Monday, December 3, 2012

Cal. Court: Sex offender registration for CP but not statutory rape does not violate Equal Protection

In People v. Gonzales, No. E054886 (Cal. Ct. App. 2012), the Court of Appeals of California held that it is not a violation of the Equal Protection clause to require sex offender registration for child pornographers but not statutory rapists.

The defendant pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography. The defendant had argued that the sex offender registration requirement violated the Equal Protection Clause because it did not require those convicted of statutory rape to register. The motion was denied during sentencing, and he was ordered to register.

On appeal, the defendant revived his argument:

Defendant argues that the present distinction between possession of child pornography and statutory rape is ... irrational, because a person who actually engages in voluntary sexual intercourse with a child is not subject to the mandatory registration requirement, yet a person who merely possesses a photo of that act is.
The court, predictably, shot down the argument, finding many significant differences. First, the fact that child pornography can be duplicated so easily makes it different because a statutory rape charge is "a single act" (each act should be brought as separate charges). Second, child pornography involves children of any age, but special crimes apply to sex with children under a certain age which do require sex offender registration. Finally, statutory rape is "characteristically voluntary on the part of the child." Therefore, in order for the Equal Protection Clause to apply, the defendant would have to show he is being treated differently from a person "who has committed the forcible rape of a child," which he has not shown.


Post a Comment