Monica Jones, a trans woman of color who was arrested in May 2013 because she was believed to be a sex worker, has won an appeal of her case. Her conviction has been overturned.
Jones was profiled and targeted by police in Phoenix, AZ simply for “walking while trans,” as activists have dubbed it. Phoenix has a program called Project ROSE that encourages the arrest of sex workers as a way of “saving” them, and Jones has long been an outspoken opponent of the program. She was convicted of “manifesting an intent to commit or solicit an act of prostitution” in April 2014, a wrongful charge that she formally appealed in August.
"I am so grateful to my legal team and all of my supporters across the country and world. My conviction being vacated is important but it is a small win in our larger fight for justice. There are so many trans women and cisgender women who might be charged under this law in Phoenix and similar laws across the country. There is so much more work that needs to be done so that no one will have to face what I have no matter who they are or what past convictions they have.”
Jean-Jacques “J” Cabou, a partner at the law firm of PerkinsCoie, represented Monica in her appeal and argued her case.
“Monica was convicted in an unconstitutional trial, under an unconstitutional law, of a crime she didn’t commit. We are incredibly pleased that the appellate court agreed that Monica was unconstitutionally denied the presumption of innocence and that the court vacated her conviction,” Cabou said.
Justice for Monica. Finally.