Sheriff Uses Craigslist To Arrest Prostitutes… Blames Craigslist

from the cognitive-dissonance? dept

Reader cKarlGo points us to a story in Florida of local police arresting 28 women and six men on prostitution-related charges, after finding them all on Craigslist. They then used phone and email to negotiate with the women in order to confirm that they were selling sexual acts. Afterwards, they made the arrests. But here’s the kicker: the sheriff is still blaming Craigslist:

“How can Craigslist allow this kind of content on their (Web) site and then state “We’re not involved in any kind of criminal conduct,””

Well, it’s actually quite simple. I would imagine that, right now, somewhere in Sheriff Grady Judd’s jurisdiction, there are other prostitutes walking the streets. By Judd’s own logic, I should be asking why Polk County is involved in criminal conduct. After all, it’s happening in his jurisdiction. It’s just that it’s happening on the street. Or it might be on Craigslist. But it’s neither the fault of the street nor Craigslist — which is nothing more than a virtual street.

But, more to the point, why isn’t Sheriff Judd also blaming the telephone company and his internet provider? After all, Judd used three tools to find and communicate with these prostitutes: Craigslist, email and the telephone. The phone company allowed the prostitutes to make phone calls. Internet providers allowed the prostitutes to email. By Judd’s logic they’re “involved in criminal activity.”

In the meantime, what kind of thought process does it take to use a tool to help you crack down on prostitution, and then blame it for the prostitution? How hard is it for Sheriff Judd to recognize that Craigslist is an incredibly useful tool for his staff to find and arrest prostitutes. You would think that having just used the tool for that very purpose he might realize that it’s a great tool for catching prostitutes. So why is he blaming it?

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Comments on “Sheriff Uses Craigslist To Arrest Prostitutes… Blames Craigslist”

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Concerned says:

Re: Dumb Pigs

Oh come on. The mentalilty of “PIGS” or police as they are often called, is to protect every day citizens like yourself! Law enforcement has a limited set of tools to catch people breaking the law and the criminal’s tools are virtually unlimited.

I too blame Craig’s List. They could shut down this portion of the site and not encourage illegal activity.

I would hope that you think before posting such garbage in the future. Thank you.

A concerned citizen.

CommonSense (profile) says:

Re: Re: Dumb Pigs

Yes!! Blame Craigslist today, shut them down!! Then tomorrow, we’ll blame Craigslist’s replacement, and shut them down! And the day after that, we’ll tackle the next replacement…

You said it yourself, Law enforcement has limited tools, and criminals have virtually unlimited tools. Why take away one of the tools law enforcement can use (The Sheriff admits to USING craigslist to STOP some crime from happening…)??

Also, craigslist doesn’t encourage any illegal activity, they don’t have advertisements saying “Use our site to sell sex!” In fact, I’ve never seen an advertisement for Craigslist, and I know that their terms explicitly state that people who use the site should NOT be doing so for illegal purposes… Perhaps, Concerned, you should heed your own advice.

Cody Jackson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Dumb Pigs

Or they could realize that legislating morality is as effective as legislating stupidity and eliminate vice squads.

By and large, prostitution is not a bad crime. Illegal prostitution is much, much worse than legalized prostitution. Legal prostitutes have to have regular medical checkups, have to practice safe sex (no paying extra to go condom-less), and the prostitutes are protected, legally and physically, from abuse and assault. Plus, the state can tax their income.

Illegal prostitution avoids all of that. Many of the women are regularly beat up, raped, or otherwise assaulted, but they can’t go to the cops because then they will be busted for prostitution or told they “got what they deserved”. STDs are much more likely because they can earn more if they don’t practice safe sex. And illegal prostitution is also the realm of sex slaves and human trafficking.

Sex is a natural function. Humans are just different from other animals in that we can enjoy sex at any time because we don’t have a “heat cycle”. There is nothing sinful about it; that’s just an artificial idea put to it by religion to control people.

If you think about it, if man was made in God’s image (as claimed by the Bible), then the human sex drive is divinely given. Not having sex would be an affront to God, since He made us different from other animals. Heck, up until the late Roman times, and in some cases even later, there were temple prostitutes working for religious purposes. So it’s not like there’s a very valid reason for it to be illegal.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: 3 strikes law

“Its funny,”

Let ME tell YOU what I think is funny:

“that common sence is so limited”

Along with spell-checking software, apparentl.

“Thinking outside the box..”

Well, considering this dealt with prostitution, I’d say it as more like they were thinking ABOUT the box.

