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Don't prosecute prostitutes

May 08, 2008

Re " 'D.C. Madam' found hanged," May 2

As a lawyer who defends women arrested for prostitution, I see how devastating it is for a woman to be convicted for crimes that should not be regarded as violations of the law. I am not surprised that a conviction with a six-year prison sentence, for activities that hurt no one, could drive someone like the "D.C. Madam" to take her own life. Deborah Jeane Palfrey has now become a martyr in the cause of expanding personal freedom.

Laws criminalizing prostitution among consenting adults are among the most hypocritical and oppressive in the criminal justice system. Just look at the high-ranking political figures who were among Palfrey's clients. How much time should they do behind bars? Does society want to drive these men to commit suicide too?

The best lesson to take away is that prostitution among consenting adults should no longer be a punishable crime. No more women or men should ever again hear the jail doors slam shut because of buying or selling adult sexual pleasures.

Edward Tabash

Beverly Hills

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