RI Criminal Defense Lawyer James E. Smith recently saw traffic to his blog covering questions related to this area of criminal law. If you have any questions regarding this new law contact RI Criminal Defense Lawyer James E. Smith as soon as possible at 401-649-0335 or via email by clicking HERE.
Governor Carcieri signs legislation making indoor prostitution illegal in Rhode Island Tuesday. Among those with the governor, from left, are: state Sen. Paul V. Jabour, Rhode Island State Police Col. Brendan Doherty, Attorney General Patrick Lynch, First Lady Sue Carcieri, state Rep. Elaine Coderre, state Rep. Joanne Giannini, and state Rep. Roberto DaSilva. Providence Journal / Kathy Borchers
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Governor Carcieri signed into law legislation to outlaw indoor prostitution in Rhode Island at a State House ceremony Tuesday afternoon.
The signing closes a nearly 30-year-old loophole in the state’s prostitution laws that has allowed prostitutes to work legally out of brothels, strip clubs, homes or anywhere else — as long as it’s indoors.
“For almost 30 years Rhode Island has had the terrible distinction of being the only state outside certain counties in Nevada where indoor prostitution is not considered a crime,” Carcieri said.
The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Joanne M. Giannini, D-Providence, and Sen. Paul V. Jabour, D-Providence, the governor said, will help protect the state’s most vulnerable residents and enhance the quality of life in Rhode Island.
It was approved almost overwhelmingly late last week by the General Assembly, which was meeting in special session.
In addition to the legislation’s sponsors, the attendants at the ceremony included R.I. Atty. Gen. Patrick C. Lynch and State Police Col. Brendan P. Doherty.
The new law “sends a distinct message to any group (which) thinks they could use Rhode Island in furtherance of their illicit business,” State Police Col. Doherty said. “The bottom line is commercial sex is now clearly illegal” in Rhode Island.
Lynch said that the new law will “end a blemish” on the state and give law enforcement the tools they need to investigate and prosecute prostitution and related criminal activity.
“Does this mean prostituition will be eliminated in Rhode Island forever?” Giannini asked. “Of course not. But it means Rhode Island will no longer be a safe haven for pimping and trafficking, and the victimization of young women.”
The law makes indoor prostitution a misdemeanor crime punishable, for first offenders, by up to six months in prison and a fine of up to $1,000, or both. However, the law empowers judges to erase the criminal convictions of first offenders.
Customers or “johns” face the same penalties as prostitutes, but without the possiblity of having their criminal record expunged.