California Supreme Court: 'Wannabe' Pimp's Conviction Upheld

By Tanya Roth, Esq. on June 03, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Big pimpin is illegal, says the California Supreme Court.

Well, specifically, California's pandering law, essentially a prostitution law, applies to the "pimping industry," including unsucessful "wannabe" pimps, the California Supreme Court ruled earlier this week. This means that it is forbidden, under California's pandering law, for a pimp to try to recruit a current prostitute to join his employ.

The question at issue was this: If someone is already a prositute, is a pimp really in violation of the pandering laws in trying to solicit the prostitute to work for him?

The defendant in the case, Jomo Zambia, was arrested subsequent to an undercover operation in Van Nuys, where he stopped his pickup truck and attempted to solicit an undercover policewoman to work for him. In return for her wages, he offered her housing and clothing, writes the San Francisco Chronicle.

Zambia was subsequently sentenced to four years in prison under California's pandering law of 1953, which states that a person is guilty of pandering if he or she "causes, induces, persuades or encourages another person to become a prostitute" by "promises, threats, violence, or by any device or scheme."

The California Supreme Court upheld the lower court conviction and sentence, citing that the law was also aimed at pimps who try to enlist others' "ladies" to work for them as prostitutes. In her opinion, Justice Carol Corrigan writing for the majority, wrote "the offer increases the likelihood that the prostitute will be able to maintain or expand her activities."

Zambia's lawyer, Vanessa Place, argued that her client should have been charged with attempted pimping or pandering, writes the Chronicle.

Zambia is currently out on parole.

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