Our client, age 40, was heading home from work at about 6:00 p.m. and was driving northbound on Long Beach Boulevard, just north of the 91 Freeway. He was driving his GMC Sierra pickup truck.
As Long Beach Boulevard intersected with Elm Street, he looked to his right and saw a woman wearing a red tank top and black jeans. She was also wearing sandals. She caught his eye, so he pulled over to the curb and rolled down his passenger-side front window.
Our client was unaware that this woman was a Los Angeles Sheriffs officer assigned to human trafficking task force and working as a decoy prostitute to arrest Johns. She approached the car window and he said “Hi.” She responded with “Hi, do you want to fuck?” He said, “Yes, how much?” She answered, “How much to you have?”
At this point, our client became concerned that he may be breaking the law, so he spontaneously asked the decoy, “Are you the police?” The sheriff’s decoy honestly answered, “No. Are you a police officer?” Our client answered, “No. I got 50 bucks, get in the truck.”
The decoy declined, but told our client to move forward and meet her around the corner on Bowen Avenue. Our client followed her instructions, but instead met up with Los Angeles Sheriffs who arrested him on suspicion of violating Penal Code § 647(b), solicitation of prostitution.
Our client was first taken to the Compton Police Station, just next to the Compton Superior Court, but because over 100 men were arrested in this sting along Long Beach Boulevard that evening, he was moved to the Inmate Reception Center (IRC) in downtown Los Angeles because it had more space to hold the arrestees prior to their being booked and processed.
Separately, our client’s car was towed to an impound lot.
Once our client was released and after he retrieved his truck, he called Greg Hill & Associates.
Greg listened to the client explain what had happened to him. He had no prior history, so the entire experience of being handcuffed and then shuttled from one police station to another and then released in the early morning hours from IRC was jarring.
Greg explained how such cases are generally handled in the Compton Courthouse, although he cautioned that with the recent recognition of the supposed prevalence of human trafficking through Los Angeles, the prosecutors may not be so lenient in resolving the client’s case as they would have been ten years ago.
Greg explained that the best resolution would be if the case was referred to an office hearing, wherein the case was never filed, but the client and Greg would attend a meeting at the Compton District Attorneys’ Office with a senior prosecutor. The three would discuss what happened and why prostitution is illegal at all.
The next best outcome would be if the client were offered diversion, either formal or informal, wherein he would be offered a chance to “earn a dismissal” by attending an AIDS Education and Testing program and then staying away from the incident location and out of all trouble for six months. If the client were able to fulfill such requirements, the case would be dismissed at the end of the six months.
The worst outcome would be if the client were forced to enter a plea of no contest to a charge of violating Penal Code § 647(b), solicitation of prostitution, and required to be on informal or summary probation for three years, with court fees and fines, plus the AIDS Education and Testing program.
Greg then went to the arraignment at the Compton Superior Court on the client’s behalf. The young district attorney there made an initial offer that included our client entering a plea to a violation of § 647(b), which was very disappointing. Greg requested a form of diversion so that the client could avoid a conviction.
Much to his credit, the young prosecutor then went upstairs to discuss the case with his supervisor, who agreed to formal diversion for our client. This required our client to enter a no contest plea to 647(b), but sentencing would not proceed. Instead, it would be delayed for six months and if our client attended the AIDS Education and Testing class, plus obeyed all laws and stayed away from Long Beach Boulevard between the 91 and 105 Freeways, his case would be dismissed in six months.
The client was very happy with this resolution, as this resolution would allow him to remain conviction-free.
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