Monday, March 02, 2015

Phoenix Drops Unjust 'Walking While Trans' Charges Aimed At Monica Jones

Monica JonesMore good news coming from Arizona as we get word that the city of Phoenix prosecutors have dropped all charges against activist Monica Jones.

She was convicted in May 2013 of “manifesting prostitution” after she accepted a ride from an undercover police officer  during a Phoenix antiprostitution sting.

The case garnered international attention and support from Laverne Cox and the ACLU when Jones began speaking out against the unjust law resulting in 'walking while trans' profiling of trans women of color.

The ACLU has argued that the Phoenix law is too vague, in that the behaviors it describes are easily misinterpreted. For example, talking to passersby could be an indication that an individual is lost and seeking directions or that they are canvassing for a political cause.

Jones pointed out to Buzzfeed News  the law seems to target specific groups of people.

“I think there is a bigger issue that needs to be addressed,” Jones explained. “This law needs to be thrown out because it unfairly targets women, transgender women, and people of color living in poverty. Police wouldn’t [arrest] a man standing on the corner talking to a passerby.”

While she won an appeal of her conviction in January that granted her a possible retrial, it still left the constitutionality of the law in question

The decision by Phoenix prosecutors to drop charges came only eight days after Jones and her legal team appealed to a higher appellate court to have the law repealed on constitutional grounds.was timing that Jones' attorney Jean-Jacques Cabou notes, “coincidental to say the least.”

Cabou said he hoped city officials would consider repealing the law, but if not, “we’ll blow it up the next time someone brings a case.”

At the very least, for now, Jones can rest easier, says Cabou.

“The case against [Jones] is officially over. Monica never has anything to fear resulting from her arrest that night. We won a total victory on that front.”

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