No Sex With Prostitutes For Michigan Cops

Undercover cops in Michigan are one step closer to losing immunity from prosecution for having sex with prostitutes they’re investigating.

A bill that would repeal the exemption and subject police officers to charges for prostitution-related crimes unanimously passed the state’s Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. Senate Bill No. 275 now heads to the full Senate for consideration, the Detroit Free Press reports.

“This is as succinctly written as anyone could make it. It eliminates the opportunity for those in undercover law enforcement to engage in sexual intercourse with someone they’re investigating,” the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Judy Emmons, R-Sheridan, told the newspaper. “We have the dubious distinction of being the last state in the nation to have this law in our books.”

Emmons said law enforcement are “certainly not trained” to use such tactics, but acknowledged that the exemption must end, particularly as lawmakers work to fight human trafficking statewide.

Bridgette Carr, a law professor at the University of Michigan and founding director of the school’s Human Trafficking Clinic, said Michigan is the only state in the country to provide immunity from undercover cops who have sex with prostitutes during investigations.

Local and state investigators have said the tactic is not employed by investigators, an assertion backed up by the committee’s chairman.

“As a former sheriff, no modern-day police department would ever allow this,” said Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “This makes so much sense.”

But Carr told Detroit Free Press last month that it would be difficult to track the practice if indeed it was occurring – or how widespread the tactic was being utilized.

“It would be really hard to keep track of because of the immunity for police,” Carr said. “Folks with a lot of power have this immunity, and they’re around people who are really vulnerable. I’ve been working for a number of years trying to get rid of this immunity.”

Carr said she had been unsuccessful for years to see the exemption removed until she began working with Rep. Gary Glenn, R-Midland, who began crafting a similar bill last month in the House of Representatives. That bill has not yet had a hearing in the House, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Hawaii was the last state to rid its book of the exemption in 2014, according to the newspaper.

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