Amidst the anticipation of this week’s Supreme Court decisions regarding gay marriage and Obamacare, yesterday with quiet fanfare the great edifice of law put scales to the question of Sepulveda Blvd motels.
Our motels! Our hooker strip! Us! Right here in the Valley!
In Los Angeles v. Patel, the Court struck down municipal code § 41.49, which allowed the police to inspect motel records without a warrant, specifically to identify patrons paying cash and staying less than 12 hours. Meaning, hookers and johns.
The decision was argued on fourth amendment grounds, with much discursive argument as to what constituted a private record and whether motels met the definition of a ‘closely regulated’ business, and what exactly was an undue burden on owners.
Short version: The vice squad now needs to go before a judge to make a garden variety motel bust.
Shorter version: That’s never going to happen.
Subtext: A tacit admission by the motel owners association (Patel) that street prostitution represents a significant percentage of their bottom line. Enough so, they were willing to go to the Supreme Court to hang on to it.
The winners are…well, you can guess.
The Court did not hear the testimony of Kat Stacks, former prostitute, turned hip-hop groupie and now as-told-to-author:
“I got turned out by a nigga when I was 14 and he was almost 10 years older than me and he my baby daddy. He gave me my new name and my tattoo…I was wit him for five years, and I was faithful, I did whatever he wanted and I worked seven days a week…I seen girls working on crutches cause they Daddy broke they leg…He put me out on the track in New York. Once I went through that horrible experience he put me in white places where I won’t get hurt at, but he first had to put me in a place where I could go through all this shit and learn not to be a weak bitch.”
All three women justices voted in favor of the motel owners. Make of it what you will.