The court ruled 5-2 on Thursday that pimps who recruit working prostitutes are just as guilty of pandering as those who recruit victims new to the trade.
Jomo Zambia had asked the court to toss out his pandering conviction after he was caught recruiting an undercover police officer posing as a prostitute.
Zambia argued that the language of the law makes it a crime for anyone who "induces, persuades or encourages another person to become a prostitute." Zambia argued that definition excluded the recruitment of someone already working as a prostitute.
But the court majority says it's clear the California Legislature meant to make it illegal to recruit anyone to become a prostitute regardless of working status.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.