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Name: People v. Vincelli
Case #: C046512
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 09/07/2005
Summary

The phrase “changes his or her name” in the sex offender registration statute is not unconstitutionally vague. The defendant was convicted of forcible rape in 1975, and subsequently registered as a sex offender under his legal name, Gary Lee Vincelli. In 1995, he obtained a driver’s license and birth certificate under the name Jerry Lee Binelli. He continued to register under his original name, and also maintained a driver’s license and credit card under that name, but conducted business and owned property under the name Jerry Binelli. He was charged with failing to register after a name change, and during trial, the jury requested instructions on the definition of a name change, the meaning of alias or “aka,” and the point at which a name change legally occurs. Upon stipulation of the parties, the court informed the jury that these terms had no specific legal meaning under the circumstances, and that the question of when a name change occurs was a factual matter for the jury to decide. The jury returned a guilty verdict. On appeal, defendant argued that Penal Code section 290(f)(3) was unconstitutionally vague because it did not provide him with fair notice of what he needed to do to comply with the terms of the statute, and impermissibly allowed the jury to resolve the meaning of the statute on an ad hoc basis. The Court of Appeal disagreed, finding that the language was not vague, and that in any case defendant’s conduct would have constituted guilt under any plausible reading of the statute.