Our client, age 40, was working as a masseuse in a business within a strip mall on Parthenia Street in Northridge. The business was named a “Massage and Wellness Center.”
The Los Angeles Police Department Devonshire Area Vice Unit conducted an investigation into prostitution in the Northridge area and supposedly received a tip that a certain phone number could be called for prostitution and drug transactions.
The vice unit officers investigated the phone number and found that it was associated with three other phone numbers that were forwarded to it and that the phone number was also associated with a location on prostitution websites.
An undercover male officer then went to the location with cash and posing as a customer. He went into the location and was greeted in the front lobby area by our client. Our client, who was not born in the United States, but was a U.S. citizen, then led the undercover officer to a room with a bed covered in a white sheet.
Our client then gave the officer a hug and appeared to move her hands, the police report claimed, along his back as if checking for a weapon. She then said, “Massage, 40 bucks, OK?” in poor English. The police officer then handed our client a $50 bill.
Our client was dressed in a short black jean skirt and a black tank top. She then left the room and the officer proceeded to undress.
When our client returned to the room, she supposedly entered when the officer was fully nude and said to him, “Oh, nice.” She then put her open hand on his chest and let her other hand move down across his penis and around to his buttocks, which she allegedly slapped gently with a giggle. The officer commented, “well, it looks like I might be getting a little more than a massage.” Our client then allegedly shrugged her shoulders, laughed and pointed to the massage table in the room, indicating he should lie down on the table.
The officer then lied down, face down, and our client massaged her back for about five minutes before instructing him to flip over.
After the officer flipped over, our client looked at the officer’s penis and made a hand gesture suggesting oral copulation and asked, “you want, yes?” The officer said yes and handed our client $50 more. She then used both hands and made a gesture to indicate sexual intercourse and asked the officer, “you want, too?” The officer nodded and handed her another $100.
The officer then asked if our client had a condom and she allegedly said, “yes, I’ll go get one” and left the room. The officer then texted the other officers to enter the massage and wellness center to make the arrest.
Our client had left the building and was arrested walking across the parking lot.
After being booked and released after signing a promise to appear in the San Fernando courthouse in about three months, our client discussed the arrest with her immigration attorney, who called Greg Hill & Associates and described the situation. The immigration attorney also acted as the translator for the client, who believed an entrapment defense might be viable.
Greg explained how such cases are generally handled, why entrapment would not be a defense under the circumstances, and explained the Mary Magdalene program, now called Journey Out, for those accused of acting as a prostitute. Greg explained the judicial diversion program that would be available for the client, as well as how this case may be offered a form of Los Angeles City Attorney diversion that would be similar to judicial diversion, but is generally shorter, yet without automatic sealing upon completion.
The immigration attorney relayed the information to the client, who was greatly relieved that she would not face jail time, and retained Greg Hill & Associates.
Greg then appeared on the client’s behalf at the arraignment in the San Fernando Courthouse and indeed was able to have the matter referred to Los Angeles City Attorney diversion, which was informal diversion (the client did not have to enter a no contest or guilty plea first). The client’s only obligation was to enroll in and complete the Journey Out program and stay away from the location where the arrest took place. The case would be dismissed in four months if our client completed these two terms and otherwise remained out of trouble.
The client was very happy with this resolution.