Eli Savit Profile picture
14 Jan, 13 tweets, 5 min read
Today, I’m announcing the Washtenaw Prosecutor’s Office will no longer prosecute consensual sex work. We'll focus on trafficking, sexual assault, victimization of kids. Our policy will facilitate prosecution of such crimes.

Please read our full policy: washtenaw.org/DocumentCenter… /1
At the outset, I want to make this clear. Declining to prosecute sex work DOES NOT mean we won’t vigorously pursue—& prosecute—human trafficking, pimping, those who engage in sexual/physical assault against sex workers, or those who try to purchase sex from minors.

We will. /2
Indeed, a key reason for today’s policy directive is that the criminalization of sex work *increases* violence & sexual assault—and makes it less likely to be reported.

If you fear that you’d face prosecution if you report an assault to police, you’re less likely to do so. /3
We’re making this policy very public because I want sex workers to know: Please. Report violence. Report sexual assault. Report human trafficking.

We will go after those who engage in those activities. We won’t prosecute you. /4
But there are other reasons for today’s policy directive. First, as a fundamental matter, I do not believe it is appropriate for people to be prosecuted because of what they do with their own bodies.

At bottom, that’s what the criminalization of sex work does. /5
Second, as noted, the criminalization of sex work—as with other prohibitionist policies—increases violence & coercion.

We see this repeatedly (as with drugs & alcohol). Criminalization creates black markets. Black markets encourage violence. Violence leads to victims. Enough. /6
Third, we're protecting public health. When sex workers fear prosecution, they lack leverage to insist on condoms. That’s why a series of papers in one of the world’s leading medical journals concluded that decriminalization is *the* single best thing to do to stop HIV spread. /7
Fourth: we need to look at equities. The people charged with prostitution in America are predominantly Black. Transgender people are also particularly likely to be arrested and charged—even if they’re not actually engaged in sex work. That’s unacceptable. /8
Finally: without stigmatizing the choice to engage in sex work, the truth is that many people would prefer to leave the industry, and to do something else.

Criminalization gives sex workers a criminal record, which can make it difficult to find non-sex work employment. /9
Perversely, then, laws which seek to *discourage* people from sex work often end up *trapping* them in sex work.

To paraphrase words most famously associated with the late Justice Ginsburg, these “paternalistic” laws place sex workers “not on a pedestal, but in a cage.” /10
The truth of the matter is, criminalization of sex work has not discouraged people from engaging in it. It’s called “the world’s oldest profession” for a reason.

And sex work is legal, to some extent, in around 100 countries across the globe. /11
It’s past time to stop criminalizing the choices people make with their bodies—and time to start focusing on public health, public safety, and fighting the scourge of trafficking and child exploitation.

That’s what we’re doing today. /12
As always, we didn’t create this policy on our own. I’m grateful for the many subject-matter experts & community members who provided guidance and counsel on this policy.

We’re building a safer, healthier, and more equitable Washtenaw, together. /fin

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More from @EliNSavit

13 Jan
Today (even with other stuff going on in the world) I’m pleased to announce a policy that—data shows—will save lives.

Specifically: we'll no longer charge criminal cases arising from the unauthorized use or possession of buprenorphine. The policy: washtenaw.org/DocumentCenter… /1
What’s buprenorphine? It’s a medicine that’s been proven to be *highly* effective at treating those who are physically dependent on opioids.

It makes it *significantly* more likely that people in recovery will avoid dying of an overdose. /2
Buprenorphine's been recognized by the State as the “gold standard” for treating opioid use disorder.

It remains, however, a controlled substance in Michigan, meaning that people can face felonies if they use it without a prescription, or share it with others in recovery. /3
Read 8 tweets
12 Jan
Today, I’m pleased to announce that we'll no longer be charging cases related to marijuana or entheogenic plants (naturally occurring psychedelics).

We'll also—categorically—be supporting expungement of old records relating to those substances, if someone’s legally eligible. /1
Let’s start with marijuana—or cannabis. As our policy outlines, it’s important to consider the history of the substance; the racially disparate effects of criminalization; its properties; & the current legal landscape.

You can read our directive here: washtenaw.org/DocumentCenter… /2
Some highlights: For much of U.S. history, cannabis was widely accepted, & was present in many medicines.

But anti-cannabis crusaders seized on anti-immigrant sentiment, rebranded it the Spanish word “marihuana,” & piggybacked on anti-Black racism to push criminalization. /3
Read 16 tweets
10 Jan
I've been thinking a lot about this. And I think Hawley's statement about how a private publisher's decision not to publish his book is "a direct assault on the First Amendment" is yet another indication of just how dangerous he really is.

He must be removed.

A thread. /1
To begin, Hawley knows this is wrong. The 1st Amendment doesn't apply to private publishers. This isn't a close call, or interesting issue. It's just straight wrong.

I'm not saying Hawley knows better 'cause he's got fancy degrees & clerkships. This is basic, basic stuff. /2
So he knows he's lying to people. Misleading them. To whip up anger. It's easily falsifiable. He knew he was lying--straight up--about the law. And he didn't care.


Because he thinks it serves him politically. He wants more and more and more power. /3
Read 8 tweets
23 Nov 20
Back-and-forth between GOP canvasser Norm Shinkle & @JonathanBrater, Michigan elections head.

Shinkle: Detroit city clerk is a "key witness" & asks if she was "summoned."

Brater: "She was invited."

Shinkle wants to make this a trial. But it's not. They have a duty to certify.
To be clear: the Board of Canvassers is not a tribunal with investigatory powers. There's no provision in law to "summon" someone to the state canvass--any more than you can "summon" someone to your house for a drink.

Shinkle's trying to turn this body into something it's not.
Now Michigan @GOP chair Laura Cox asks board to delay certification because "to remove the sense of distrust in the elections process."

She doesn't mention that that "sense of distrust" was willfully sowed--without any basis in reality--by the Republican Party & President Trump.
Read 6 tweets
27 Oct 20
I try not to hyperbolize here, but this is legitimately awful.

SCOTUS is laying groundwork to overturn the people’s will in the forthcoming election, & re-install President Trump.

The only way we prevent it is to win big.

The next 8 days will determine our future. Dig deep.
If you want to know WHY this is terrifying: the screenshots @LeahLitman linked suggest:

(1) it's (legally!) more important to determine a "winner" on Election Night than to actually count all ballots; and

(2) SCOTUS will overturn STATE court interpretations of STATE laws. /2
This means that SCOTUS could well disqualify ballots that arrive (or are counted!) after Election Day. This, of course, is allowed under some states' laws.

No matter, Kavanaugh says. If a state court determines it's allowed under state law, SCOTUS can and should step in. /3
Read 8 tweets
20 Sep 20
Scott's wonderful--& hilarious--memory made me smile, and inspired me to share one of my own:

The Time RBG Put Me In My Place re: My Jabot Game.

At the end of each term, there's a little party for Justices and the clerks. The entertainment's a "skit" put on by the clerks. /1
The idea is for clerks to make fun of the Justices. And it has to be funny. But not *too* cutting. They're justices, after all.

Anyway, I was tasked with the role of playing RBG. Mostly for the physical comedy. I'm a big 6'4. She's...well...she was built a bit differently. /2
To "play" RBG, I procured a black robe--I forget from where--and my co-clerks helped me make a jabot (those are the collars RBG wears).

We bought a lace doily, cut it up, and I wore it over the robe.

That was the extent of my costume. /3
Read 10 tweets

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