CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Charleston City Council members will vote today on whether to adopt an ordinance eliminating the possibility of jail time for first-time offenders of four prostitution-related charges.
The bill also contains a clause that retroactively applies the change to affect all "pending, but not yet finally adjudicated charges."
Last week, council's Ordinance and Rules Committee voted 6-to-2 to recommend the full council adopt the bill.
The two "no" votes came from at-large Councilman Chris Dodrill and South Hills Councilman Courtney Persinger, both Republicans -- said they didn't feel comfortable passing the bill with the retroactive clause.
Councilman Jerry Ware, an at-large Democrat, was also at the committee meeting, though he is not a committee member. Citing the same concern, he said he would likely vote against the bill.
The ordinance comes after a recent case involving Phil Reale, a prominent West Virginia lobbyist. Reale was arrested on solicitation charges during a West Side prostitution sting in July.
It was later revealed that Reale's name was left off a press release listing the names of others arrested during the sting. The charges against Reale were dismissed with prejudice in August, meaning the case could be brought to court again.
After the Daily Mail ran a story about the incident in October, Mayor Danny Jones said he wanted the charges to be re-filed, but also said he didn't think anyone should go to jail for certain first-time prostitution offenses.
The retroactive clause in the ordinance would affect Reale's case.