A recent article by Sun Sentinel claims that the sting of the Orchids of Asia Day Spa was “bungled from the beginning”. This is largely because the judge presiding over the case has refused to admit video evidence gleaned from the controversial use of a “sneak and peek” warrant.
At the center of this “monumental bungling” is the question of whether or not state police filing state charges are allowed to use warrants that were made legal under the Patriot Act. Further complicating this issue, is whether or not the Fourth Amendment was violated in this instance and whether or not the surveillance was conducted properly.
In other words, the case has gone wrong in just about every way that it could for the Sheriff’s Department that sought to bust “human trafficking” across Florida. Thus far, however, no charges of human trafficking have been brought against anyone nor does it look likely that any will. Nonetheless, the term “human trafficking” has been dumped in the headlines enough times to make it almost synonymous with these charges.
Similar Cases Resulted in Charges
At the prosecution’s disposal was the fact that they were humiliated the men who were coming out of these parlors. Regardless of whether or not their warrant was legal, most men didn’t want to get caught in the spotlight fighting the admissibility of the evidence. Kraft, however, was already in the spotlight. That left the prosecution with less leverage and rendered their trump card unplayable. Kraft had every incentive to fight the charges tooth and nail and the quickest way to eliminate the prosecution’s case was to fight the evidence that was illegally acquired.
During the court proceedings, the prosecutors used graphic depictions to humiliate Kraft, doubling down on the hope that he would settle just to make the charges go away. Then, they offered him a deal saying that they would drop the charges if he admitted that they would have won at trial. At this point, prosecutors and law enforcement were more concerned with protecting their right to use sneak and peek warrants than prosecuting Kraft.
To Kraft’s credit, he rejected the deal and now such warrants may never be used in similar cases again.
Kraft’s Lawyers Accuse Law Enforcement of Misleading the Judge
Sneak and peek warrants still need to be authorized by a judge. But Kraft’s lawyers claimed that law enforcement misled the judge who issued the warrant by convincing him that the case involved human trafficking. In fact, that was one of the first allegations made in the press surrounding the Kraft case. However, there were never any charges of human trafficking nor was there any evidence to support human trafficking.
Then there was the issue of how the police installed the surveillance. They told owners of various day spas that they were investigating “suspicious packages” requiring the buildings be cleared out.
The overblown and unnecessarily aggressive tactics were used in lieu of actual police work which is why Kraft and his legal dream team were able to get the evidence quashed.
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