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Name: People v. Pinedo
Case #: F078442
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 07/15/2021
Summary

Although registration is not a criminal punishment, the repeal of the drug offender registration requirement (Assembly Bill No. 1261) is retroactive to all nonfinal cases pursuant to In re Estrada (1965) 63 Cal.2d 740, because registration burdens a defendant as a result of a qualifying conviction. Pinedo was convicted of two felonies. At sentencing, he was ordered to register as a narcotics offender. (Former Health & Saf. Code, § 11590.) On appeal, Pinedo challenged the registration requirement because AB 1261 repealed the statute requiring registration. The Attorney General argued that registration is not punishment and therefore the change in the law applies only prospectively. Held: Registration requirement reversed. Pinedo’s 2018 misdemeanor conviction of being under the influence of a controlled substance (Health & Saf. Code, § 11550, subdivision (a)) subjected him to the narcotics offender registration requirement under former section 11590. Effective January 1, 2020, AB 1261 repealed former sections 11590 and 11594, and reenacted section 11594 to terminate the registration requirement. Pursuant to Estrada, “newly enacted legislation lessening criminal punishment or reducing criminal liability presumptively applies to all cases not yet final on appeal at the time of the legislation’s effective date.” In the context of constitutional issues such as cruel and unusual punishment or ex post facto laws, courts have concluded that registration requirements are not punishment. Though not strictly punishment, registration requirements are consequences of certain criminal convictions. They may serve a primarily regulatory function, but “they impose a burden, or a sanction, on an offender as a direct result of the offender’s qualifying criminal conviction.” As such, “legislation that either reduces or eliminates that burden clearly constitutes an ameliorative change in the law to which the Estrada presumption applies.”