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Name: People v. Hofsheier
Case #: S124636
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 03/06/2006

Appellant pleaded guilty to oral copulation with a sixteen year old girl in violation of Penal Code section 288a, subdivision (b)(1), and was therefore ordered to register as a sex offender pursuant to section 290. On appeal, he argued that he was denied equal protection of the law because a person convicted of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor (sec. 261.5) under the same circumstances would not be subject to mandatory registration. The appellate court agreed and modified the probation order. Because the Court of Appeal’s opinion conflicted with the opinion in People v. Jones (2002) 101 Cal.App.4th 220, the Supreme Court granted review. The Supreme Court agreed with the appellate court, finding that there is no reason why the Legislature would conclude that persons who are convicted of oral copulation with adolescents 16- and 17-year olds, as opposed to those who are convicted of voluntary sexual intercourse with those in the same age group, constitute a class of particularly incorrigible offenders who require lifetime surveillance as sex offenders. The statutory distinction violates the equal protection clauses of the federal and state constitutions. Remand was required to give the trial court an opportunity to exercise its discretion under section 290 (a)(2)(E) for discretionary registration.