Our client, age 32, was in Los Angeles for business. He had just flown in from Pennsylvania and immediately rented a car. As he was driving to his hotel, he decided to drive eastbound on Century Boulevard towards downtown Los Angeles.
As police in the area are well aware, Century Boulevard east of LAX is one of several “blades” where prostitutes meet johns for “business.” Other areas in the local area include Long Beach Boulevard just north of the 91 Freeway, Sepulveda Boulevard in Van Nuys, Garey Avenue in Pomona and Beach Boulevard in Anaheim, near Disneyland (redefining “The Happiest Place on Earth”).
Our client was apparently aware of this, too, and went to an adults-only website to make contact with an “escort” near LAX. Little did our client know, but the Los Angeles Police Department maintained several profiles of purported “escorts” and our client made contact with one such police decoy.
Our client texted the decoy, who told him he could purchase “full service” for “40 roses.” The decoy provided a photograph near her advertisement. “Full service” is street vernacular for sexual intercourse with oral copulation. “40 roses” is street vernacular for forty dollars.
The decoy then texted our client that he could meet her at a Quality Inn on Century Boulevard and gave him the address, as well as a specific hotel room number where he could meet her. Our client responded that he agreed to the “40 roses” and was on his way.
Once our client arrived at the Quality Inn, he parked his car and went to the specified hotel room.
Once the hotel door was opened, our client was greeted by a uniformed Los Angeles Police Department human trafficking vice officer, who immediately handcuffed our shocked client. The police officer searched our client and found about $100 in cash, as well as several Trojan condoms.
Our client was then photographed and fingerprinted at the hotel before being released once he signed a promise to appear in about three months in the Inglewood Courthouse. The citation indicated he had been detained on charges of violating Penal Code § 647(b), solicitation of prostitution.
Once our client returned to Pennsylvania, he called Greg Hill & Associates and described what had happened. He was quite confused about whether the arrest was lawful because no officer read him his Miranda rights prior to putting on the handcuffs.
Greg addressed this issue, explaining that the elements of the crime for solicitation of prostitution distill down an agreement between two people to exchange money, or anything of value, for sex and a substantial step by defendant in furtherance of the agreement. The officer did not interrogate our client in any way and our client did not offer any statements to the officer that our client would wish to suppress as required for proof of the commission of the crime.
Greg then explained how such cases are generally handled at the Inglewood courthouse. Greg added that with the new District Attorney for Los Angeles, George Gascon, under his special directive issue on December 7, 2020, the same day he took office, Los Angeles District Attorneys were instructed not to prosecute solicitation of prostitution matters except when certain exceptions applied (which did not apply to our client in this case).
Special Directive 20-07, as to what crimes the DA’s office would no longer prosecute, applied to our client’s case, however, only if the case were prosecuted by the DA. Greg explained that this case, due to its location in Inglewood or Hawthorne, would instead be prosecuted by the Inglewood City Attorney’s office or the Hawthorne City Attorney’s office.
While this seemed bad for our client, Greg then explained that under the new judicial diversion law, at Penal Code §§ 1001.94 to 1001.97, Greg would request judicial diversion for our client, which allowed him to earn a dismissal upon completing certain obligations specified by the judge. These would most likely include attending an AIDS Education and Testing class, as well as perhaps performing some community service, which our client could do in Pennsylvania.
The client then hired Greg Hill & Associates and Greg wrote a separate letter to both the Inglewood and Hawthorne City Attorneys suggesting the case not be filed because our client had no prior criminal history and the DA’s office would not file such a case. Moreover, our client had no prior criminal history and was extremely embarrassed by the incident.
Greg then mailed out the letters, but heard no response. He then appeared at the Inglewood Superior Court for our client’s arraignment, but no case was filed. Greg checked with the criminal clerk’s office, the DA’s office and the department where Hawthorne City Attorney cases are prosecuted, as well as the department where Inglewood City Attorney cases are prosecuted. In both departments, the city attorney there said that their office was no longer filing such cases, except when certain exceptions applied, i.e., the client had committed solicitation of prostitution within the last two years or had a prior conviction for a sex offense requiring registration as a sex offender under Penal Code § 290.
Our client, who remained in Pennsylvania, was happy with this outcome.