LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — Is it the fast money and flashy cars, or is it the fish tank platform shoes?

Whatever your personal opinion, the issue of when exactly someone becomes a pimp has reached the highest court in the state.

California Supreme Court justices on Tuesday heard the case of Jomo Zambia, who was convicted of pandering in Los Angeles after he tried to recruit an undercover police officer to work as a prostitute for him.

96507799 Calif. Supreme Court To Define What Makes A Pimp

"Two Prostitutes and the Pimp" in a 16th century portrait from Bibliotheque Publique et Universitaire in Switzerland, Geneva. (Getty Images)

Zambia’s lawyer is urging the high court to toss out the conviction, arguing that only pimps who recruit innocent victims — rather than working prostitutes — can be guilty of pandering.

Attorney Vanessa Place says the court should give the pandering law a literal reading.

The law states that a person who encourages another to become a prostitute is guilty of pandering. Place argues that the case boils down to the word “become.”

The dictionary, meanwhile, defines the verb form of the term as one that “arranges for sexual partners for others”, while the noun form is much more straightforward: “someone who procures customers for whores”.

Ultimately, the issue will have to be settled by the state justices: court will rule within 90 days.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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