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People v. Lauria

California District Court of Appeal
251 Cal. App.2d 471 (1967)



A police investigation revealed that three known prostitutes were using Lauria’s (defendant) telephone answering service for business purposes. Stella Weeks, a police officer, went undercover, posed as a prostitute, and signed up with Lauria’s answering service. Over approximately a three month period, Weeks periodically complained to Lauria’s office manager about losing calls and not receiving messages for “tricks.” Lauria defended his service and emphasized that “his business was taking messages.” Thereafter, Lauria and the three prostitutes were arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit prostitution, a misdemeanor. Lauria objected to the arrest and told the police that, while he knew of only one known prostitute, his records were always available whenever the police had a specific name to investigate, but also that his service did not “arbitrarily tell the police about prostitutes.” The trial court dismissed the indictment brought against Lauria and the three prostitutes as lacking probable cause. The People appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Fleming, J.)

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