A defense attorney yesterday explained why a 22-year-old Northeast Philadelphia woman had gotten involved with her mother advertising in the "erotic services" section of the Web site Craigslist and offering to perform sexual services to an undercover cop for cash.
These were "two people, drug-dependent, trying to feed their habit by selling their bodies," attorney Dennis Turner, who represented Tami Smith, told reporters after Municipal Judge Ronald Merriweather sentenced Smith to three years' probation.
Smith, who in court wore a short-sleeve, cleavage-baring black T-shirt, is to be evaluated for her drug-treatment needs and is to pursue her GED and obtain job-training and parenting classes during her probation.
She and her mother, Traci Young, 39, had touted themselves on Craigslist as a sexy mother-daughter team. The ad showed them in tank tops, sitting on a couch, and read: "Make the right choice and call us."
Police Officer Donald Paxton, working undercover as a "john," went to the women's house on Ditman Street near Benner in the early afternoon of Oct. 2.
There, he said, the women negotiated to have sex with him for $200. After the women began to undress, Paxton called backup officers, and the pair were arrested.
Smith pleaded no contest in April to charges of prostitution and conspiracy.
Turner told the judge yesterday that Young had "most of the contact with Craigslist and the undercover detective." Smith, he said, "comes from a broken home" and was introduced to drugs by her mother. The lawyer said the case calls for support rather than punishment.
After the women's arrest, the city boarded up their home and put up a no-trespassing sign. Smith, after posting bail, returned to the house. Yesterday, she pleaded no-contest to a charge of defiant trespass.
Assistant District Attorney Nicole Pedicino yesterday asked the judge for the maximum probationary term of three years under intensive supervision, to which the judge sentenced Smith.
Young pleaded guilty in April to charges of promoting prostitution and conspiracy, but at her sentencing hearing last month, she withdrew her plea. She is scheduled to stand trial June 30.
Craigslist last month eliminated its "erotic-services" category and said it would screen a new "adult services" section.
Yesterday, Craigslist's Philadelphia site carried adult-services ads that included this one, featuring a woman in a white bikini: