Connecticut Police Use Craigslist To Fight Prostitution; As Their Attorney General Grandstands To Take Away That Tool

from the what-a-tool dept

We've been covering Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal's totally misguided crusade against Craigslist on the topic of prostitution. For years, he's complained and threatened Craigslist because prostitutes use the service. Of course, he's never taken legal action because he must realize that there is no legal action he can take. The law is pretty clear: the liability is on the users of the service, not the makers of the service. Even so, Craigslist has repeatedly changed the way its service works to appease Blumenthal, and while he initially seems happy with those changes, months later, he's always back to complaining (just in time for elections too...).

Of course, the point we've made all along in response to Blumenthal is that for smart law enforcement officials, Craigslist is an excellent tool for monitoring and cracking down on prostitution. In fact, it appears that some police in Connecticut are doing exactly that. Eric sends in the story of police in Naugatuck, Connecticut using Craigslist to crack down on prostitution in their city.

The police responded to a few ads that they believe were from prostitutes seeking money for sex, and arrested two women. Separately -- and a bit more questionably -- the police also put up an ad themselves, waiting for men to reply, and eventually arrested eighteen men who replied (including a city official). It's difficult to see how that latter part of the sting isn't entrapment, but they insist it's not. Either way, it does seem like a bit of a contradiction when the state's Attorney General is seeking to block Craigslist from dealing in such ads entirely while police in the state are using it as a tool against prostitution at the same time. Maybe they should talk to each other. But, of course, when Blumenthal's real purpose is not about stopping prostitution, but instead making sure he's re-elected, suddenly the seemingly contradictory actions make a lot more sense. Oh, and if Blumenthal is really looking to grandstand about Craigslist, why not complain about the fact that the guy who bought the Nissan Pathfinder used in the failed Times Square car bomb attack this weekend supposedly bought it via Craigslist. Surely, if Craigslist can be blamed for prostitution, now it can also be blamed for terrorism...


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 4th, 2010 @ 9:21am

    typical masnick overreach. damn, you are dense sometimes.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, May 4th, 2010 @ 9:27am

      Re:

      Blah, blah, the masnick blah. Yada yada yada , and ickety ackety oop .

      There! No you can cut and paste all future posts!

       

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, May 4th, 2010 @ 9:29am

        Re: Re:

        Whoops, forgot it will hide certain characters.

        Blah, blah, the masnick blah. Yada yada yada [completely baseless assertion], and ickety ackety oop [severe misunderstanding of economics].

        Now you have your template.

         

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, May 4th, 2010 @ 9:48pm

      Re:

      Remember that one time when TAM actually backed up one of his claims?

      Oh, nevermind, I think that was a hallucination.

       

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    weneedhelp (profile), May 4th, 2010 @ 9:33am

    Terorrist?

    Terrorism is, in the most general sense, the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion. At present, the International community has been unable to formulate a universally agreed, legally binding, criminal law definition of terrorism. (wonder why) Common definitions of terrorism refer only to those violent acts which are intended to create fear (terror), are perpetrated for an ideological goal (as opposed to a lone attack), and deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatants.

    "are perpetrated for an ideological goal"
    Dont think we have seen any indication about the ideological goal of this, or any of the past attacks.

    Yeah...lets leave the car running, flashers on, a toy "timer", and a bunch of other crap loaded in the car. This is the worst attempt at blowing something up. They must not have had Google. The mighty Al-CIA-da, which popped a bomb in the basement of the towers, supposedly with very little training, flew 2 planes into the towers, can now not even set off a simple bomb in a plane, or on a city street? Doesn't add up.
    Here are your "inexperienced pilots":
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EiAAd-10sSM

     

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    greg.fenton (profile), May 4th, 2010 @ 9:40am

    That drum will beat you back

    This guy has been on this Craigslist rampage for quite some time. Isn't it about time that one of his rivals points out how ineffective he's been in getting Craigslist shut down?

     

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      bwp (profile), May 4th, 2010 @ 9:46am

      Re: That drum will beat you back

      I think that since the SCOTUS said it's legal for corporations to give as much money as they want to political candidates Craigslist should put their own candidate up and back him or her with funds from escort advertising.

       

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    Duh, May 4th, 2010 @ 9:46am

    It makes no sense...

    How can it be illegal to sell something that it's perfectly legel to give away?

     

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    Freedom, May 4th, 2010 @ 9:48am

    Kim Kommando (sp?)

    I almost crashed my car driving into work yesterday when I heard our local radio star/Digital Goddess go off on Craigslist on her 30 second morning spot.

    She basically said that Craigslist was a evil capitalistic company that was making money off exploitation and if only they'd stop these erotic ads the birds would chirp again and the sun would shine. Obviously, not those exact words, but that is the feeling you walked away with.

    The absolute lack of real research is just amazing. Every day I see more and more examples of how useless the press is for anything and how they twist facts to promote their viewpoints/end goals.

    Of course no one touches the real issue with all this - If you can just take away your cult-like moral elitism that selling sex is bad, then you can read real research that shows the problem with prostitution is that it is illegal. If you truly want to protect the workers in this trade, the best way is to legalize it and then the whole CL issue goes away.

    It is funny how when you are intellectually dishonest that the real world gives you problems that can't really be solved. Last I checked we've been fighting prostitution since forever and so far no one has solved the problem yet. Maybe someone would say, hey, the problem is trying to fight it in the first place?

