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Arizona Court Says Adult Police Officers Can Pose As Juveniles

An Arizona court ruling says it doesn't violate a defendant's constitutional rights for a law enforcement officer to pose as a minor during a child prostitution investigation.

The three-judge Court of Appeals panel's unanimous ruling Tuesday says the law barring a defense based on an officer's pretense of being a minor is constitutional because it is "rationally related to a legitimate government purpose."

Buren Jarrett Burgess appealed his Yavapai County Superior Court child prostitution convictions stemming from an investigation in which two 27-year-old undercover police officers posed as 16-year-old prostitutes.

Burgess argued that the females appeared to be adults and that there wasn't evidence to support child prostitution charges against him.

Burgess was arrested in 2014 and the child prostitution crime has since then been changed to "child sex trafficking."

Claire Caulfield was a reporter and Morning Edition producer from 2015 to 2019.