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Porn Star Sentenced to 45 Days in Jail in Prostitution Sting

Times Staff Writer

A star of X-rated films was ordered Friday to serve 45 days in jail for a 1987 prostitution conviction stemming from her participation in a fake bachelor party staged by Newport Beach police.

Pamela G. Weston, 27, of Huntington Beach--who is a central figure in a state judicial commission investigation involving at least five judges in Harbor Municipal Court--was sentenced in Municipal Court in Fullerton after losing an appeal of her conviction. Municipal Judge Margaret E. Anderson ordered Weston to report to Orange County Jail on Jan. 31.

Weston, whose stage name is Cara Lott, was advised by her attorney not to comment after the sentencing. But she posed for news photographers in the court hallway and said, “I’ll smile.”

Outside court, Weston’s attorney, Gregory W. Jones, said he and his client believe she and another woman were set up on prostitution charges after being paid $150 each to dance nude at an Aug. 14, 1986, bachelor party at the Irvine Marriott hotel. Nineteen police officers from departments in Newport Beach, Santa Ana and Irvine participated in the sting operation, which was organized by Newport Beach police.

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Jones said he believes police arrested Weston and fellow exotic dancer Rhonda Linn Gary so they could be persuaded to provide evidence against Harbor Court Judges Calvin P. Schmidt and Brian E. Carter. At the time of the arrests, Schmidt and Carter were targets of a Newport Beach police investigation. Jones said Weston refused to cooperate after her arrest.

Police have denied Jones’ scenario, saying the sting operation was part of a routine investigation into local prostitution activity. Criticism of the sting operation by some defense attorneys prompted inquiries by the district attorney’s office and the Newport Beach Police Department’s internal affairs division. The police were cleared in both cases.

At the time of the sting operation, Weston had been linked to Schmidt because he had reduced a 1984 prostitution sentence against her from 10 days in jail to non-jail community work time. The 1984 arrest also resulted from a sting operation organized by Newport Beach police.

Gary was also arrested in the sting, a fake poker party attended by undercover police. Both Weston and Gary pleaded guilty to prostitution charges in that case. Schmidt reduced Weston’s sentence after a non-lawyer friend who was a neighbor of Schmidt’s intervened on her behalf, Weston and other sources have told The Times.

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The docket sheet in court records relating to Weston’s sentence modification initially was stamped with Schmidt’s name, indicating that he handled the matter. But the name was crossed out and replaced with that of Municipal Judge Frances Munoz.

Newport Beach police and the Orange County district attorney’s office had looked into this and other incidents involving preferential treatment allegedly being meted out by Judges Carter and Schmidt. But the police investigation--in which the district attorney’s office also became involved--ended without any charges being filed.

Judicial Probe

Later, however, those investigative files were turned over for use by the state Commission on Judicial Performance, which sources have said launched an inquiry several months ago into alleged misconduct by at least five Harbor Court judges.

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The most serious allegations are against Schmidt, 59, and Carter, 63. They are accused of giving preferential treatment to friends and courtroom favors to prostitutes in exchange for sex, according to sources. The commission--which usually operates in near-total secrecy--has taken the unusual step of publicly announcing that it intends to hold hearings on the accusations against Schmidt and Carter. No dates have been announced for those hearings.

Sources say Judges Russell Bostrom and Selim Franklin are also being investigated by the commission because of allegations that they tried to pressure Newport Beach city officials into ending a police probe of Carter and Schmidt. And the commission is reportedly looking into allegations that Judge Susanne S. Shaw conducted herself on the bench in a manner unbecoming a judge.

Neither Weston nor Jones would discuss whether she has been contacted by judicial commission investigators.

After the 1986 sting operation, Gary, of Mission Viejo, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of prostitution and was fined $300 and placed on 2 years’ informal probation.

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Judge-Police Feud

Weston’s case was handled in Harbor Court by Anderson, the presiding judge in Municipal Court in Fullerton, after a deputy district attorney filed an affidavit saying he believed he could not get a fair and impartial trial before a Harbor Court judge. The basis of that belief involved a feud between Newport Beach police and some of the Harbor Court judges, sources have said.

On Oct. 2, 1987, a jury found Weston guilty of prostitution for engaging in oral sex with an undercover Newport Beach police detective.

The detective, David A. Byington, was posing as a prospective bridegroom when, according to police reports, Weston forced herself upon him. Weston has claimed, however, that the detective stripped off his shirt, lay on the floor and did nothing to dissuade her sexual advances.

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Weston and Gary, who had been prancing nude before a roomful of beer-drinking officers, were arrested afterward, police have said.

Jones argued in court that Weston could not be convicted of prostitution because the crime is defined as a paid act of sex with a consenting customer. If Byington was not consenting, as he testified at the trial, Weston was not guilty of prostitution, Jones maintained. Jones argued, moreover, that since Weston was not paid for anything except dancing, she had not engaged in prostitution.

Weston was sentenced to 45 days in jail immediately after her 1987 conviction, but Judge Anderson had stayed the sentence until Weston exhausted her appeals.


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