“I wonder if they Tag and release”

Given your capitilization, I can only assume that you’re referring to Tag body spray, which I think would actually work. That stuff smells so bad that you could probably follow it easier than a GPS chip anyway.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The phone companies (who publish classified directories listing “escorts”) and the local papers also make money off their ads. Why isn’t he going after them? No, he’s just a stupid politician who’s too dumb to know what’s good for him. Hopefully the voters will get rid of him at the next election, but in a red state, the voters usually aren’t too smart to begin with…

Anonymous Coward says:

Florida never smelled right

Looks like we found our guy that can also sue Concrete manufacturers.

Did a little more research on this too–
Also, the Polk County Jail started charging inmates $2.00 a day to stay in jail.

The beef is that the Jail already collects $93 a day in taxes. Maybe that goes to the Sheriff’s Friday night poker or slush fund. These books should be audited by a third party.

How do they get this money? Do they make trinkets and sell them on eBay? Sounds like legalized slavery if you ask me.

Overcast (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Florida never smelled right

No, the government will just steal it from them one way or another. The government legalized theft a long time ago. At least theft by the government. Of course that has been extended to politicians and big businesses (that bribe said politicians). But I digress.

You are right too – and they are probably the biggest customers for these people advertising on Craigslist too.

But seriously – WTF? Who does prostitution hurt anyway? People who cheat are gonna find it one way or the other anyway… I mean it’s not like prostitution in itself is really harming anyone.

Those that do get ‘harmed’ in this manner – well, are going down that path anyway.

Luci says:

Re: Florida never smelled right

Generally, inmates can do work that earns them a very small income to help them once they are released. In this case, however, $2 of that income is deducted from their ‘pay.’

Now, as to the $93/day/inmate collected, where do you honestly think that money goes? Utilities, food, pay for staff… Do you think there’s really anything left? A jail/prison is extremely expensive to upkeep. Sucking some of that upkeep from the inmates only makes sense.

R. Miles (profile) says:

Welcome to the digital age.

If it’s on the internet, it’s bad. Nevermind crime’s been part of human history since we crawled from the primordial soup.

I find this sheriff’s remarks to be no different than others who blame the internet for their woes.

It amazes me people think that people can be controlled simply because it is the internet.

I love the sidewalk example. I’d like to see this sheriff walk out and control every living human being in his jurisdiction. After all, he has the exact same tools available to him that Craigslist does.

Such idiocy.

I wonder how are forefathers would react if they saw this country today.

I’m guessing the “innocent until proven guilty” would immediately get tossed as the internet clearly shows this isn’t applicable.

Pjerky (profile) says:

Re: Welcome to the digital age.

I agree with you on most points, but as for the forefather’s reaction… Yeah they would be even more ignorant of how the internet works than the sheriff is.

No offense to our forefathers. Though if you really look at history our forefathers were essentially glorified tax evaders and businessmen looking to share less of their profits. What they did for everyone turned out to be wonderful, amazing, very brave, very ingenious (in their success and the design of the new government), and certainly warrants great respect, remembrance, and honor. However, despite what most people imagine their intentions were not entirely honorable and selfless and they certainly didn’t have hearts as pure as superman’s (I know, an odd reference given the context). I used to imagine them this way until I got older and gained a more mature perspective on them. But enough with that silly rant…

The problem really boils down to a combination of ignorance and trying to blame someone else for a problem. Most people seem have this mystical view of the internet. They view it as sudo-magic where anything and everything is possible. Both in what people do with it and the extent it can be controlled. Until the majority of policy-makers understand that things are not that simple and that the internet is not some form of magic, we will continue to see these types of stories.

Anonymous Coward says:

According to this logic, since we already have prostitution in the county why not just green light all possible methods of procuring a hooker.

Why in the world would anybody condemn a service that provides easier access to an illegal activity that demeans women and places them in harm’s way?

Screw the law, let’s just legalize rape then none of this will be a problem.

I swear the state of the human condition scares me to death some days.

:Lobo Santo (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Why in the world would anybody condemn a service that provides easier access to an illegal activity that demeans women and places them in harm’s way?

The harm comes with the illegality–all ‘illegal’ industries suffer from violence.

As for demeaning, what’s so horribly wrong with two consenting adults exchanging money for services?

AC says:

Re: Re:

Consider this. The prostitute was probably going to offer his/her services regardless of available methods of advertising. The john/jane was probably going to seek the service of a prostitute regardless of advertising. The public nature of Craigslist saved the cops the trouble of setting up a traditional sting.

