Sexting Conviction Requires Sex Offender Registration
What One Should Learn from This Article: Registration as a sex offender for life is required for a conviction of violating Penal Code section 647.6(a)(1), which is a misdemeanor. Section 647.6(a)(1) is sexually annoying or molesting a child under 18.
Pursuant to a plea bargain in Sonoma County Superior Court, Brandao pled no contest to one count of violating Penal Code § 647.6(a)(1) as a misdemeanor. According to the plea, he was placed on three years of summary probation, ordered to complete a sexual counseling program and register as a sex offender under Penal Code § 290.
The case that Brandao urged the First Appellate Court to consider was People v. Hofsheier, a 2006 California Supreme Court case that exempted a sexual offender convicted of oral copulation of a minor from the 290 registration requirement. In Hofsheier, defendant claimed his right of equal protection was violated because defendants convicted of voluntary sexual intercourse with minors of the same age (Penal Code § 261.5(c)) were subject to discretionary registration requirements.
Turning to Brandao’s case and applying Hofsheier, the First Appellate District rejected Brandao’s appeal. The Court noted that 647.6 is a general intent crime, meaning no specific intent, for example, to arouse a minor is required, although that was present in Brandao’s case. The Court also commented that the offenses in Hofsheier involved voluntary conduct between two willing parties, which was not present in Brandao’s case. Lastly, the Court found it significant that the dangerous type of conduct at issue was defendant’s unnatural or abnormal sexual interest in children, which was irritating to the recipient. This further differentiated Brandao’s conduct from the defendant in Hofsheier.
Brandao’s appeal of the requirement that he register as sexual offender was thus rejected.
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