A Pennsylvania appeals court overturned the attempted prostitution conviction of a West Philadelphia woman represented by Philadelphia criminal defense attorney William J. Brennan. The ultimate outcome of the case was a major victory for both the client and the Brennan Law Offices.
Then: Susan Finkelstein was found guilty in March 2010 on the misdemeanor charge of attempted prostitution and was sentenced to one year of probation. The PA judge also ordered the defendant to perform 100 hours of community service. During that jury trial, Finkelstein was cleared on a prostitution charge.
Now: William Brennan, representing Finkelstein, appealed the misdemeanor conviction, arguing that his client could not be guilty of attempted prostitution unless she was also guilty of prostitution. Since the trial court jury found the defendant innocent on the prostitution charges, Brennan argued, she should also have been found innocent on the lesser charge of attempted prostitution. The Superior Court of Pennsylvania ultimately agreed with Brennan and reversed the conviction.
Back in October of 2009, however, when the case first went viral online, Brennan was interviewed, along with his client and her husband, on CBS News’ “The Early Show.” Finkelstein maintained that she was not actually offering sex to the undercover officers but merely trying to flirt with them in order to receive a discounted price on the tickets. Finkelstein wanted her online ad to “be fun and stand out,” she told journalist Harry Smith.
Finkelstein’s husband told Smith he knew all about his wife’s attempt to buy him tickets. In fact, when she left to meet the person who responded to her ad, the husband said, “Goodbye Susan, go get the tickets!”
Brennan noted that Finkelstein’s “innocuous post” was placed in the “tickets wanted” section of Craigslist, not the personal ad section. He also said the meeting was held at a bar, not a motel, and that there was no physical contact between his client and the undercover officer.
Background: In the Craigslist ad, Finkelstein described herself as a “gorgeous buxom blonde” who was willing to get “creative” in figuring out a proper payment for the hard-to-acquire baseball tickets.
An undercover cop with the Bensalem Police Department saw the ad and notified other vice officers with the police department. Bensalem police then set up an undercover sting operation and responded to the ad. The suspect allegedly answered the inquiries by sending a number of topless photographs. The undercover cops later met with the suspect at a prearranged location; that’s when Finkelstein was charged with prostitution as well as a lesser misdemeanor offense of attempted prostitution.
To learn more about this case, view the Philly.com article, “Court Overturns Sex for Phillies Tickets Case.”
If you or a loved one has been charged with prostitution, solicitation or any other sex crime in Pennsylvania, you need a qualified criminal defense lawyer on your side. William J. Brennan is a skilled criminal defense attorney with decades of experience fighting on behalf of defendants. Contact the Brennan Law Offices today to schedule a free consultation about your case.