Austin Mederos, a former Alameda County sheriff’s deputy, is asking to be reinstated after being fired for allegedly soliciting a prostitute in 2013. Mederos was arrested for the crime of solicitation during a police sting after he apparently contacted a prostitute through a sex website in the Bay Area. According to court documents, Mederos met the woman at a hotel and agreed on a price of $60 in exchange for sexual acts. The woman was working undercover and at this time, Mederos was arrested by San Ramon police officers.
Mederos is claiming his job (working at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin) caused him such stress and anxiety that he needed human interaction after a breakup with his girlfriend. Mederos also stated the conduct was consensual and that the act would have been legal in parts of Nevada. Mederos was off-duty at the time of the alleged crime, however Sheriff Greg Ahern terminated Mederos on the grounds his actions reflected poorly on the office and were additionally illegal and immoral. After the Alameda County Civil Service Commission upheld Mederos’s termination, he filed a petition in Superior Court asking the ruling be set aside.
Prostitution and Solicitation are Prosecuted Aggressively
Prostitution and solicitation of prostitution are prosecuted aggressively as a criminal act in most states. The laws prohibit engaging in the act of prostitution (or even agreeing to engage in the act of prostitution) and offering money to a prostitute for a sexual act. The “middleman,” so to speak is known as a pimp and can be arrested for arranging or participating in soliciting the agreement, receiving a part of the prostitute’s pay or participating in procuring a prostitute. Due to the political and social pressures to arrest those involved in any crime related to prostitution, many police departments have invested significant resources in sting operations.
Legal Defenses to the Crime of Solicitation
If you have been charged with the crime of solicitation, it is imperative that you speak to an Oakland criminal defense attorney at the earliest possible time. Fighting the charges is vastly preferable to simply pleading guilty and accepting the punishment handed down by the legal system. While it may seem it would spare you some embarrassment to accept a plea, don’t forget that there are long-term consequences to pleading guilty or being found guilty of the crime of solicitation. Your attorney will determine which defense applies in your specific case, and may consider one or more of the following:
- Although police officers are allowed to engage in deception in order to catch someone committing a crime, there are instances when the police go too far and engage in entrapment. Entrapment occurs when a police officer harasses, applies pressure, or engages in fraud, flattery, or threats to coerce a defendant into engaging in a behavior he or she would not otherwise have done. Undercover officers typically pose as prostitutes or “johns” in an attempt to get suspects to engage in acts of prostitution.
- Lack of reliable evidence that proves beyond a reasonable doubt you engaged in solicitation or intended to engage in solicitation may be a viable defense in your particular case.
- Insufficient evidence to prove a crime was committed can also be a defense your attorney may want to explore on your behalf.
- The police officers may have made a mistake in the manner in which you were arrested or the manner in which the sting was set up.
- Actual innocence may well be your defense if you truly did not intend to engage in a sex act. As an example, if you called an escort service and intended only to secure a date or companion, you could not be guilty of solicitation.
In order to definitively prove you are guilty of solicitation, the prosecution must show you solicited another person to engage in an act of prostitution and did so with the specific intent to engage in an act of prostitution. Some courts are now requiring a third element under the legal definition of solicitation, which is that the individual being solicited must actually receive the solicitation. Even if the prosecutor cannot prove you are guilty of solicitation, he or she may elect to charge you with attempted solicitation. A conviction for attempted solicitation could bring as much as three months in jail and a $500 fine.
Contact Our Oakland Sex Crimes Defense Lawyers
If you have been arrested and charged with solicitation, it is important for your future that you contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. Aside from jail time and significant fines, there are many far-reaching consequences of such a conviction.
Call the Oakland sex crimes lawyers at the Law Offices of Nabiel C. Ahmed today for a free initial consultation. Call today at (510) 907-6600 or fill out our confidential contact form for more information.