I believe your objection to Craigslist is that the john/jane was more likely to pursue the services of a prostitute because Craigslist provided the prostitute a way to reach a wider audience.

If the cops were smart, they would use Craigslist to list prostitution services to catch johns/janes the same way they use undercover officers to catch them. Then the headline “Cops Use Craigslist to Catch Johns” might act as a deterrent.

Common Sense says:

Re: Re:

By that logic, we should outlaw motor vehicles because they give us a way to break the law. The internet in general should be outlawed, because we could use it to break the law. Hell, if a person is alive, they could break the law, so we should just make it so that no one is alive to break the law…. See how stupid extremism is??

A person can put an ad in the paper for everything they can put an ad on Craigslist for, so if Craigslist is a problem, why aren’t newspapers??

I could use my kitchen knives to commit a crime…why aren’t those illegal yet?? Just because something CAN be used to commit a crime, that doesn’t mean it WILL. And if you stab someone with your kitchen knives, why should mine be taken away also when all I do with them, is cut into my nice juicy steaks at dinner time.

Anonymous Coward says:

I have sinned

I ask you to share my prayer that God will search me and know my heart, try me and know my anxious thoughts, see if there is any hurtfulness in me, and lead me toward the life everlasting. I ask that God give me a clean heart, let me walk by faith and not sight.

I ask once again to be able to love my neighbor – all my neighbors – as my self, to be an instrument of God’s peace; to let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart and, in the end, the work of my hands, be pleasing. This is what I wanted to say to you today.

Thank you. God bless you.

President Bill Clinton

John Cocktosin says:

Then again, why...

Then again, why are we even arresting and/or prosecuting people for prostitution? Why are we imposing morality on two grown adults? If I (or society) doesn’t agree with sodomy, then should we start finding and prosecuting homosexuals who participate in this act? Of course not! Let people do what they want in the privacy of their homes, hotel rooms, etc. Craigslist actually keeps this stuff off the streets and behind the scenes. These women can discreetly market their services without having to walk the sidewalks.

And PLEASE don’t come back with the “but what about the sex slave market and children in prostitution?” I say, “FINE! Then go after those crimes and lock them up and throw away the key!” Kids get their hands on beer, wine, and liquor – so, should we BAN those!!!! Let police DO THERE DAMN JOBS! Stop making everything an excuse for banning this and banning that!

Anonymous Coward says:

Legalised prostitution works.

Just legalise prostitution guys. You can’t stop it from happening and there’s no point trying.

I live in Canberra, Australia, where prostitution is legal but heavily regulated. It’s not legal to sell sex services on the street, you can only set up a brothel in one of two areas, and newspaper advertisements have to meet particular standards (i.e., they can’t be too smutty).

All of this works really well. If you’re not interested in paying for sex, you don’t even have to be aware that it’s happening. No street hookers hanging around lowering property values, no gangs, no organised crime. It’s just some people running an honest business.

Making prostitution illegal makes about as much sense as making alcohol illegal, and it has exactly the same effect — the trade continues, but it’s criminals who are making money from it.

Anonymous Coward says:


“Oh come on. The mentalilty of “PIGS” or police as they are often called, is to protect every day citizens like yourself! Law enforcement has a limited set of tools to catch people breaking the law and the criminal’s tools are virtually unlimited.”

Law enforcement has nothing whatsoever to do with justice, or protecting citizens. It is merely a “for profit business”…

Overcast (profile) says:

“Judd used three tools to find and communicate with these prostitutes: Craigslist, email and the telephone.”

No, no – he’s using many, many more.

We have the power company – the phone, email, and telephone would not have worked without it.

The coal/oil/gas/nuclear fuel supplier for the power company.

The freight companies that got the fuel to the power plant.

The companies all involved in the acquisition, refining, and distribution of the fuels used for the power companies.

And we’ve only gotten started….

We also have to hold any and all ISP’s between his host he used to look the ads up and the ISP where the content resides – so all ISP’s on the route between the source and destination.

In addition, the government – Federal, State, and Local all have various ‘laws’ along with the FCC that regulate communications and such – they too had a hand in making this happen.

In addition, Microsoft, Apple, or another company provided the OS he used on the client as well as the host OS on the servers, and let us not forget Cisco and other companies that manufacture routers and switches – those too were needed.

In addition – the computer’s hardware is made from a great many sources, so many companies could potentially be liable too: nVidia, ATI, AMD, Intel, 3Com, SiS, Logitech, IBM, Dell, HP, Western Digital, Kingston, Antec – many, many more.

