Federal Judge May Give Madame 2nd Chance

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - by Hollie Webb

In the case of a Union City, Tn.,  woman who pleaded guilty to interstate transport of an individual for the purpose of prostitution, Federal Judge Sandy Mattice decided to delay her sentence for six weeks to see if she had changed her life.

This came after defense attorney Myrlene Marsa argued that Tatiana Valencia Wallace had not been involved in coercion of any form. She argued her client had not been any kind of "leader" at all.

Attorney Marsa said the defendant's role was more like that of a broker working with independent contractors.

She said her client never forced anything, but instead set up meetings for individuals who contacted her first. She said any woman involved in prostitution set up through Ms. Wallace "had the right to turn work down."

Ms. Wallace was arrested in a sting operation conducted by Chattanooga Detective Zach Fuller. Her business name was advertised in multiple states as "Dreamgirl Companions."

However, prosecutor Jay Woods said, "The fact of the matter is the defendant recruited, advertised, and provided services that without her would not have taken place."

Attorney Marsa said her client offered an opportunity but did not manage or supervise. She said the defendant had previously been a part of an escort service that had been more forceful and had wanted to get away. She said, "She wanted to offer people a way to do this if they were going to do this that was humane and not coercive."

Judge Mattice said, "I find that Ms. Wallace was at least an organizer in this."

However, he said, "The term human trafficking, to me, implies some element of coercion. I don't think that's what Ms. Wallace was doing."

Prosecutor Woods told the court, "All kinds of crime follows prostitution," saying the defense was trying to minimize the defendant's role.

Judge Mattice said, "There are a lot of people out there who believe prostitution should be legalized. Just like some people believe marijuana should be legalized." He gave the example of Nevada, a state that has legalized prostitution.

He continued, "If it is coercive, then the protection of the public plays a big role. But if there's not coercion involved, I don't know that there's anything to protect the public from. It's a voluntary transaction between two consenting adults."

Attorney Marsa told the court that since the defendant has been on probation, she has been working two legal jobs as well as making plans to complete her degree. She also said Ms. Wallace complied with police, even providing extra information.

She said, "She's done everything in her power to cooperate."

Judge Mattice decided to revisit the case in six weeks after getting information from the defendant's probation officer. He said, "Maybe it can become a home confinement if I can become satisfied that she has in fact turned her life around."

 However, he warned her, "You are now on law enforcement's radar screen, you are not realistically going to be able to go back into this business."

 

 


NAACP's Mapp Says IDB Should Not Be "Rubber Stamp"; Questions Deals For Black Creek, VW

Longtime Chattanooga NAACP leader James Mapp said Thursday that industrial development boards "should not be rubber stamps." He questioned deals through the City IDB for the Black Creek group and Volkswagen. Mr. Mapp said, "Throughout our nation's history, the lack of representative government has always been a point of contention for Americans, and a chief cornerstone of ... (click for more)

Man, 34, Dies Shortly After Being Arrested In Crossville

A 34-year-old arrestee died at Crossville on Sunday. Sheriff Butch Burgess said Rustin Grayson was brought to the Cumberland County Justice Center intake for processing after being arrested by the Crossville Police Department. Jail staff advised that when Crossville Police arrived at intake Grayson was unable to get out of the patrol vehicle without assistance. The Crossville ... (click for more)

Curtis Adams: Beck, Mackey Should Be Considered For County Commission Leadership

Just think about this;  a person highly qualified applying for a job.  As he is just about finished filling out his papers for his interview, he sees at the bottom there is a place for him to check Democrat or Republican.  He would think, “if I mark the wrong one I may not get the job.” Being a real leader requires honesty, integrity, and, most importantly, fairness. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Mark’s 50th Anniversary Toast

In the new book that celebrates the first 50 years of baseball’s Southern League, its splendid author Mark McCarter recalls that very early in his career as a sports writer, he was riding with his boss somewhere and mentioned that if the legendary Allan Morris ever needed help covering the Chattanooga Lookouts that he’d love to help. Today, as he looks back, he ruefully adds, “I ... (click for more)

Jones, Vols Meet The Press A Day Before Fall Football Begins

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- What did  Butch Jones  have to say about Tennessee’s 2014 football team on the eve of the Vols' first practice? Find out in this transcript of Thursday’s press conference:  HEAD COACH BUTCH JONES (Opening Statement) "It's great to see everyone, and I hope everyone had a great summer. We will hold an open practice on Saturday ... (click for more)

Jane Webb Is A Fun-Loving Runner At Heart

Jane Webb isn’t one of those people who started running when she was a kid, but she loves the benefits since she restarted her running career about four years ago. She’s all about being active and doing things that are good for you,   but long-distance running never really captured her attention and she’s found that she can receive the same payoff by covering ... (click for more)