The New Mexico Supreme Court will hear arguments next month in the case of a now-retired Fairleigh Dickinson University professor and former university president accused of running an online brothel, the Albuquerque Journal reported Wednesday.
Albuquerque authorities had a, and ex-University of New Mexico president F. Chris Garcia ran "Southwest Companions,” a website that linked prostitutes with johns and offered tips on how to spot undercover officers.
The prosecution hit a snag when a New Mexico judge said grand jurors hearing the case would have to be told of his ruling that a website message board could not be considered a "house of prostitution," the report said.
Prosecutors countered that the judge overstepped his authority and oral arguments are set to begin in New Mexico Supreme Court on Feb. 6.
The case has touched off calls for updated laws to account for digital prostitution operations. Authorities charged the website served as a "virtual" house of prostitution, but legal experts have said pre-Internet statutes don't address online activity.
Flory and Garcia were arrested by Albuquerque police in 2011 and charged with promoting prostitution. Police never accused the two academics of profiting from their alleged activity and an investigator told Patch that Flory ran the virtual brothel as a "hobby."