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People v Hofsheier

3-6-2006 California:

People v Hofsheier
(39 Cal.Rptr.3d 821 (2006)

Defendant, a 22-year-old man, pled guilty to oral copulation with a 16-year-old girl in violation of Penal Code section 288a, subdivision (b)(1) (hereafter section 288a (b)(1).)1 Under section 290, anyone convicted of certain sexual offenses, including a violation of section 288a (b)(1), must, while residing in California, register for life as a sex offender with the appropriate law enforcement agency. Defendant was therefore ordered to register as a sex offender.

Defendant appealed. He contended that he was denied the constitutionally guaranteed equal protection of the laws because a person convicted of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor (§ 261.5) under the same circumstances would not be subject to mandatory registration. The Court of Appeal agreed and ordered the trial court's order granting probation modified to eliminate the registration requirement. Because the Court of Appeal's holding conflicted with People v. Jones (2002) 101 Cal.App.4th 220, 124 Cal.Rptr.2d 10 (Jones), we granted review to resolve the conflict.

We now hold, in accord with the decision of the Court of Appeal in this case, that to subject defendant to the mandatory registration requirement of section 290, subdivision (a)(1)(A) would deny defendant the equal protection of the laws. We direct the Court of Appeal to remand the case to the trial court, however, to exercise its discretion to determine whether defendant should be required to register as a sex offender under section 290, subdivision (a)(2)(E).

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