We cannot forget also the copper wire the data traveled over. But not *just* the utility company who put it there – but the people who mined the copper, the companies that refined it, the companies that made the wire and insulation.

Potentially any marketing company that advertised any of the above as well, along with any shipping, distribution company, as well – and again, the Federal, State, and Local Governments who licensed all these businesses to operate in the first place.

How long would a person be able to go on?

In the end – you could probably mix a good chuck of companies, governments, and others into this mix.

But it’s true – without any one of those ‘doing their part’ – it wouldn’t have happened on the computer – it would have happened on the city street – like it has for ages and ages.

TW Burger (profile) says:

Why Craigslist has an Erotic Services List

Craigslist has an Erotic Services list to allow women to eliminate pimps. If they do not have to work on the street they do not need the protection of a pimp (or work for a bordello owner) and are less likely to be abused and exploited.

I submit the proposition that this sheriff is possibly a pimp and anyone attacking CL for this service is a pimp or misogynist at best, and could be a serial rapist in his heart.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Good thing he didn't shoot them

Whadda find, Jim!

You know, I remember getting that email, and wondering how a man like that could keep his job.

Stay Classy, Sheriff Judd! He must have a 5th grader’s education.

Asked why they shot the guy 68 times, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd told the Orlando Sentinel … get this. “That’s all the bullets we had.”

Nastybutler77 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Good thing he didn't shoot them

“Stay Classy, Sheriff Judd! He must have a 5th grader’s education.”

Really? Some P.O.S. kills one of his deputies, his deputy’s dog, wounds another deputy, and then shoots at some other officers, and you think they don’t have just cause to light him up? What difference does it make if they use 3 bullets or 68 to kill him? He’s still dead. He wasn’t going peacefully so why not make sure he’s not going to be a problem?

I’m guessing you’re a UCLU loving liberal who thinks a stern tone is all you need to talk a homicidal maniac out of his killing spree. Well good luck with that, Bub. There’s a time for diplomacy and a time for action. Seems Sheriff Judd picked the right time for action.

Anonymous Coward says:

how are they going to catch them when there is no more craigslist ? the police are freakin stupid.they should set up a sting acting like they are going to legalize prostitution then document all the women who turn up willing to sell their arse check them for std’s and release all those that test clean.they cant stop it but they might be able to clean it up a bit

Anonymous Coward says:

Reno 911 Episode?

Maybe the real problem is that there is a team of hot, breathy women that a few years ago, worked at a nudie bar on Orange Blossom Trail. That is, until the new Sheriff came to town and found these ladies one evening and promised to help them get thru Police Academy.

Today, they’ve passed their exams so they work the prostitution sting shift. But no one wants to pick them up on the street, or re-hire them at the nudie bar. So they have to do filing and collating in the police station, wearing full uniforms, to feed their 3 children. *Sigh* so sad.

But, it could be the beginning of a good plot line for an episode of ‘Reno 911!’.

Pissed OFF says:

His officers were behaving badly during this bust!

I have been speaking to women busted and some who were let go, and not arrested. One girl refused to go into the house and demanded that if they were not cops they would come out and get in the car. The officer came out, got in the car and received ORAL SEX from this woman then tried to arrest her. According to what I was told, this woman went off on them claiming when they tried to arrest her, and surprisingly never ended up at the jail. There were also women stating that the officers got them naked and were TOUCHING THEIR VAGINA’S before arresting the women. How can these cops get away with this? How can this be allowed? It’s NOT ok for a man whose wife dies to pay for company but it’s ok for cops to get free Feels and Blow Jobs? I want people to know what took place in that bust and women were ALL THREATENED WITH felonies IF THEY TOLD! Threats, sexual services, no payment, cops took all the cash, cell phones and computers from women. Sounds like Cops are getting in the PIMPING business as pimps don’t pay, they take all the woman’s money, then humiliate and exploit her for financial gain leaving her FUCKED without the pleasure. Typical male BS! I’m SO OVER IT! There was ONE FEMALE OFFICER and tons of male officers and the female officer that was frisking down these women was a lesbian. How wrong is that? There is really something VERY SICK about this and someone needs to look into it by following up and contacting these women about their arrest to expose these cops for their tactics. I’m fed up with all these cops ringing my phone off the hook then laughing out loud when I tell them to fuck off. Why do I need to be harassed by his horn dogs when I would never go to his town? They are RUTHLESS and call women MANY TIMES who don’t want to travel. They offer extra money excessive to normal fees to their drivers and entice them with enough money in one visit to pay their rent for the month. It’s NOT RIGHT! They need to be stopped!

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