Our client, age 45, had experienced the lowest of the lows, having been imprisoned several times in his twenties for residential burglaries arising out of his addiction to controlled substances. From those experiences, he had resolved never to entangle himself in the law again and to live a law-abiding life.
After getting out of prison, he landed a great job with health care benefits and a pension program. He had excelled in the job and married. He was turning his life around. He also continued to attend Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings to help others and stay strong himself, away from drugs.
Or so it seemed, at least until an afternoon in the fall of 2021. Our client was on a day off and, on his motorcycle, drove down Lankershim Boulevard in Sun Valley. As he got near the intersection of Lankershim and Peoria Avenue, he saw a woman who he believed was a prostitute. She was dressed in red sweatpants, a tube top and wearing flip flops. She was sitting on a bench for an abandoned bus stop. She was not a police decoy posing as a prostitute. She was carrying a few personal items in bags with her.
Our client then rode his motorcycle home, a short distance away, and returned in this car. Police patrolling in the area noticed our client on the motorcycle and then noticed him return in his car.
Our client then pulled over to speak with the woman at the bus stop. He asked her if she needed a ride anywhere and she said she did. She then got in our client’s car and closed the door.
Our client moved forward in his car, but drove no more than 100 yards before being pulled over by the same officers who were watching the woman and our client.
When asked if the two had agreed to exchange money for sex, our client replied that they had not, “but we were going somewhere to talk about that and agreed up this.”
Police interviewed the woman separately. It is unknown what the woman said to police, either corroborating the client or refuting his honest comments (or saying nothing to police).
Our client was then handcuffed and told to sit in the police car. Police then talked on their cell phones while our client sat nervously in the back of the car. Police then returned, issued him a citation for violation of Penal Code § 653.22 (“Loitering for Purposes of Solicitation of Prostitution”) and had him sign a promise to appear in the San Fernando Superior Court in about three months.
Our client was happy to not be taken into the police station for booking, but he was tremendously disappointed in himself more than anything else.
After being released, he drove his car home and called Greg Hill & Associates the same day. He spoke with Greg Hill and explained the facts, as well as his life story. He had been married for sixteen years and felt like he had let down his wife the most.
Greg commented that he thought the client had certainly violated Penal Code § 653.22 (“loitering for purposes of soliciting prostitution”), although it was not a strong case because police only saw him come by on his motorcycle, before leaving the area and returning in his car. It was not like most loitering for solicitation of prostitution where the client drives back and forth, back and forth, five or six times, for example.
The client also did not stop to speak to the woman until he picked her up.
Greg then explained to the client how there are certain programs such as judicial diversion and, often, Los Angeles City Attorney diversion, that would be offered to help him avoid a conviction. Greg explained what was involved in such programs and the sealing opportunities afterwards. Greg also explained how George Gascon’s new policies barred the District Attorney’s Office from filing such cases.
The client then hired Greg Hill & Associates and Greg wrote a letter to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, explaining that our client fell short of violating Penal Code § 647(b), solicitation of prostitution, and that a jury may find he also did not violate Penal Code § 653.22, loitering for purposes of solicitation of prostitution. Greg suggested an office hearing to address the case, but nothing more.
After Greg mailed off the letter to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, but heard nothing in response.
On the day of the arraignment, Greg appeared in the San Fernando Superior Court and was advised that the case was rejected for filing. Our office will never know if our letter made the difference (or was even considered), but the client was certainly happy regardless.
For more information about solicitation of prostitution, please click on the following articles: