A veteran Jacksonville police officer resigned last week after he was arrested on two counts of soliciting for prostitution in Duval County. David Sumlin, an eight-year veteran of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, was charged last week with two counts of soliciting for prostitution. The charge is a second-degree Jacksonville misdemeanor and punishable by up to 60 days in jail, six months of probation and a $500 fine. Sumlin was on-duty, in uniform and in a patrol car when the alleged crimes occurred, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The police department learned of Sumlin’s behavior two months ago and spoke with a known prostitute who said she had negotiations with Sumlin about having sex with him, according to the newspaper report. Police then used her as a decoy on two separate occasions, the second last week in which Sumlin agreed to pay $20 for sex, the newspaper reported.
Sumlin, 49, resigned from the sheriff’s office the next day and his law enforcement career is all but over. In cases like this with Jacksonville misdemeanor charges, the punishment from the judicial system tends to dwarf the other penalties Sumlin faces, both professionally and personally. An Duval County arrest like this, especially in his patrol car, is difficult to live down. But, from the perspective of a Duval County Misdemeanor Crimes Attorney, there could be a significant benefit to fighting the charges and making sure the state can prove its case.
An Experienced Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney would at least have a listen to the recordings police made in the case which document the conversation between Sumlin and the woman he thought was a prostitute. If Sumlin does agree to pay her $20 for some sort of sex act, then the case may be a tough one for Sumlin, but it would be worth hearing who was driving that conversation. Soliciting for prostitution cases can be very difficult for the state to prove, unless actual money changes hands as a part of the deal. Police regularly conduct undercover stings where they have either a male posing as someone looking for a prostitute or a female officer undercover as a prostitute. The decoy operation never gets to the point where a sex act takes place, but in some cases there can be doubt as to what constitutes an actual agreement. Another factor in these types of Jacksonville criminal cases is the state is likely to make an offer that does not include any jail time, unless a defendant has a lengthy criminal record. And most of the men involved just want the case over with sooner rather than later, so they’ll plead guilty, avoid jail time and try to move on with their lives. Depending on their chosen profession, it might not be that easy.