from the Superior Court in Maricopa County No.
CR2016-153769-001 The Honorable Joseph P. Mikitish, Judge
Arizona Attorney General's Office, Phoenix By Joseph T.
Maziarz Counsel for Appellee.
Attorneys for Freedom Law Firm, Chandler By Marc J. Victor
Counsel for Appellant
Jennifer M. Perkins delivered the opinion of the Court, in
which Presiding Judge Randall M. Howe and Judge Peter B.
James Michael Lantz appeals his conviction and resulting
sentence for child prostitution. He argues that the trial
court erred by designating his offense as a dangerous crime
against children ("DCAC") and enhancing his
sentence pursuant to the DCAC sentencing law because the
child victim of the offense was not an actual child but an
undercover police officer. In Wright v. Gates, the
Arizona Supreme Court held that the definition of a dangerous
crime against children generally does not apply to an offense
where the "child" is an undercover police officer.
243 Ariz. 118, 121-22, ¶¶ 13, 18 (2017). Although
we agree that Wright requires that the DCAC
designation be removed, the relevant language of the child
prostitution statute nevertheless independently mandates that
the DCAC sentencing provisions apply to Lantz's offense.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
On November 15, 2016, undercover officers conducted a human
trafficking sting operation by posting several online
advertisements for child prostitution. Lantz responded to one
of these advertisements and began a text message conversation
with a male detective who was posing as a single mother
offering sex with her thirteen-year-old daughter in exchange
for a "donation."
After exchanging texts, Lantz asked to speak over the phone
and a female detective called him. During that conversation,
Lantz requested a photograph of the thirteen-year-old
daughter. Two female detectives then posed for a picture,
pretending to be mother and daughter. After using a software
application to obscure their appearances to some degree, they
sent Lantz the photograph. When Lantz received the picture,
he noted that the daughter appeared to be older than age
thirteen. Explaining that the daughter was nearly fourteen
years old, a female detective inquired whether Lantz was
still interested, and he assured her that he was.
After establishing some parameters for the sexual encounter,
the female detective gave Lantz directions to the sting
house. When Lantz arrived, the female detective opened the
door and invited him in, and officers arrested him.
The State charged Lantz with one count of child prostitution,
a class two felony and DCAC. At trial, Lantz admitted he had
solicited prostitution, but claimed he believed he was hiring
an adult prostitute who was simply role-playing a child sex
The jury found Lantz guilty of child prostitution, expressly
finding that the "persona of the minor . . . was under
the age of 15." The trial court found the offense was a
DCAC and sentenced Lantz to a mitigated term of thirteen
years' imprisonment. Lantz timely appealed.
Lantz contends the trial court improperly designated his
offense as a DCAC, and therefore incorrectly imposed an
enhanced sentence pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes
("A.R.S.") section 13-705 (2018). Relying on
Wright v. Gates, he argues the DCAC sentencing
enhancement "does not apply when a defendant commits a
crime against a ...