21, 2014 at 1:07 PM

Word on the net is Dunedin, New Zealand.

Of course, prostitution’s legal there, for what that’s worth.

Arnold Yabenson on March 21, 2014 at 2:14 PM

In other news, Hawaii is now a “shall issue” state.

The Ninth Circuit Court recently ruled in Peruta v. San Diego that California residents did not have to show a “pressing need” for a concealed weapons license. Thursday, the Ninth Circuit extended that to Hawaii by overturning a district court ruling and thus making the Aloha State a shall-issue state.

http://patriotpost.us/posts/24218

Murphy9 on March 21, 2014 at 2:22 PM

Sorry, I have to flex my libertarian bone, so to speak. The world’s oldest profession ought to be legal and safe.

John the Libertarian on March 21, 2014 at 1:04 PM

Yeah. And talk about Vice Squads Gone Wild & Crazy (google it), spending huge amounts of public money in embarrassing debacles that do little but seriously infringe on our rights and freedoms, but doesn’t stop the trade, and we are not going to stop the trade. Keep it off the streets, fine, but let people do it behind closed doors as a consensual transaction because it isn’t the govt’s business to be busting down doors or sleeping with people before cuffing them. Cops should concentrate on real crime, where the violence is non-consensual. Not victimless crimes, and that includes this, as long as they are off the streets.

anotherJoe on March 21, 2014 at 2:26 PM

In other news, Hawaii is now a “shall issue” state.

The Ninth Circuit Court recently ruled in Peruta v. San Diego that California residents did not have to show a “pressing need” for a concealed weapons license. Thursday, the Ninth Circuit extended that to Hawaii by overturning a district court ruling and thus making the Aloha State a shall-issue state.

http://patriotpost.us/posts/24218

Murphy9 on March 21, 2014 at 2:22 PM

I hope that turns out to be so, but I’ll believe it when I see it. The Dimmocrat stupid is strong in that state. When I was there, the only person in Hawaii authorized to carry besides us cops was the HPD armorer.

NavyMustang on March 21, 2014 at 2:42 PM

The new guy gets to work the tranny hooker detail.

slickwillie2001 on March 21, 2014 at 1:28 PM

Actually, the new guy gets the “public bathroom” detail. Yuk! Another reason why I didn’t volunteer for Vice (which was the first step up the Detective ladder for many).

NavyMustang on March 21, 2014 at 2:43 PM

Actually, that’s the way to attack prostitution — by drying up the demand. How does that square with the exemption, though, when the cop is the john? Who’s getting arrested in that scenario?

You’re not thinking logically. In that scenario you would have a female officer posing as the prostitute. Which, of course, displays how absurd this is. Except for the modern liberated woman, I guess.

Fenris on March 21, 2014 at 2:56 PM

And sex slavery is hard on women. So, there’s that too.

Akzed on March 21, 2014 at 1:27 PM

Pun intended or just a surprise happy ending?

dentarthurdent on March 21, 2014 at 3:00 PM

Hawaii’s biggest whore is in the White House.

bw222 on March 21, 2014 at 3:09 PM

Hawaii’s biggest whore is in the White House.

bw222 on March 21, 2014 at 3:09 PM

You gotta pay extra for that much flexibility….

dentarthurdent on March 21, 2014 at 3:18 PM

job perks?

workingclass artist on March 21, 2014 at 3:45 PM

As always, South Park already hit it… so to speak.

Dukeboy01 on March 21, 2014 at 12:57 PM

You know how old that euphemism is? At least 400 years. :) Included in songs, no less.

OT/

Elizabethan porn. (While practicing archery; and all those bawdy terms are really terms of art within archery or games . . .)

MARIA
You still wrangle with her, Boyet, and she strikes
at the brow.

BOYET
But she herself is hit lower: have I hit her now?

ROSALINE
Shall I come upon thee with an old saying, that was
a man when King Pepin of France was a little boy, as
touching the hit it?

BOYET
So I may answer thee with one as old, that was a
woman when Queen Guinover of Britain was a little
wench, as touching the hit it.

ROSALINE
Thou canst not hit it, hit it, hit it,
Thou canst not hit it, my good man.

BOYET
An I cannot, cannot, cannot,
An I cannot, another can.

COSTARD
By my troth, most pleasant: how both did fit it!

MARIA
A mark marvellous well shot, for they both did hit it.

BOYET
A mark! O, mark but that mark! A mark, says my lady!
Let the mark have a prick in’t, to mete at, if it may be.

