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State v Hall

While this is a win on the points raised, the case is remanded for further processing. [4-25-2013: State sex offender act modified ]

12-5-2012 New Mexico:

State v Hall
2013-NMSC-001

Defendant Bruce Hall was convicted of a sex crime in California pursuant to a plea agreement. Hall subsequently moved to New Mexico and was charged with the fourth-degree felony of failing to register as a sex offender in violation of NMSA 1978, Section 29-11A-4(N) (2005).

The New Mexico Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), NMSA 1978, §§ 29-11A-1 to -10 (1995, as amended through 2007), requires a person convicted of any of twelve enumerated sex offenses, or who is convicted of an equivalent offense in any other jurisdiction, to register as a sex offender with the county sheriff for the New Mexico county in which that person resides.

What constitutes an equivalent offense and how a court makes such a determination are the subjects of this opinion. We hold that an offense is "equivalent" to a New Mexico offense, for purposes of SORNA, if the defendant's actual conduct that gave rise to the out-of-state conviction would have constituted one of the twelve enumerated offenses requiring registration pursuant to SORNA.

When the defendant's out-of-state conviction results from a plea agreement, courts may look to the charging documents, the defendant's written plea agreement, and the transcript of the plea hearing to determine the defendant's actual conduct and whether such conduct would have constituted one of the twelve enumerated offenses.

... ... ...

CONCLUSION

To determine whether a foreign sex offense is equivalent to a New Mexico sex offense for purposes of SORNA, and where the two offenses when compared do not share the exact same elements, a court must look beyond the elements of the offense and consider whether the defendant's actual conduct, had it occurred in New Mexico, would have constituted a registrable offense. However, in this case, there is an insufficient factual record on which to determine the defendant's actual conduct. For this reason, we reverse the Court of Appeals and remand to the district court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion, with leave for Hall to withdraw his guilty plea.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

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