6/30/2016 - OKC, OK -- An alleged 'John' from New Jersey, arrested over a year and a half ago, receives his 15th continuance as he and his lawyer make a mockery of the legal process.
Back in November of 2014, Mark Thomas Smolen of Branchville, NJ. was arrested in an Internet prostitution sting - on his 50th birthday no less!
Smolen, a married father of four, allegedly just couldn't wait until he returned home to get his birthday candle blown out (so to speak).
According to court records, Smolen responded to an ad in the adult section of Backpage.com. That ad was actually placed by members of the Oklahoma City Police Department's Vice Unit in an effort to catch men soliciting prostitution.
Allegedly Smolen was directed to, and arrived at, room #218 in the Days Inn on S. Meridian Ave. in south OKC around 10 p.m.
Smolen was greeted by two undercover females Vice officers. Allegedly Smolen made himself comfortable and offered the faux-hoes $120 for oral sex.
Instead of singing "Happy Birthday", the undercover officers broke out into a chorus of "Freeze, your married ass is under arrest!"
Smolen was then transported and booked into the Oklahoma County Jail on a complaint of engaging in an act of prostitution. Smolen was released after posting a $500 bond.
Smolen was one of 20 individuals arrested that same week during an ongoing prostitution sting that ran Monday through Thursday.
On Jan. 12 of last year, Smolen was officially charged in Oklahoma County court with one count of misdemeanor "offering to engage in an act of prostitution."
On March 25, 2015 Smolen appeared with his attorney for arraignment and pleaded 'Not Guilty.'
After that single court appearance, over a year ago, Smolen has yet to move forward on his case and has requested and been granted 15 separate continuances by Oklahoma County Judge Russell Hall.
Smolen's latest continuance was granted on Wednesday and Smolen was given yet another date to appear in court - Aug. 3, at 8 a.m.
JohnTV has no idea what the logic behind this sort of defense is - maybe they are hoping the aging Judge Hall will somehow loose Smolen's paperwork and this whole case will just go away.
In reality, had Smolen simply pleaded guilty back when this case was filed, his deferred sentence would most likely be over by now and the clock would already be ticking towards the time he could get the entire matter expunged.
The next time you hear the Oklahoma County court docket is overwhelmed with defendants, keep this case and similar abuses of the system in mind.
JohnTV will continue to follow this case.