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Name: U.S. v. Davidson
Case #: 00-50033
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 04/19/2001
Subsequent History: None

A defendant who pleaded guilty to possession of images of child pornography “transported . . . by computer” in violation of a federal law cannot be compelled to register as a sex offender pursuant to Penal Code section 290, when at the time that the individual violated the federal law, his conduct was not an enumerated offense under California law. Appellant pleaded guilty in federal court to knowingly possessing child pornography that he had downloaded over the Web. Two years later he was informed by his California probation officer that he would be required to register as a sex offender pursuant to section 290. He argued that at the time he violated the federal law, his conduct would not have been punishable under Penal Code section 311.11, subdivision (a), because it did not include computer-generated images in its definition of prohibited “matter.” In a 1996 amendment, the code was changed to add: “computer hardware, computer software, computer floppy disc, data storage media, CDROM or computer generated equipment.” The clear intent of the Legislature to add a new category of child pornography computer-generated images to the list of “matter” prohibited was an expansion of the existing definition of pornographic matter banned by the statute. Accordingly, at the time appellant committed the offense, his conduct was not punishable under section 311.11 and he could not be compelled to register under section 290.