Carrying Condoms in New York Can Get You Arrested?

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Apparently so, though a piece of legislature is currently being considered to try and put an end to this.

Via Housing Works -- the nonprofit organization with the bookstores and the vintage stores and the AIDS prevention activism you've likely heard of by now -- condoms, under the current New York law, can be admitted as evidence of prostitution in the prosecution of a defendant accused of it. Though just cause is needed, it's certainly possible for someone to get arrested and entangled with the law simply for having a condom on them. Also, this obviously discourages the carrying of condoms by anyone who might find themselves entangled with the law.

The bill being put through to pass is S.2189/A.3856, and it would make condoms as evidence in criminal trials inadmissible. It was drafted by State Assemblywoman Barbara Clark and State Senator Velmanette Montgomery. Their legislation reads:

It does not promote public health and welfare if the law discourages prostitutes from carrying condoms. If anything, their use by prostitutes should be encouraged by public policy as long as the sanction against prostitution are not affected. Also, the mere act of carrying or otherwise possessing condoms should not, in whole or in part, expose the individuals to the risk of being accused of prostitution or directly related offenses.

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Sounds fair, sounds smart, sounds pretty logical. Then again, Guiliani's patently ridiculous Cabaret Law is still very much as in effect and outdated as it was the day it was signed into law, despite efforts by our current three-term mayor to get it repealed not once, but twice. So, you know, don't be surprised if New York State Law starts enforcing their pragmatism regulations again. It clearly wouldn't be the first time.

[fkamer@villagevoice.com]


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