12/23/2013 – Tulsa, OK — A female Bixby Masseuse busted for felony prostitution in Tulsa pleads guilty, but not before filing an interesting argument against the 1,000 foot felony provision in the prostitution statute.
JohnTV first reported on the questionable arrest of Sandra Beth Knapton, 41, back in April.
According to court papers, Tulsa undercover police officer Joe Gamboa
was really horney when he made an appointment for a massage from Knapton, who goes online by ‘Diamond Sassy,’ at a Tulsa apartment in the 6300 block of South 107 East Ave.
Once there, the none-too-shy officer stripped down and laid naked on the massage table while Knapton reportedly tugged on his junk. Not quite sure he had enough (to make an arrest), officer Gamboa did ‘the flip’ and asked Knapton, “How much to have you?” To which Knapton indicated $300.
Officer Gamboa then gave “the bust signal” – most likely an erect penis – and Knapton was hauled off to jail and subsequently charged in Tulsa County with felony prostitution within 1,000′ of a church.
On July 5th Knapton pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 18-months deferred (supervised), and ordered to pay a $600 court fund fee, $150 VCA, court costs and complete a drug and alcohol assessment.
All of this is would be pretty mundane and ‘normal’ stuff as far as prostitution busts go, if not for the fact that Knapton’s attorney filed a motion to dismiss the felony prostitution charge because he felt it was too vague to be enforceable.
You can read the entire motion below – but in short, attorney Robert J. Stubblefield argued that the statute being used against his client – making a misdemeanor prostitution charge a felony because it occurred “within 1,000′ of a church” - vague and lacking ‘fixed meaning.’ – citing the 5th and 14th Amendments of the United States Constitution, and the Oklahoma Constitution Article II, Section 7, pertaining to the guarantee of Due Process, or, stated differently, the proscription of denial of Due Process.
Basically, Stubblefield claims the law does not specify as to how prosecutors are to ascertain the alleged crime of prostitution took place “within 1,000′ of a church.” … Do you measure from door knob to door knob, property line to property line, or from penis to pedestal? Which is important because apparently, depending on how you measure, the alleged crime took place either just inside or just outside the 1,000′ boundary (a certified land surveyor found that a straight line measure from Knapton’s apartment door to the church’s door was 1,053′.)
Prosecutors responded to the above motion with their own – which basically argued that their measurement (from the apartment to the ‘structure of the Heart Church) was only 914 linear feet and that they only need to establish probable cause at this point in the judicial process. Furthermore the prosecution argued that the law was not vague and that this matter had already been addressed in Maxwell v. State 2006 – wherein the prosecution argues it was determined that the proper distance to be measured is from the place of prostitution to the structure of the church (or school).
You can read the prosecution’s complete response below.
Knapton’s motion was field on July 1st and the state’s response was filed on July 3rd. Unfortunately, the case ended july 5th with a plea agreement and before the motion and state’s response could be ruled upon by the judge.
Regardless, its an interesting look at the legal ranging that can go on behind the scenes of prostitution prosecutions in Oklahoma.