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Name: Yohner v. Cal. Dept. of Justice
Case #: D065985
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 05/22/2015
Summary

Stepgrandparent who molested stepgranddaughter does not qualify for exclusion from Megan’s Law website. Yohner was convicted of molesting his stepgranddaughter (Pen. Code, § 288, subd. (a)). He filed an application with DOJ under Penal Code section 290.46, subdivision (e)(2)(D)(i) for an exclusion from being listed on the Megan’s Law Internet website. DOJ denied his application on the basis that stepgrandparents were not eligible for exclusion from the website. Yohner filed a petition for writ of mandate requesting that the trial court order DOJ to exclude him from the website. The trial court denied the petition and Yohner appealed. Held: Affirmed. Section 290.46, subdivision (e)(2)(D)(i) allows a “victim’s parent, stepparent, sibling, or grandparent” to apply for an exclusion from the Megan’s Law website, which has information concerning certain registered sex offenders. The inclusion of “stepparent” but not “stepgrandparent” strongly supports the conclusion that the Legislature did not intend for the exclusion to apply to stepgrandparents. Additionally, the legislative history demonstrates that the exclusion was to be narrow so it only applied to a victim’s closest relatives. (Doe v. California Dept. of Justice (2009) 173 Cal.App.4th 1095, 1112.) Furthermore, allowing grandparents to apply for the exclusion but not stepgrandparents, like Yohner, does not violate equal protection because stepgrandparents are not similarly situated to grandparents. A grandparent has biological ties to the victim and is likely to have a more permanent relationship with the minor compared to a stepgrandparent, whose relationship is based on marriage.