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Name: People v. Calhoun
Case #: G055511
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 07/09/2019

Evidence of a human trafficking victim’s prostitution activity that occurred after defendant’s arrest for trafficking was inadmissible for impeachment purposes. Defendant recruited 13-year-old D.T., a runaway, as a prostitute, acted as her pimp, and had sex with her. He was convicted of human trafficking of a minor under the age of 16, lewd acts on a minor, pandering a minor, and other offenses. On appeal defendant argued the trial court erred by excluding evidence of D.T.’s prostitution activity that occurred after defendant was arrested. Held: Affirmed. Evidence of sexual history or any commercial sexual act committed by victims of human trafficking is inadmissible to impeach the victims or attack their credibility (Evid. Code, § 1161, subd. (b)). In this case, the court analyzed the meaning of “history” in section 1161, subdivision (b) and concluded it means any time before the victim testifies at trial. Here, the evidence at trial was overwhelming that D.T. was a victim of human trafficking for purposes of section 1161, subdivision (b) and that defendant was the trafficker. As a result, evidence of D.T.’s sexual activity that occurred after defendant was arrested was not admissible. Even if defendant had a legitimate purpose for introducing evidence of D.T.’s other commercial sexual acts to negate an element of human trafficking, exclusion of the evidence was harmless. In addition, evidence of D.T.’s sexual history after defendant was arrested was unduly inflammatory. Thus, Evidence Code section 352 barred evidence of D.T.’s subsequent sex acts, since the probative value of such evidence was outweighed by its prejudicial effects. [Editor’s Note: The court also addressed more fact-specific issues and held: (1) the evidence at the preliminary hearing imparted notice to Calhoun of the factual basis for two sex offense counts sufficient to satisfy due process; (2) venue in Orange County was proper; (3) the trial court did not err by admitting evidence of certain text messages; (4) expert testimony on statements made by D.T. during a police interview and on the content of text messages was admissible and any error was harmless; and (5) the trial court did stay execution of sentence on three counts pursuant to Penal Code section 654.]

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: