In late May 2021, our client was driving home after working in a “ghost kitchen” that certain restaurants were using in the thriving delivery business that arose during COVID-19 lockdowns that closed restaurants for some time. Our client had worked a full day and was driving northbound on Western Avenue, approaching Martin Luther King Avenue.
As the reader may not be familiar with this area, it is directly west about a half mile from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum where U.S.C. plays its football games and the new Banc of California Stadium visible alongside the western side of the 110 Harbor Freeway.
According to the police report, the area near 41st Street (an east-west street) and Western Avenue “was the source of numerous citizen complaints of blatant solicitation of lone male motorists and pedestrians.”
In response, the Los Angeles Police Department organized an undercover “Trick Task Force” to arrest such Johns (men soliciting prostitutes) and show the complaining citizens that this type of conduct would not be tolerated.
Several female officers then dressed as “commercial sex workers” and were deployed to the area.
As our client was driving home, about 4:00 p.m. that day, he noticed a Hispanic woman and an Asian woman, both undercover decoys, standing along the side of the street near the Mustang Hotel. Our client pulled over and rolled down his passenger side window. The two women immediately approached his car and began a conversation.
Our client got right to the point, asking, “How much for a blow?” The Hispanic woman, dressed in a pink dress and pink sandals, answered “How much do you have?” Our client, age 34, answered “Fifty dollars.” The woman than said that was fine and our client asked, “Where can we do it?” The decoy said, “In your car or I have a room here in the hotel” and she pointed over to the Mustang Hotel.
Our client indicated he would like to meet the woman in the hotel and the decoy told our client to pull into the parking lot and meet her in a specific room number.
Our client agreed and pulled forward into the parking lot, where a police cruiser appeared “out of nowhere” (our client explained) and blocked him from leaving just as he parked. Our client was then asked to exit his vehicle and he was cited for solicitation of prostitution, a violation of Penal Code § 647(b), a misdemeanor. He was photographed standing outside his vehicle and signed a Promise to Appear in the downtown Los Angeles Superior Court for an arraignment about three months later.
The client was then permitted to leave. His car was not impounded.
The client was shocked and dismayed by what had just happened. He discussed the experience with a friend, who recommended Greg Hill & Associates, as he had retained us in a prior case and was happy with our service. The client had no criminal history. He was a U.S. citizen.
The client then called Greg Hill & Associates and spoke with Greg. The client explained what had happened and his concerns with his family finding out about the case, as he was married. He also wanted to make sure the arrest and the case record was erased from his record.
Greg explained how such cases were generally handled in the Clara Shortridge Foltz courthouse, where his arraignment would take place. Greg explained that for the location where he was arrested, the case would be assigned to and handled by the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office and the arraignment would take place on the seventh floor of the courthouse, most likely in Department 48 or 49.
Greg further explained how such cases were often resolved with “DA Diversion” wherein the Los Angeles City Attorney would offer to dismiss the case under Penal Code § 1385 (“in the interest of justice”) after a year if the client attended a “Prostitution Diversion Program” and otherwise stayed out of trouble for a year. With the dismissal being under § 1385, the client then had the option to petition the court to seal the arrest record and court file, which is an order to erase, delete or remove the record from the client’s criminal history (except for law enforcement use).
The client then hired Greg Hill & Associates and Greg appeared on the client’s behalf in Department 49 of the Clara Shortridge Foltz criminal courthouse (also called CCB). The case was assigned to Department 49 and, as Greg had described to the client, the Los Angeles City Attorney there offered our client “DA Diversion.” Our client would be able to earn a dismissal of the case under Penal Code § 1385 if he attended the one day, eight-hour prostitution diversion program for “Johns” offered by Journey Out. Greg accepted this on behalf of the client.
The client was happy with this and immediately signed up for the eight-hour program, eager to take the class and preserve his right to have the case dismissed in a year and later, to have the police report destroyed and the record of the case filing removed from his criminal history.
For more information about prostitution cases, please click on the following articles: