Mandatory 45-day jail sentences are prescribed for second-offense convictions in prostitution cases, and anything less is illegal, Mayor Jonathan Cannon told residents at this week’s City Council meeting.
The state Penal Code also requires 90-day sentences for third convictions, he said.
Despite the code, judges have been handing out sentences of two to 10 days to offenders convicted between five and 15 times, he said. “These are illegal sentences,” Cannon told the audience.
The mayor was responding to complaints from residents of the Quatro neighborhood, just off Harbor Boulevard, who say the area has become a hangout for a large number of prostitutes from Anaheim and Santa Ana.
Cannon said he has discussed the problem with Santa Ana Mayor Daniel E. Griset, and will meet next week with Don Roth, mayor of Anaheim. Cannon said his plan is for the three mayors to collect case evidence of overly lenient sentences, then demand a meeting with judges to press their point. “If they (judges) don’t meet with us, we can take other action,” said Cannon, who is an attorney.
He said he is also seeking to have bail in prostitution cases again set at $5,000 in West Orange County Municipal Court, which serves Garden Grove, and Central Orange County Municipal Court, serving Santa Ana.
Bail in the two courts recently was lowered to $1,500, but it was held at $5,000 in North Orange County Municipal Court, which serves Anaheim. The result of lowering the bail in two of the three courts was that many Anaheim prostitutes simply took their business to one of the two cities to the south.