California Governor Signs Law Requiring Prosecutors to Petition Courts for Permission to Use Condoms as Evidence of Prostitution (2014)

Statutes, Regulations, and Agency Guidelines

On September 18, 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 336 into law.  The bill, authored by San Francisco Assembly Member Tom Ammiano, requires prosecutors who want to use the possession of one or more condoms as evidence of prostitution or loitering with intent to commit prostitution to submit a motion to the court and the defense stating there is proof that the condoms are relevant as well as a sealed affidavit to the court stating what that proof is.

While the law is not an outright ban on the use of condoms as evidence of prostitution, supporters of the bill say it creates a de facto ban by mandating a process that prosecutors will be unlikely to pursue.

The use of condoms as evidence of prostitution is in direct conflict with public health policy that encourages condom use. Studies have shown that many sex workers decide not to carry condoms out of fear of arrest, putting themselves and their clients at risk of contracting HIV or other sexually transmitted infections. And police have often used the possession of condoms as the sole justification for arrests, especially of transgender women.

In 2013 prosecutors in Brooklyn, NY and San Francisco, CA announced that they will no longer use condoms as evidence in prostitution cases. In May 2014, New York City Police Commission William Bratton announced that the NYPD would no longer use condoms as evidence in certain prostitution arrests. 

Files
PDF icon AB 336 Bill Text 121.72 KB
PDF icon AB 336 Bill Analysis 57.87 KB