Texas Lawyer Sentenced To 80 Years For Coercing Female Clients In Sexual Encounters

BENAVIDES,_MARK-SID_495595Texas attorney Mark Benavides will spend the rest of his life in jail for coercing female clients to have sex him in exchange for legal services.  A jury has now sentenced him to 80 years in prison.  Benavides was running for a judgeship as a Democrat when he was arrested.  He was disbarred in 2016.

Benavides was accused representing the women on prostitution charges and then not only coercing the women but videotaping the sexual encounters in conference rooms, a motel, and his office.  Roughly 250 DVDs were found.

One juror had to be dismissed after fainting when the tapes were played.

He has been convicted of six counts of continuous trafficking of persons, according to Dallas News.

 

53 thoughts on “Texas Lawyer Sentenced To 80 Years For Coercing Female Clients In Sexual Encounters

  1. Of course, I was joking when I said earlier that “It sounds to me like Mark Benavides was basically doing the same thing that Stephanie Clifford (aka Stormy Daniels) was doing.” “They were both exchanging sex for some other service and then videorecording the sex.”

    The law, of course, draw a great distinction between prostitution and pornography and the distinction lies entirely on who the party is that is making the cash (or equivalent) payment. Thus, if party A pays party B in exchange for sex, that’s prostitution. But if party A pays party B to have sex with party C, and then videorecords the event and sells the videorecording online, that’s pornography. Get the difference?

    Of course, this distinction is entirely artificial and an invention built into the law by the pornography industry, but nobody has successfully argued that the law is logical, reasonable, or sensible. It just is. And even then, if you’re powerful, connected, or wealthy enough, you can violate the laws without penalties or consequences of any kind. That ends today’s lesson in the law.

  2. For almost every reason you can think of, I think him doing this was a very very bad idea, but if I was trying to determine sentencing, I’d hope to have answers to the following:

    Was it his idea to trade for sex or their idea?
    Did he provide them with good representation or did he just go through the motions? (no double-pun intended). In other words, did he provide good results, good value?
    If it was his idea to trade sex for representation, did he coerce or force them, or was their acceptance of the arrangement voluntary and/or willing?
    If it was their idea to do this trade, did they coerce or force him? They might have heard that he had done this before, and they might have quasi-blackmailed him to accept their terms? I know that’s a stretch, but you never know about these things unless you ask.

    I believe a prior poster said he was working for the PD or on a PD contract. If that’s true, that would provide some answers and make it look much worse. He might have said: “yes, i have to represent you on the PD contract, but I won’t do a good job unless you do this and this.” If that’s the case, that would be a very aggravating circumstance.

    If he was working for the PD, does that mean that he was a “state actor” and the clients could sue the state under 1983 for ? Just a thought.

    In any event, as a knee jerk reaction, the sentence seems overly-punitive. If I read the above comments correctly, that seems to be a consensus. I would say sue the State (if 1983 or some other tort claim), give the victims some money, disbar him, and give him 5-10 or something like that (unless there was force, violence, etc.). I think a thousand hours of community service helping victims might be a good idea, too.

    I hate to say this, so don’t flame me, but if he was an alcoholic, the system (the state bar, etc.) would give him counseling, etc. I guess it’s possible he was a sex-addict or something. Should he get some consideration if a counselor confirmed that he had a sickness, as it were?

    You have to wonder what would have happened had he been elected judge ….

  3. We need more information.

    Did the prostitutes, who sold sex for money as their career, agree to a trade? Were they unwilling and he threatened them? Was he known as a popular john that all the hookers went to for legal representation, and paid in the only currency they could afford?

    It’s strange to think someone could go to jail for 80 years for something that’s legal in Nevada. However, that depends on what exactly happened. If this was simply a voluntary, consensual trade in kind, using an illegal activity, then disbar him and give him the usual sentence for engaging in prostitution. If he forced or coerced the women to have sex with him against their will, then that’s rape, and he should receive the usual sentence for raping that number of women. “Coercion” does not mean that he would only represent them for free if they would sleep with him, because they could have used a public defender. It hinges on consent, otherwise, I don’t understand why this is any different than any other gross serial john.

    We have such a fine line in our society. How many times have courtesans slept with wealthy men to get something? We all know about gold diggers who sleep around with rich men in exchange for houses, nice clothes, jewelry, art, money, or whatever. There are those who rush to have kids with various athletes so that they get a guaranteed cash flow for 18 years. Then there are the trafficked women who are desperately selling themselves on street corners because they got into drugs, or were abused, or some other horrible back story. There are porn stars who sleep with men for money, and get videotaped. That’s legal. I’m personally torn on this issue. I think prostitution often involves trafficking women and girls who start out unwilling, and then just give up. Or they began from a place of abuse and suffering. It’s unhealthy. I don’t want it legalized. But we seem to cut it pretty fine between a porn star, a prostitute, and a courtesan. They are all sleeping with men expressly for financial gain, but some have better marketing and put a bit of a shine on it.

