The Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division Three has affirmed the human trafficking conviction of defendant Johnny Lee Guyton, who was found guilty by a jury on May 17, 2016 of one felony count of human trafficking, one felony count of pimping, two felony counts of pandering, and one felony count of attempted pimping.
In Aug. 2014, Guyton pandered a female by persuading her to perform commercial sex acts for his benefit in Santa Ana. During that time, Guyton filmed himself attempting to pimp and verbally threatening her in Orange County, and sent the videos to associates to brag about pimping the victim.
Around Dec. 1, 2014, the defendant used social media to contact a different woman, who was living in South Dakota, with the intent of persuading her to engage in commercial sex acts for his benefit. Guyton pandered this woman by sending her pictures of mansions and luxury vehicles, and told her that she could improve her life if she would engage in commercial sex acts.
Between Dec. 1, 2014 and April 18, 2015, Guyton forced the woman to engage in commercial sex seven days a week, from 6 a.m. to 12 a.m. or later, including during the victim’s menstrual cycle. Guyton only permitted the victim to see her child three or four times a week depending on how quickly or how close the victim came to meeting the quota he set. During that time, Guyton received between $30,000 and $50,000 from the victim.
Between Dec. 1, 2014 and April 18, 2015, Guyton pandered the second victim by paying for her to take a bus to meet him in Nevada. Guyton trafficked and pimped her by having her solicit commercial sex in areas known for prostitution and human trafficking in Nevada, Anaheim, and Santa Ana. Guyton set a rigid quota of $1,000 that the girl was required to earn before she could stop working. The defendant deprived her of her liberty by making false promises and threatening to keep her child from her if she did not meet the quotas that he set.
Around April 18, 2015, one of the victims reported the crime to a family member, who then contacted the Anaheim Police Department (APD). APD and the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force investigated this case and arrested the defendant the next day.
People v. Johnny Lee Guyton went to trial in front of the Honorable Gary S. Paer in Orange County Superior Court. On May 17, 2016, Guyton was found guilty of one felony count of human trafficking, one felony count of pimping, two felony counts of pandering, and one felony count of attempted pimping. On June 9, 2017, the defendant was sentenced to 14 years in state prison.
In June 2016, Guyton appealed his human trafficking conviction to DCA, claiming human trafficking entails a depravation of liberty and the second victim “could have walked away at any time” while she was being pimped by the defendant.
DCA issued an opinion affirming Guyton’s conviction for human trafficking, citing the “various restrictions defendant placed on [the victim]” including “isolating her, constantly monitoring her, requiring her to stay in contact with him by phone, checking her phone, requiring her to work so much she was exhausted, falsely promising he had purchased a car for her, and depriving her of the financial means to live.” DCA asserted these circumstances “rendered [the victim] totally reliant on defendant” and concluded there was substantial evidence of a “sustained restriction of liberty accomplished through force, fear, fraud, deceit, duress or menace.”
DCA also noted “when a pimp keeps a woman’s baby away from her unless she makes enough money to satisfy the pimp, that is a substantial and sustained restriction of the woman’s liberty accomplished through force, fear, fraud, deceit, duress, or menace.”