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The People v. James Charles Lawless

December 28, 2010

THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
JAMES CHARLES LAWLESS, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Superior Court of Riverside County. Frederick A. Mandabach, Judge. (Retired judge of the San Bernardino Super. Ct. assigned by the Chief Justice pursuant to art. VI, § 6 of the Cal. Const.) Affirmed as modified. (Super.Ct.No. SWF025048)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Richli J.

P. v. Lawless

CA4/2

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED IN OFFICIAL REPORTS

California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

OPINION

A jury found defendant and appellant James Charles Lawless guilty of failing to register as a sex offender having previously been convicted of committing a rape (Pen. Code, § 290, subd. (g)(2))*fn1 (count 1); failing to register as a sex offender within five days of changing his residence (§ 290, subd. (a)(1)) (count 2); and failing to inform a law enforcement agency where he previously registered as a sex offender of his change of address (§ 290, subd. (f)(1)) (count 3). In a bifurcated proceeding, defendant admitted that he had suffered five prior prison terms (§ 667.5, subd. (b)) and two prior serious and violent felony convictions (§§ 667, subds. (c) & (e)(2), 1170.12, subd. (c)(2)(A)). As a result, defendant was sentenced to an indeterminate term of 25 years to life as follows: 25 years to life on count 2 (the base term) and 25 years to life on counts 1 and 3, which were stayed pursuant to section 654; the court also stayed the prior prison term enhancements.

On appeal, defendant contends (1) his conviction on count 1 must be vacated because that count does not constitute an offense, and (2) the abstract of judgment must be corrected to delete the reference that he was sentenced pursuant to section 667.61. We agree and will accordingly modify the judgment.

I

FACTUAL BACKGROUND*fn2

Defendant had previously been convicted of a felony sex offense. He therefore had a mandatory lifetime duty to register as a sex offender under section 290.

In April 2007, defendant was on parole and living in a motel in Orange County. He had regular meetings with his parole officer and was aware that he had to register within five days of any change of residence. Defendant signed documents indicating that he understood that requirement.

In June 2007, defendant stopped contacting his parole officer and moved into his son's residence in Riverside County. On August 15, 2007, defendant's son called defendant's parole officer and informed him that defendant was living there. Defendant's son then notified the police, who subsequently arrested defendant. Defendant acknowledged his duty to register as a sex offender but claimed he did not do so because he was "on the run" from authorities.

Defendant had neither registered as a sex offender with Riverside County nor informed Orange County that he had moved. He had registered 18 times over the previous years. He had last updated his registration in April 2007, ...


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