Lawyer Uses Texas Case to Challenge Virginia Sodomy Law
Associated Press, August 14, 2003
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va.—An attorney for a man accused
of soliciting sex in a public restroom is trying to get the charge dismissed
based on a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning sodomy laws in
If Norfolk lawyer Jennifer T. Stanton’s motion is granted, it could stop
Virginia Beach police from setting up “sting” investigations in public
locations frequented by gay men looking for anonymous sex.
Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney Harvey L. Bryant III said the
motion may be the first attempt to apply the decision in the Texas case to
Virginia’s sodomy law. He said Wednesday that he has sent e-mails to all the
state’s prosecutors asking how they are pursuing such cases in light of the
high court’s ruling in June.
The motion asks that Virginia’s law prohibiting solicitation of an
illegal sex act be declared unconstitutional, Stanton said. Circuit Judge
Edward W. Hanson Jr. has scheduled a hearing for Oct. 1.
Vice detectives in Virginia Beach actively pursue men who frequent public
places such as restrooms and parks in search of sex with strangers, Detective
Jarvis D. Lynch said Wednesday.
Lynch made his comments while testifying about the arrest of Joel D.
Singson at Pembroke Mall on March 20.
Singson admitted Wednesday that he approached Lynch in a department store
restroom. He said Lynch was pretending to look for a sexual encounter.
Singson testified he decided “to go cruise a little bit” after paying a
bill at the store. After entering the restroom, Singson said, he approached
Lynch’s toilet stall and looked inside.
Both men testified that they exchanged comments regarding a sexual act, but
they differed slightly in what was proposed and where the act would take
Singson said he wanted to go to a private location outside of the store to
consummate the act. Lynch said they agreed to do so in a toilet stall.
Lynch contacted his arrest team via an electronic device and Singson was
Stanton said Wednesday that if the sodomy law is unconstitutional, then
what was solicited was a legal act and the charge should be dismissed.
She also said her motion may not be applicable in all situations where gay
sex is concerned.
“This may end up being a case by case situation,” Stanton said.
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