Even though paying a prostitute to have sex with you is a crime, Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) who’s confessed to having committed said crime, isn’t currently in jail. Nor has he ever served jail time, or been arrested, or stood trial. And as Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) writes, this makes it pretty rich for Senator Vitter to be upset about the fact that some unauthorized migrants to the United States aren’t being deported:
In the District of Columbia, it is a crime to engage in prostitution. In July of 2007, Ms. Deborah Palfrey, known as the DC Madam who had been convicted under this statute, published her phone records indicating that one of our witnesses was her client. Later Senator Vitter said this was a very sin in my past for which I am completely responsible. Under the DC criminal statute related to solicitation, the senator ninety to one hundred days but he never faced trial. In fact, prosecutors never brought charges. Sure looks like he benefited from prosecutorial discretion. I would not mention this incident today if it didn’t expose the hypocrisy of seeking to prevent the use of discretion to benefit others when one has enjoyed the benefit himself.
One important difference is that I think failing to arrest and try Vitter was a bad use of prosecutorial discretion. A trial for a powerful wealthy individual would have been an excellent teachable moment for the country to consider whether the current state of legislation around the exchange of sex for money really makes sense.