    As an aside, it really sucks being a fiscal conservative and social liberal. Where is my party? Frankly both parties are in it for nothing but control and power - just in different ways. Where is the party that believes in just government core services and no entitlements (cough) welfare? Love him or not, but Glenn Beck got it right in that right now we have no real choices - we got on the wrong tracks and are choices are false. America was formed on a libertarianism track and someone we forked and ended up in the mess we're in now.

    Freedom

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 4th, 2010 @ 11:24am

      Re: Kim Kommando (sp?)

      well of course Glen Beck is half right at points. He's fiscally conservative but a social nazi nut job. You have the right wing in the same breath wanting to expand the power of government to challenge any person walking on the street if they belong in this country or not and also say the left wing is just trying to expand the power of government and that is just plain wrong.

      Both sides are completely wacko and fiscal conservatives that don't want to expand government and want to dial it back have no where to go.

       

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 4th, 2010 @ 9:54am

    "It's difficult to see how that latter part of the sting isn't entrapment"

    It is no more entrapment than an undercover officer pretending to be a prostitute while standing on a corner

     

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      Richard (profile), May 4th, 2010 @ 10:10am

      Re:

      It is no more entrapment than an undercover officer pretending to be a prostitute while standing on a corner

      which is also entrapment

       

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        Pitabred (profile), May 4th, 2010 @ 10:23am

        Re: Re:

        No, it's not. Entrapment is when you encourage someone to commit a crime they would otherwise not commit. I can walk past a prostitute whether she's a cop or not. If the cop dressed as a prostitute makes the initial overtures and statements, then that's entrapment. But if they stand there passively in an area known for prostitution and get approached themselves, then it's not.

        Educate yourself: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entrapment

         

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          Richard (profile), May 4th, 2010 @ 11:41am

          Re: Re: Re:

          No, it IS still entrapment - what you are saying is that the degree entrapment is not sufficient to negate the prosecution case. If you had read the page you quoted thoroughly enough then you would have realised this.

           

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          DCX2, May 4th, 2010 @ 11:43am

          Re: Re: Re:

          This was my understanding as well. If the undercover goes up to you, that's entrapment. If you go up to the undercover, it's not.

          So, when the police put the ads up on craigslist, isn't that the equivalent of "initial overtures and statements"?

           

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            PCDEC, May 4th, 2010 @ 2:52pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Entrapment really isn't what everyone thinks it is. The prostitute(undercover cop) CAN approach the john first.

            The easiest way to describe it is this: An undercover cop is selling drugs on the street. If he comes up to you and asks you if you want to buy some weed and you buy some you are busted and it is not entrapment. The reason is that you would have bought the weed even if he wasn't a cop.

             

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    Title Checker, May 4th, 2010 @ 10:07am

    What is "Prostition"

    Another Techdirt invented term? ;)

     

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    Hulser (profile), May 4th, 2010 @ 10:16am

    Surely, if Craigslist can be blamed for prostitution, now it can also be blamed for terrorism...

    Don't give them any ideas. Remember, "Today's satire is tomorrow's reality."

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 4th, 2010 @ 10:27am

      Re:

      more like todays satire is tomorrows 'we have already shown that...' line that makes masnick so entertaining to read.

       

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        Hulser (profile), May 4th, 2010 @ 11:24am

        Re: Re:

        more like todays satire is tomorrows 'we have already shown that...' line that makes masnick so entertaining to read.

        I'm sure it's perfectly clear in your mind what you mean by a "we have already shown that" line, but for the rest of us, would you care to explain? And by "explain", I think you know I don't mean rote regurgitations like "typical masnick overreach", but an actual rational statement backed up by some supporting ideas.

         

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    John R, May 4th, 2010 @ 10:17am

    Entrapment... not.

    "Separately -- and a bit more questionably -- the police also put up an ad themselves, waiting for men to reply, and eventually arrested eighteen men who replied (including a city official). It's difficult to see how that latter part of the sting isn't entrapment, but they insist it's not."

    Entrapment is when a law enforcement agent induces a person to commit an offense which the person would otherwise have been unlikely to commit.

    The men arrested responded to the ad of their own violation.

     

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      Ryan, May 4th, 2010 @ 11:02am

      Re: Entrapment... not.

      And in classical entrapment, the citizen commits an offense of their own volition - it was just induced by the police first.

      In this case, the men responded to the ad of their own volition, yes...after the police induced responses with an ad.

       

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    dev, May 4th, 2010 @ 10:22am

    Craigslist should take the money is is now charging for the ads, and donate it to his competitors campaign.

     

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    James, May 4th, 2010 @ 10:24am

    Great writer

    Prostition?

    Hooked on phonics...

     

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    andyg8180, May 4th, 2010 @ 11:14am

    State Senate

    I'm pretty sure he's running for State Senate and not re-election... If he stayed at Atty Gen, thats fine and dandy, but he definitely does not have my vote for senator.

     

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    Johnny Canada, May 4th, 2010 @ 12:11pm

    Just a Thought

    Maybe the Naugatuck PD can charge Blumenthal with interference in a Police Investigations

     

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    Jon, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 12:02pm

    prostitution is wrong!

    Prostitution is wrong because guys who cannot realize the basic natural human drive to have sexual intimacy with others, due to being ugly, socially inept, or disabled, deserve to be lonely and miserable and suffer suffer suffer to my delight for being such worthless losers, while we superior people get to have sex. We need to suppress the sexuality of inferior people to protect women or something! Grrr!

     

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