01.26.2015

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Press Releases

PHOENIX, Ariz. (January 26, 2015) - Perkins Coie attorneys Jean-Jacques “J” Cabou and Alexis Danneman successfully appealed the conviction of Monica Jones, the transgender student and activist wrongfully convicted under Phoenix’s “manifesting” intent to engage in prostitution ordinance.  On January, 22, 2015, The Hon. Crane McClennen vacated the prior conviction concluding the trial court erred in considering Monica Jones potential punishment in assessing her credibility.

“Monica was convicted in an unconstitutional trial, under an unconstitutional law, of a crime she didn’t commit,” said Cabou.  “We are incredibly pleased that the appellate court agreed that Monica was unconstitutionally denied the presumption of innocence and that the court vacated her conviction.”

In an error-ridden trial in Phoenix Municipal Court in April 2014, Jones, a transgender woman of color, was convicted of violating an unconstitutionally vague and overbroad law.  The law criminalizes waving at cars, talking to passersby and asking if someone is a police officer.  It infringes on protected free speech rights, including the right to express one’s gender identity.

Jones’s appeal was supported by the ACLU and the ACLU of Arizona, along with the Transgender Law Center, Lambda Legal Defense and Education fund and the Urban Justice Center, all of which filed an amicus brief on Jones’ behalf.

“Monica Jones was targeted by law enforcement after her public opposition to the coercive treatment of sex workers by Project ROSE,” said Dan Pochoda, Senior Counsel, ACLU of Arizona.  “The demise of this Project based on the inaccurate claim that most adult sex workers are ‘trafficked’ is further vindication of Monica.”

Click here to read the Higher Court Ruling / Remand.

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