Is it much easier for a prosecutor to obtain a rape conviction when the defendant has a solicitation conviction?


“Is it much easier for a prosecutor to obtain a rape conviction when the defendant has a solicitation of prostitution conviction on his record? Rape is a touchy subject and is a horrible crime. However, not all cases are black on white. There are cases in which the accuser has lied about getting raped to obtain revenge or for other motives.”

Having a PC 647(b) solicitation of prostitution prior does not automatically change “everything” nor does it necessarily make it “much easier” for a DA to secure a rape conviction. I wouldn’t characterize the 647(b) prostitution prior like this because we have too many variables.

Let me explain how having priors may or may not influence your case. First, we have the notion of merely having a record, or priors, so to speak and how this may or may not influence sentencing or charge bargaining. For example, a client with a rap sheet will usually have a more difficult time getting a plea bargain result (or sentence) on par with a no-record client facing the same accusations.

The second part deals with evidential admissibility – in other words, can the prosecutor introduce your prostitution prior at trial, and if so, for what purpose? There are two ways the prosecutor could try to introduce your prior 647(b): (1) in her case in chief to prove that you have a modus operandi or the intent to rape here (I am not saying this makes sense, I am only saying that this is one proper evidential purpose) under evidence code section 1101(b); and/or (2) in the defense case in chief, while you are on the stand testifying to show that you aren’t a credible witness.
A real deal lawyer who knows the evidence code should be able to file a highly persuasive motion in limine (pre-trial motion per evidence code section 402) to exclude your prostitution prior for all purposes. I have filed dozens and dozens of these motions and in similar capacities. I will tell you this: From my experience, most bench officers would exclude the 647(b) in the prosecution’s case in chief, but teeter toward letting it in while you are on the stand; find a true cross-examiner, a lawyer who pounds witnesses on cross and often wins without putting up a case. I feel especially strong about having a “cross and close” style lawyer in a he said/she said case. If it is only her word against yours, than it is often wise not to testify and do what is necessary to blow up the witness on cross-exam.