Monica Jones ‘manifesting prostitution’ charges dropped
Trans woman Monica Jones has had all charges against her dropped after a two year fight.
Ms Jones was arrested after accepting a lift from an undercover police officer in Phoenix, Arizona who was conducting a sting, and she attracted the support of TV star Laverne Cox. She forced into a religious rehabilitation program which aimed to “save” sex workers. She refused to take part, and was prosecuted under “manifesting prostitution” laws.
Campaigners have argued that such laws are so vague that people can be charged under them for simply speaking to passers-by, asking if someone is an undercover police officer, or as in Ms Jones’s case, accepting a lift from a stranger. It was also reported the laws were unfairly targeting trans women, poor women and women of colour.
Ms Jones said of the laws “You never see a heterosexual transgender man [accused].
“It targets women, especially women in poverty, and women of minority.”
Her attorney Jean-Jacques “J” Cabou said to Buzzfeed News: “The case against her is officially over. We won a total victory on that front.
“The law on its face criminalizes protected speech, including speaking words and your appearance for the way you dress. [It] forces you to guess about whether standing on a street corner and waving your hands is criminal.”
However, now that her charges have been dropped, Ms Jones cannot mount a case against them as she and her legal team had been planning to.
Cabou said: “The law is still on the books, so they could send out officers to places where there is a lot of foot traffic and arrest people who are not traditionally empowered to push back against the police. Whether the city will do that after all the scrutiny of this law, I don’t know. I hope not.
“Perhaps now that there is no pending legal case, we can bring a political solution. If not, we’ll blow it up the next time someone brings a case.”