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Name: People v. Gonzalez
Case #: E054886
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 11/19/2012
Summary

Mandatory sex registration applied to a defendant convicted of possession of child pornography does not violate equal protection. Appellant pled guilty to possession of child pornography (Pen. Code, § 311.11). He was granted probation and ordered to register as a sex offender. On appeal, he argued that applying the mandatory registration requirement to people convicted of possession of child pornography but not to people convicted of statutory rape violated equal protection. Affirmed. Because the two offenses are distinct from each other in multiple respects, the Legislature could rationally rely on the distinctions for the disparate registration requirements. Child pornography is inherently capable of being duplicated whereas a single act of statutory rape is just a single act. Thus, the child depicted in the pornography is subject to being constantly revictimized. Possession of child pornography can involve children victims of any age, especially those under 14. Statutory rape generally involves the older minor because if it involved a child under 14 years, it could be prosecuted under Penal Code section 288, subdivision (a), which is subject to mandatory registration. Even assuming appellant’s child pornography featured a child who was 14 or older, the offense is still significantly different from statutory rape of victim who is 14 or older. Because it is often impracticable to locate a child pornography victim to establish the actual age of the child, the Legislature could rationally extend mandatory registration to the possession of child pornography featuring any child who is clearly under the 18. The disparity is still justified by society’s particular concern for children under 14. Finally, statutory rape is generally voluntary on the part of the victim whereas production of child pornography is rarely voluntary on the part of the child.