MARIA
Wide o’ the bow hand! i’ faith, your hand is out.

COSTARD
Indeed, a’ must shoot nearer, or he’ll ne’er hit the clout.

BOYET
An if my hand be out, then belike your hand is in.

COSTARD
Then will she get the upshoot by cleaving the pin.

MARIA
Come, come, you talk greasily; your lips grow foul.

COSTARD
She’s too hard for you at pricks, sir: challenge her to bowl.

BOYET
I fear too much rubbing. Good night, my good owl.

–Love’s Labour’s Lost

http://shakespeare.mit.edu/lll/lll.4.1.html

Meh. Shakespeare: total perv. I don’t know how much further back it might go, though.

– Might I just add, before hitting submit, that I appreciate all the hard work the moderators here at Hot Air do.

/OT

Axe on March 21, 2014 at 4:05 PM

Axe on March 21, 2014 at 4:05 PM

All that porn talk made it through moderation unmolested, as it were…

dentarthurdent on March 21, 2014 at 4:11 PM

All that porn talk made it through moderation unmolested, as it were…

dentarthurdent on March 21, 2014 at 4:11 PM

*wipes forehead*

. . . pretty touch-and-go, that comment. :)

Axe on March 21, 2014 at 4:17 PM

Trapped in a closet with Bishop. Snarkiest man comes out alive.

nobar on March 21, 2014 at 12:45 PM

Toss AP’s cat in there with ‘em and you’ll have real must-see TV.

platypus on March 21, 2014 at 4:25 PM

Prostitution rarely works on unsecured credit.

Damn, I KNEW I was doing something wrong.

gekkobear on March 21, 2014 at 4:32 PM

Toss AP’s cat in there with ‘em and you’ll have real must-see TV.

platypus on March 21, 2014 at 4:25 PM

Is it named Schrodinger, by chance?

dentarthurdent on March 21, 2014 at 4:35 PM

*wipes forehead*

. . . pretty touch-and-go, that comment. :)

Axe on March 21, 2014 at 4:17 PM

LOL.

But frankly, it just doesn’t come across the same way when told by Amy Farah Fowler….

dentarthurdent on March 21, 2014 at 4:37 PM

Ah, Hawaii! Having been stationed there both before and after a tour of duty in Southeast Asia, this article only affirms my conviction that the ‘Paradise Islands’ are Chicago with palm trees (and even the palm trees are carefully landscaped.)

The tourist from Ashtabula, Ohio, who thinks he’s a macho man because he’s making out with a hooker younger than his daughter at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, may not realize that the girl, for the past two nights has been servicing 32 sailors off a carrier (and now, apparently, 4 or 5 “investigatory” police officers as well.)”Hook em, Dano!”

MaiDee on March 21, 2014 at 4:42 PM

Going into public service has its benefits.

cimbri on March 21, 2014 at 1:50 PM

Shouldn’t that be: Getting serviced in public has its benefits?

platypus on March 21, 2014 at 4:45 PM

MaiDee on March 21, 2014 at 4:42 PM

ROFL!

I guess some people prefer their service providers to have, uh, experience….

dentarthurdent on March 21, 2014 at 5:17 PM

Fine and dandy, but who is going to pay for it? Who gets the benefit? The policeman? Or does he expense it and the taxpayers foot the bill?

ultracon on March 21, 2014 at 6:59 PM

Sorry, I have to flex my libertarian bone, so to speak. The world’s oldest profession ought to be legal and safe.

John the Libertarian on March 21, 2014 at 1:04 PM

.
Farming is “legal”, but I don’t see it getting much safer any time soon.

listens2glenn on March 21, 2014 at 7:18 PM

So, now we know where TJ Hooker got his training.

HiJack on March 22, 2014 at 7:31 AM

Honolulu police officers have urged lawmakers to keep an exemption in state law that allows undercover officers to have sex with prostitutes during investigations, touching off a heated debate.

Man, that’s sleazy.

And I doubt that it’s just because the water or air is different in Hawaii. It’s police culture in general.

Go back as far as you like in time and you will get story after story after story across this country of police officers engaged in crime. We only hear about the few sacrificial lambs that get caught and manage to bring down too much heat on their superiors.

Dr. ZhivBlago on March 22, 2014 at 10:02 AM

Dexter_Alarius on March 21, 2014 at 12:58 PM

Thread winner!

GWB on March 22, 2014 at 10:34 AM