Sunday, November 17, 2013

Salaiscooper v. Eighth Judicial District Court case brief

Salaiscooper v. Eighth Judicial District Court case brief summary
34 P.3d 509 (2001)

The petitioner, a prostitute, contended that the district attorney's prosecution policy violated the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution. On appeal from the Las Vegas Justice Court, the Clark County District Court (Nevada) concluded the policy was constitutional. Thereafter the district court stayed the justice court proceedings until the instant court addressed the constitutional issues by way of extraordinary writ.

The district attorney's office implemented a policy that prohibited plea negotiations with sellers of sex who were charged with solicitation of prostitution. The prostitute contended the policy discriminated against females and sought one of three extraordinary writs to obtain relief from alleged selective prosecution: a writ of certiorari, a writ of mandamus, or a writ of prohibition.

  • The supreme court noted it was constitutionally permissible to treat prostitutes differently than their customers. 
  • The supreme court held the policy did not violate the Equal Protection Clauses of the United States and Nevada Constitutions, and concluded that extraordinary relief was not warranted. 
  • Moreover, the legislature had vested the district attorney with prosecutorial discretion and it was within the purview of his prosecution powers to treat buyers of sex differently than sellers of sex. 
  • Finally, the supreme court held the prostitute failed to prove the district attorney's decision to prosecute arose from an impermissible desire to discriminate on the basis of race, gender, or other protected class. 
  • Therefore, neither the federal or state constitutions compelled intervention.
See: Solicitation.
Because the case was one of prosecutorial discretion and not unconstitutional selective prosecution, the prostitute's petition for extraordinary relief was denied.

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