The Judiciary Committee enforces a three minute time limit, so you have to get to the point. I limited my remarks to just one aspect of the bill: a provision that would increase the maximum penalty for the crime of pandering when the victim is under the age of 18. I gave an example of a case where justice might have been better served, and public safety enhanced, had this been the law. The overtime warning light blinked red as I uttered my final syllable.
Back at the County-City building, I encountered a colleague, who shall remain nameless for the time being. "How'd it go?" she inquired. "Short, sweet, and simple," I replied. "You, or your testimony?" she asked.
At any rate, for those of you interested, here is the text of my testimony:
"I am here on behalf of the City of Lincoln to support LB 1145. I testified here two months ago on Legislative Resolution 243, and gave some local examples of human trafficking cases in Lincoln. Although few of these come to the attention of the police, I believe that they are more common than most people realize.
Today, I would like to focus on the primary reason I support LB 1145. The bill changes the crime of pandering from a Class 4 Felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison, to a Class 3 felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison, when the victim is under the age of 18. I think this change treats the crime with the gravity it deserves.
Shortly after my appointment as Lincoln’s police chief, our officers became involved in a human trafficking investigation in which a 28 year old man was ultimately convicted of pandering. He had lured a girl who had just turned 16 into the sex trade. The case that led to his conviction involved arranging an act of prostitution with a 47 year-old man here in Lincoln.
The “John” was convicted of debauching a minor, a Class 1 Misdemeanor, and sentenced to two years probation. The pimp was convicted of pandering and sentenced to prison for 2-4 years. He served a little less than two years, and was released. He has since been convicted of contempt of court, assault, three additional sex-related misdemeanors, and a felony Federal weapons violation that sent him to Leavenworth for a few years.
Something just isn’t right about this. Pandering, ought to be a more serious offense and the court should have the leeway to impose a more serious sentence."