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Name: People v. Kennedy
Case #: H035687
Opinion Date: 05/04/2011
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Citation: 194 Cal.App.4th 1484
Summary

Where felony conviction requiring registration is reduced to a misdemeanor, the defendant is not relieved of the lifetime registration requirement. In late 2006 to early 2007, appellant sent sexually explicit emails and photographs over the internet to a female he believed was 13 years old. It was actually a San Jose police officer, who arrested appellant when he went to meet the girl. Appellant pled no contest to attempting to distribute harmful matter to a minor. The court suspended imposition of sentence and placed appellant on probation, ordering sex offender registration. In November 2009 appellant moved in the trial court to reduce his section 288.2 offense to a misdemeanor (Pen. Code, sec. 17, subd. (b)). This was granted. Thereafter, appellant sought to terminate his registration requirement in light of the reduction of his offense to a misdemeanor. This request was denied. The Court of Appeal affirmed. When a defendant is convicted of a wobbler offense and granted probation without imposition of sentence, the offense is deemed a felony unless later reduced to a misdemeanor. If the offense is subsequently reduced to a misdemeanor, that classification is not retroactive. The registration requirement of Penal Code section 290 applied to appellant’s offense and upon conviction therefore, he was required to register for life. When the trial court subsequently reduced the offense to a misdemeanor, it became a misdemeanor from that point on. Therefore, the trial court was not authorized to terminate appellant’s registration obligation. Subdivision (e) of section 17, prohibits a trial court from relieving a defendant of the registration requirement by reducing a felony to a misdemeanor, when the defendant was charged with and found guilty of a felony which requires registration. A review of the legislative history reveals that subdivision (e) was intended to prevent a court from relieving a sex offender from the duty to register by reducing a registerable felony to a misdemeanor.