Not With a 10-foot Pole
February 10, 2007
I’m not sure just how the info was leaked — or, more precisely, how it was leaked to this particular person — but a reader got wind of some plans that I once had. I was pretty sure that I would abandon this plan, but I wasn’t absolutely certain until it came up here on the blog. I guess I should thank that reader for making me think it over carefully, because now there is no question in my mind about the correct course of action.
So, I’m blogging about it because there was a question-and-answer in one of my comment threads the other day which, in turn, has prompted several curious emails from readers. I’ve made my own decision without any help, but since the information seems to be out there in the wild, I’ve decided to answer those queries publicly.
…I heard about your board/blog and am curious as to what plans you have to actually initiate an alternative?
Can we begin to focus more on future direction and less upon “the other board?”
You appear to have the technical background necessary to launch an alternative, I think we can slowly garner a following. What about it?
It’s a good question, which I sorta answered on the spot.
Very astute observation. In fact, I have an alternative board — complete with innovative features that Tek could only dream about — mostly tooled up and ready to go.
Why haven’t I launched it yet? Because I have decided that the legal ice under these boards is very, very thin. Quite frankly, I’m pretty fucking happy that I’m not Tek right now, and I can’t think of any good reason to go down that path.
So… yeah. I registered a domain, and built a board — but stopped short of launching it. How come? I guess a more detailed answer is in order, especially since there are some readers out there who seem to think that it’s all fun and games. Hardly.
Ok, now follow along carefully…
Promoting prostitution in the second degree
(1) A person is guilty of promoting prostitution in the second degree if he knowingly:
(a) Profits from prostitution; or
(b) Advances prostitution.
(2) Promoting prostitution in the second degree is a class C felony.
Note the phrase that I have emphasized. What does it mean? Look at this:
Promoting prostitution — Definitions.
The following definitions are applicable in RCW 9A.88.070 through 9A.88.090:
(1) “Advances prostitution.” A person “advances prostitution” if, acting other than as a prostitute or as a customer thereof, he causes or aids a person to commit or engage in prostitution, procures or solicits customers for prostitution, provides persons or premises for prostitution purposes, operates or assists in the operation of a house of prostitution or a prostitution enterprise, or engages in any other conduct designed to institute, aid, or facilitate an act or enterprise of prostitution.
See that? Put these two RCWs together, and what you get is that any activity “designed to aid or facilitate” prostitution is a class C felony.
What’s that you say? You think this blog runs afoul of these laws? Guess again; I am exercising Constitutionally protected free speech here, and I “aid or facilitate” nothing. For instance, I don’t run advertisements for prostitutes, and I don’t provide email facilities for prospective clients to contact them. Almost any pooner board (that anyone would want to use), however, serves both of those functions.
And what’s more, there is a fairly recent Washington State Court of Appeals ruling that addresses (albeit tangentially) the Constitutional distinction that I’m talking about. In State v. Edward Hills (Washington Appellate Reports – 2005 to 2007 , Slip Opinions Part III, 50428-2-I), the court said, in relevant part,
Since statutes can only be overbroad if they sweep within their grasp constitutionally protected speech and since the Washington Supreme Court has held that the promotion of prostitution statutes do not prohibit any constitutionally protected speech,
therefore, speech which “aids or facilitates” is not protected, and is subject to prosecution under RCW 9A.88.080. Perhaps this theory could be disproven, but I think I’d rather let Lush, Tahoe Ted or Tek be the test case.
So, while hobbying is a misdemeanor — a calculated risk that many of us are willing to take — running a board is, quite arguably, a felony. And, tempted as I may be, I’m going to leave it to somebody else.