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Name: People v. Schoop
Case #: A134793
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 12/27/2012

Sex offender may petition for certificate of rehabilitation after seven years because ten year requirement violated equal protection principles. In 2002, Schoop pleaded no contest to possession of child pornography with intent to distribute pursuant to a plea agreement. At the time of his plea, a conviction under Penal Code section 311.1 did not require sex offender registration, but Schoop agreed to register as part of the plea agreement. Following his probationary period, Schoop successfully petitioned for a reduction of the conviction to a misdemeanor. In December, 2011, he petitioned for a certificate of rehabilitation in order to terminate the registration requirement. The trial court denied his petition because he had not reached the 10-year rehabilitation period requirement. Schoop appealed, arguing that the 10-year requirement violated equal protection principles because similarly situated individuals were only required to wait seven years to apply for a certificate. The appellate court agreed and reversed, finding no rational basis for the statutory distinction between section 311.1 requiring a 10-year period of rehabilitation, and other statutes involving distribution of child pornography requiring a seven-year period. Further, section 311.1 is a wobbler, where other statutes aimed at sexual material are felonies, yet have a shorter period of rehabilitation.