The authorities realize which mediums are used to become involved in sex-related offenses. They know that Craigslist is used by individuals interested in committing sex-related crimes. Therefore, they go on Craigslist to find potential targets to arrest and prosecute in the Los Angeles courthouses.
Often, they will go into chat rooms, chat rooms; they will post advertisements on Craigslist and whatever medium on Craigslist they believe people are using who are committing sex-related offenses; that's where law enforcement is going to be.
Often, I hear clients saying, well, it was an 18 and over the site, so I don't understand how they got me. In the meantime, on that site or in some text message, the other party is indicating that they are under 18, and then the person is just ignoring that fact and still agreeing to meet with them.
There's sexually explicit language. If you put that type of stuff in front of a jury, the jurors will look at it and say, okay, did they have any information that the person was underage?
If the answer is yes, and you're talking about sexually-related contact – and they can read between the lines and see that you were trying to have some sexual contact with someone who indicated they were underage – they're not going to care about all of that under-18 policy on Craigslist. They're going to look at the facts that are presented to them.
The totality of the Circumstances
So, much of this stuff related to sex crimes in Los Angeles is common sense. If it goes that far, the prosecutors, judges, and jurors will look at everything and see what they think based on the totality of the circumstances – whether or not you were attempting to get involved in an illegal sex-related offense.
Of course, through your defense attorney – and even through you if you testify – your version of events will get out there, and depending on how believable your version of events is and what type of corroborating evidence can be brought to bear on that version of events – that's going to have a significant impact on what happens with you in your case and whether or not you can defend a sex-related offense.
A lot of these cases are defensible, and many issues aren't. If it's a case that's not defensible, then obviously, what you're going to want to do is huddle up with your attorney and get a game plan together, figure out what type of a strategy you want to utilize to resolve the case, do damage control and avoid some of the horrible penalties that come along with a sex-related offense in Los Angeles.
Use of Social Media Outlets to Commit Sex Crimes
As far as Craigslist goes, they will cooperate in any way they can with the authorities if they believe people are unlawfully using their site to commit sex-related offenses.
So, if they see something on there, they will report it to authorities. So will any of the other social media outlets – Facebook, Instagram – if they see sexually explicit material on there that they believe illegal, they'll let authorities know that there's a center that deals with people who are being exploited, especially if they are underage individuals.
I've seen Craigslist, Facebook, and all the social media outlets send cases there, investigate them, and deal with them. It's not like Apple iPhone, where they're not going to give their customers information. If the prosecutors issue a subpoena on Craigslist to get information and Craigslist has that information, they're going to give it up.
So, the bottom line is if you have a sex-related offense in one of the Los Angeles County courthouses and it relates to a Craigslist advertisement or some other medium within Craigslist, we can help you. You can come in and meet me. I've dealt with a lot of these cases, and sometimes there are defenses.
If there's a defense, we will put the time into an investigation and get you the best possible result. If there is no defense to the case, then we're going to do damage control and speak to the prosecutors and get the other side of the story to them to end up with the result you can live with.