• Human Trafficking Defense

Bob Kraft case: why was the video thrown out

Updated: Apr 2, 2020

security camera

Human trafficking. Human trafficking for any reason, but especially for sexual servitude are very serious charges. Law enforcement told the media very early that Bob Kraft case involved human trafficking. If Bob Kraft being charged with a criminal offense was not enough to get the media in a frenzy, the very serious charge of him being charged with human trafficking certainly did.

Human trafficking is a huge issue in the United States and world. In recent years there has been increased attention on the topic as many people including youth are being trafficked around the country for sex. As a result of the increased attention, states has passed tougher laws to deal with the problem. District Attorneys around the country have also increased their prosecution of these types of cases.

After months of the case going on, a lot of the attention has fizzled away. What we have since learned from prosecutor's media statements is that Kraft was not charged with human trafficking, but a lesser charge of solicitation prostitution. Kraft is now facing a misdemeanor verses a very serious felony of human trafficking. But the story doesn't end there. Even though Kraft is only facing a misdemeanor, he decided not to plead to the case and instead fight it on its merits.

The video. The whole case is pretty much based on a video at the massage parlor. In solicitation cases it is often difficult to get an eyewitness to testify for many reasons. First, there are not many people in the room where the massage is taking place. Second, the defendant has a right to remain silent so the prosecutor can't ask him or her any questions if the defendant chooses not to testify. Third, generally the only other witness there is the prostitute who has a fifth amendment right not to testify because she has committed a crime. Therefore, the only thing is left is the video.

In order for the police to place a secret camera inside of a massage room they need to justify their actions. One way to justify their actions is to apply and get a search warrant signed by a judge that allows for such recording. In this case, a judge did allow for a camera to be placed inside the massage room. The problem was the execution of the recording.

Kraft filed a motion to suppress the entire recording due to it being too broad and going beyond the search warrant. The problem in this case was that the camera was recording everything including people receiving massages who weren't doing anything illegal. So why is that a problem? The reason it is a problem is because every person has a right to privacy. When a person is not doing anything illegal he or she shouldn't be recorded and the police should take the necessary steps to avoid recording innocent people the best they can. It is not to say that every time an innocent person is recorded during a criminal investigation the recording is suppress. However, the court found that the police in this case didn't do enough to ensure an innocent person wasn't being recorded.

The case is not over as the prosecutor has appealed the judge's ruling to suppress the recording. If the appellate court agrees with the lower court's ruling then the prosecutor is really left with no case.

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