    • News reports say he was a court-appointed attorney, which makes it worse, because he was representing the women under the auspices of the court, and the fear is that now over 5,000 court appointed cases he handed in the last 15 years may be tainted. On the other hand, since he was court-appointed, and most of these women had previous experience with the law, I’m wondering why they didn’t report the matter to the Public Defenders’ Office and request a different attorney. It seems the matter only came up when one of the women appealed her conviction, and complained that her P.D. said he could get the charges dropped in exchange for sex. So she was okay with it as long as she got a favorable outcome.

      • That does make it worse. If he was court-appointed, then they didn’t have to pay him. I wondered if this was their attempt to get a private attorney they could not afford otherwise. What did he convince them they were getting for their trade that they wouldn’t otherwise? Did he tell them all, like the woman in that example, that he would get a better deal for sex than he would otherwise? It still sounds consensual, and that they thought they were paying for something extra in trade. But he lied about his end of the bargain and defrauded them, in addition to engaging in prostitution.

        A sad case. I recall reading about a highly effective intervention program for prostitutes that treats them like victims of abuse rather than hardened criminals, since many of them got started that way or were otherwise damaged.

        • Some said he promised to get charges dropped in exchange for sex; others said that they feared he wouldn’t try very hard to defend them if they refused…..

        • I recall reading about a highly effective intervention program for prostitutes that treats them like victims of abuse rather than hardened criminals, since many of them got started that way or were otherwise damaged.

          Likely drug addicts, or, perhaps just unscrupulous women who discovered they had an asset they could monetize, kind of like pole dancers. Except, of course, you work for a club and it counts toward your Social Security.

          It wouldn’t surprise me to discover that there are social work types who fancy prostitutes are ‘victims’ and that they can sell this idea to prostitutes losing their looks and that they can sell this idea to ordinary women. Doesn’t make the idea something other than tommyrot.

          No clue who you fancy thinks of people guilty of class b misdemeanors as ‘hardened criminals’ rather than something less florid like ‘disgusting’.

  4. The sentence is excessive if no violence or physical force was used. If it was a straight-across barter of legal services for sex, and the victims could have declined the offer, then I’d say disbar him and give him 6-8 years in prison.

    • It’s also hypocritical. Foucault noted that brothel’s existed for the middle class, especially the clerks lawyers and judges, and he correctly noted that prostitutes and the likes were ideal “sub-cop” informants. The lawyers and judges who frequent “upscale” brothels, where half the workers discretely shoot their fix between fingers and toes, are not much different than this guy.

  5. This is called bartering and if a client doesn’t have the cash, and is agreeable to the exchange, what’s the big deal? Phony lawyers putting on their moral faces is disgraceful compared to the actions of this lawyer which basically is just go business.

        • Who said everyone who is bad is a Trump supporter?
          That’s nonsense.
          Finding someone apparently bereft of a moral compass and assuming he might be a fan of the most immoral and depraved President in our history is just a logical guess.

  6. He was paying hookers who get paid to get laid. It does not have to be in the shade. The sentence and charges are wrong. Disbar him but that is it. If this was Amstradam he would have his own bar. A tavern not a law practice.

  7. He should be disbarred, but 80 years in prison for being paid in kind is absurd. The court system is just an arena for licensed attorneys to play footsie with each other. It has little to do with justice. To ponder: which state has the worst courts? Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, Arizona…. so much competition.

      • John Grisham said he practiced law in Mississippi for 10 years (1975-85) and as far as he could tell dealing with him, Mississippi cops and prosecutors were square shooters. His one effort at non-fiction was examining a case (and adjacent cases) handled by the prosecutor’s office of Pontotoc County, Oklahoma. The conduct of the district attorney (one William Peterson) and agents from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, per Grisham, conducted themselves so deceitfully, abusively, and incompetently that he had to say he’d never seen it’s like. (The local police were peripheral characters in the drama).

        The various police forces, under the direction of OSBI hoovered up forensic samples from men all over town in that case but managed to miss collecting a sample from a bleeding obvious suspect. That man was acquainted with the deceased and had been the last person seen with her by eyewitnesses. The two men eventually convicted (using fabricated forensic evidence courtesy a crooked lab technician at OSBI) included one alcoholic local well known at that bar that none of the patrons had seen that night and a local schoolteacher whose only connection to the case was that he occasionally went pub crawling with said alcoholic local. In spite of the humiliation of having sent an innocent man to death row and having cost him and said school teacher 22 man-years spent behind bars, Wm. Peterson remained in office and was replaced in 2008 by his protege, who had worked in the office for 20 years or so. That’s the sort of institutional performance the bar and the voting public of Pontotoc County, Oklahoma find acceptable.

