As jokes about happy endings and Robert Kraft make their way over social media, Kraft has assembled a legal dream team that may, with any luck, get him off (no pun intended) on two counts of criminal misdemeanor solicitation. While the stakes are not incredibly high from a legal standpoint (Kraft will likely get off with a small fine), the stakes are much higher for the rest of us. The team that busted the Orchids of Asia day spa and their customers, executed what is known as a ‘sneak and peak’ warrant which was made available to them in the wake of September 11th via the Patriot Act.
What is a ‘Sneak and Peak’ Warrant?
In the case of the Orchids of Asia day spa, police were able to break into the premises, set up surveillance cameras, and then watch as one person after another was pleasured by the staff. They did this without the owner’s permission or even knowledge. While it’s hard to justify the use of such an invasive breach of privacy for mere solicitation charges, the term ‘human trafficking’ has been dumped in the headlines enough to perhaps justify, at least legally, the use of a sneak and peak warrant.
On the other hand, no one was actually charged with human trafficking meaning the justification for the warrant and the subsequent charges that it brought forth may themselves be in jeopardy.
The problem for the police is that they executed a highly controversial warrant against a ‘house of ill repute’ that is connected to some very powerful people. The owner of Orchids of Asia, Li “Cindy” Yang was seen in a photo with the President himself and is connected to a number of highly influential Republicans in the State of Florida and beyond.
Now, Robert Kraft has brought in a veritable dream team of attorneys that are going to attempt to get all of the evidence from the surveillance thrown out. Without that evidence, the prosecution will not have a case against Robert Kraft or anyone else.
Kraft’s Attorneys will Target the Warrants
The only reason that Kraft has recruited so many high-profile lawyers (including one that represented Jeffrey Epstein) is to challenge the validity of the warrants. The Patriot Act extends exceptions to the Fourth Amendment that requires an individual be notified in the event that a warrant on their property is being executed. In special cases, police may claim that tipping off a potential suspect would imperil their case.
How should this case be adjudicated by the presiding judge? The question the judge will have to answer is whether or not the police could have achieved the same goal without executing the sneak and peak warrant. Logistically, it seems like basic undercover work could have accomplished what the sneak and peak warrant did. However, the prosecution will respond by saying that the warrant was justified on the grounds that the officers were investigating human trafficking which is genuinely terrible but not necessarily terrorism. The slippery slope is obvious here. Since there were no charges of human trafficking a liberty-minded judge could toss evidence gleaned from the warrant. But then again, maybe they won’t.
The Skier Law Firm P.A. represents those charged with crimes in the West Palm Beach area. Give us a call before saying anything to the police. We can help.