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Moten v. United States

Court of Appeals of Columbia District

July 3, 2013

Wendell W. MOTEN, Appellant
v.
UNITED STATES, Appellee.

Argued Nov. 15, 2012.

William Francis Xavier Becker, Rockville, MD, for appellant.

Kristina L. Ament, with whom Ronald C. Machen Jr., United States Attorney, Roy W. McLeese III, Assistant United States Attorney at the time the brief was filed, and Elizabeth Trosman and Peter Taschenberger, Assistant United States Attorneys, were on the brief, for appellee.

Before BLACKBURNE-RIGSBY and EASTERLY, Associate Judges, and REID, Senior Judge.

BLACKBURNE-RIGSBY, Associate Judge.

Following a bench trial, appellant Wendell W. Moten was convicted of one count

Page 1275

of soliciting prostitution, in violation of D.C.Code § 22-2701 (2009 Supp.). On appeal, appellant argues that although the statute defined solicitation for prostitution as a crime, it prescribed no corresponding penalty and that, without a penalty, he committed no crime. Alternatively, appellant argues that there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction. We hold that the Council of the District of Columbia's imprecise drafting, which has since been rectified, did not omit a penalty for solicitation and that there was sufficient evidence to find appellant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

I.

Before addressing the facts of this case, we first consider appellant's statutory challenge.[1] In the Omnibus Public Safety and Justice Amendment Act of 2009, the D.C. Council amended D.C.Code § 22-2701 to provide that:

(a) It is unlawful for any person to engage in prostitution or to solicit for prostitution.
(b)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, a person convicted of prostitution shall be:
(A) Fined not more than $500, imprisoned for not more than 90 days, or both, for the first offense; and
(B) Fined not more than $1,000, imprisoned not more than 180 days, or both, for the second offense.
(2) A person convicted of prostitution who has 2 or more prior convictions for prostitution, not committed on the same occasion, shall be fined not more than $4,000, imprisoned for not more than 2 years, or both.
(c) For the purposes of this section, a person shall be considered as having 2 or more prior convictions for prostitution if he or she has been convicted ...

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