        Another high profile case is playing out in Tulsa. In July 2015, two brother butchered their parents and three of their five siblings. One was just over the age of 18, so subject to a capital sentence. The prosecutors accept a plea deal for him because they fancy his surviving sister cannot be expected to testify in court. They had ample forensic evidence, so why her presence would be needed at all is a mystery. His younger brother won’t plead so the case has to go to trial. They had a mountain of evidence against these two (who were caught all but red-handed) withing days of this rampage, but the trial date keeps getting postponed. After 33 months, the Oklahoma courts are still screwing with it. The trial has yet to commence.

        So, Oklahoma may win the suck-o award. I have to say, though, that the State of Arizona, which took five years to process an open-and-shut murder case against a defendant who was in custody within days of when the body was discovered, is tough to beat.

      • Pretty sure misconduct/corruption happens everywhere. I know from personal experience that it happens in Ohio, and I have no reason to believe that any of these states are special. The common denominator in all of these cases is the legal profession, not the geographic location.

        Maybe one difference between states is how seriously the state Supreme Court takes misconduct in the justice system. Here in Ohio, they’ll stomp it out as best they can — but only if someone points it out to them, and most lawyers just play along to get along. If they rock the boat, judges will make it harder for them to earn a living. It’s a county-by-county problem. If one finds a problem in a local court system, the odds are pretty near zero that any lawyer regularly practicing law inside that county with that courthouse will want to get involved in cleaning up the misconduct.

        It take an outside lawyer — or better still, a motivated citizen who doesn’t have to worry about practicing law for a living — to clean up corruption in a court system. The guys that usually practice law in any one courthouse are only interested in farming their livings out of that court.

        • I think we’re talking about different things. I’m talking about abuse of power and institutional lassitude, not corruption. The latter I would blame on the courts. It’s not such a problem in New York, so I’m not inclined to think it inevitable. Grisham’s complaint contra the local police and the local courts was implicit. It was the prosecutor and three crooked employees of the state police which were his primary target.

          • I think we’re talking about the same thing. I’m using the word corruption, and you’re saying “abuse of power and institutional lassitude.” Maybe you shouldn’t get hung up on the labels. The point is judicial misconduct and/or misconduct by the prosecutor an/or local police.
            My own personal experience includes all of the above — misconduct by judges, prosecutors, police (actually sheriff’s deputies), one bailiff, and one clerk of court.
            That’s the way it happens — in the local court system.

  8. Sounds like what Attorney Allen H. Isaac did to his client Luisa Esposito. He got away with it all. Despite having irrefutable and incontrovertible evidence. That’s because he is has a lot of Political Connections/ GOD.

  9. Not believable.

    This is a-typical of the ‘trafficking’ platform that corrupt prosecutors are so fond of…

    …organize the false accusers and other sexual partners and convince them to play victim for a rigged trial.

    (a) They were not ‘automatically’ coerced simply because the encounters took place
    (b) None of them claimed to have been forced.

    Corrupt trial, false conviction.

    • Too true Duane.

      Just another cowardly politically correct seXtreme Biblical sentence. An indictment of the feminized mock-Puritan victimizing system itself.

      ‘Justice’ they can’t even spell the word, let alone dispense it.

      Eight years might have been more just?

      Quote TRUE Brit T. Thomas, “The most unspeakable matriarchy in the whole history of civilization!”

  10. And Mr. Turley, there is no longer any “videotaping” of anything anymore. Videotaping is so 1980s. Today, everything is digital. I and many other musical aficionados still listen to tape recordings because we happen to enjoy the purity of analog sound, but the same can not be said for videotape recordings.

      • Jay, I used the term “videorecording” in my earlier post. It comes up in red type when I type it, so I suppose that it’s not a recognized word–but it serves the purpose best and will never go out of style, pending the invention of direct-to-mind digital transference, which I think will be many, many years from now, and even then will still be valid.

        • Ralph Adamo – if it makes you feel any better, FB is working on mind to typing direct at 100 per second. You think it, it is on the page instantly. Big Brother is at FB.

  11. It sounds to me like Mark Benavides was basically doing the same thing that Stephanie Clifford (aka Stormy Daniels) was doing. They were both exchanging sex for some other service and then videorecording the sex. Yet, Benavides goes to jail and Clifford becomes a media celebrity and a person held in the highest esteem by Mr. Turley and others of his ilk. Such is the double standard of our times.

    • Rockin’, Righteous Ralph.

      Not fer Capital Punishment here, but…surely such 1st Degree Hypocrisy should at least be a Hangin’ Offence, just stretch ’em a bit?

      “No!” U say?

      OK then, A LOT!! Hang ‘Em High ‘n then strrreeeeetch ’em real looooowwwwwww.

      Over to U BIG Clint.

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