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Name: People v. Shoemaker
Case #: B237986
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 03/27/2013

Mandatory lifetime sex offender registration for possession of child pornography does not violate equal protection. Appellant was convicted of misdemeanor possession/duplication of child pornography (Pen. Code, §§ 311.11 & 311.3) in 2004. As a result, he was ordered to register as a sex offender (Pen. Code, § 290.006). In 2011, he filed a civil rights action (42 U.S.C. § 1983) in superior court, alleging that mandatory sex offender registration denied him equal protection because the law subjects others, who are convicted of more serious sex crimes against minors, to register only in the court’s discretion. Shoemaker’s action was denied and he appealed. Held: Affirmed. In cases not involving a suspect classification or fundamental interest, the challenged legislation is tested to determine whether it bears a rational relationship to a legitimate state interest. Here, there was a rational basis for the Legislature to differentiate between the offenses of possession/duplication of child pornography and other sex offenses involving children, with respect to registration. The possession and duplication of child pornography perpetuates the exploitation and victimization of children. The state has a compelling interest in protecting minors from exploitation and abuse. As such, it may rationally classify the conduct of possessing and duplicating such images differently from other types of criminal conduct involving minors.