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Name: People v. Barker
Case #: S115438
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 08/30/2004

Simply forgetting is not a defense to a charge of Penal Code section 290, and appellant’s claim that he lacked the necessary willfulness to commit the offense because he forgot the annual registration updating requirement is meritless. The court did not err when it instructed the jury that forgetting to register by itself is not a defense to the charge. The court’s instruction was a correct statement of the law. Section 290 imposes a duty to remember and fulfill the duty to register annually. The Legislature didn’t intend a defendant to evade this duty by claiming that he forgot about it. The Court, however, did not express an opinion as to whether forgetfulness resulting from a psychological condition or deficit of memory or intelligence might negate the willfulness requirement. J. Kennard dissented, holding that an offender who inadvertently is one day late in updating his already registered address has not willfully violated section 290.