A San Francisco jury relied on Facebook postings to decide that a laid-off cable installer was not guilty of beating a female pimp/prostitute who claimed he assaulted her in a parking lot.
Jurors deliberated for two days before acquitting 23-year-old Anthony Dorton, a San Mateo resident, of numerous felony charges, including assault, criminal threats, and dissuading a witness.
On Sept. 19, 2011, Dorton was arrested after a 35-year-old woman told police he pulled her out of his car by her hair, grabbed her cellphone, threw her to the ground, and punched her in the head after the two argued. She also claimed he forced her into prostitution.
According to the Public Defender's Office, the woman had approached Dorton's girlfriend on the street 11 days prior to the alleged attack, telling her she had been abused and prostituted by some other man and was now homeless. Dorton's girlfriend invited the woman to stay with the couple at their apartment, temporarily.
On that evening, after an unpleasant encounter with a client in San Francisco, the woman called Dorton and demanded he pick her up and take her back to his residence to get her things. When Dorton refused, she threatened to call the
police and "blow your whole world," according to public defenders. So Dorton picked her up and drove her to a SOMA parking lot, where she says he attacked her.
Then came the trial, when Deputy Public Defender Qiana Washington busted out images of the woman's Facebook page, where she listed her profession as a
self-employed "head pimptress in charge." The woman also bragged of earning
a graduate degree and a double major in "Advanced Pimpin" and "keepin
hoes in LINE!!!" The woman frequently wrote about supervising and
punishing prostitutes in additional Facebook comments, Washington said.
Washington also played audio recordings of the woman's interview with police, in which she said, "A bad bitch always keeps a trick up her sleeve. [Dorton] doesn't know that because he's just a kid, you know."
On the stand, the woman claimed she never worked as a prostitute before
arriving in the Bay Area and denied pimping other women. But Washington was able to contradict her testimony when she presented several ads on prostitution
websites showing the woman's images and listing her phone number.
One posting, advertising the services of a 17-year-old prostitute, lists
the older woman's number. On the stand, the woman admitted to taking
explicit pictures of the teen and fielding her calls, but denied she
was her pimp.
The accuser was further discredited when attorneys played a television news report from Occupy San Francisco, where the woman told reporters she was a retired nurse on unemployment.