Friday, July 14, 2006

Love and Fun are not "things of value" in Illinois

An associate at a Chicago law firm writes with the following amusing observations about a peculiarity of Illinois law:

The definition of prostitution or the nature of the proscribed conduct varies with the governing law of the jurisdiction where it is unlawful. In Illinois, the definition is.

Any person who performs, offers or agrees to perform any act of sexual penetration as defined in Section 12-12 of this Code for any money, property, token, object, or article or anything of value, or any touching or fondling of the sex organs of one person by another person, for any money, property, token, object, or article or anything of value, for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification commits an act of prostitution. 

720 ILCS 5/11-14(a).

However this also takes in the "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend" cases.  Under this definition, you commit the offense of prostitution (prostitition is an offense in Illinois, 5/11-14(b)) if you have sex with someone (or touch or fondle his or her genitals for the purpose of sexual arousal), or even agree to do these things -- for hard cash, checks, or payment by credit card, precious gems, Ferraris, marketable patents, or even dinner and a movie.

However, if you do, or agree to do, any of these things in exchange for love or fun, you have not committed the offense.

It therefore seems to follows that in Illinois love and fun are not "things of value." Tells you something about this state, huh?

UPDATE:  Steve Lubet (Northwestern) writes:  "the Illinois associate should have parsed the statute more closely, noting that 'thing of value' has two elements.  It isn't that love and fun have no
'value' under illinois law, it's just that they are not 'things.'"  Professor Lubet added in a follow-up that "the statute could be construed to require the transfer of a thing of value.  Love and fun, of course, cannot be transferred but only shared."

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