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The People v. Jonathan Ray Aragon

June 29, 2012

THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
JONATHAN RAY ARAGON, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Sacramento County, Timothy M. Frawley, Judge. Reversed. (Super. Ct. No. 10F03266)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Nicholson , J.

CERTIFIED FOR PUBLICATION

A convicted sex offender must register in the county where he resides or, if he does not have a residence, where he is located as a transient. (Pen. Code, §§ 290, 290.011.)*fn1 For purposes of the sex offender registration requirements, "residence" includes a recreational vehicle that can be located by a street address. (§ 290.011, subd. (g).) A sex offender must reregister within five working days if he moves to a residence after being a transient. (§ 290.011, subd. (b).)

As a result of a 1995 conviction for committing a lewd act on a child, the defendant is required to register as a sex offender. For several months, he lived in a travel trailer parked on the street in front of his brother's residence in Sacramento County. During those months, the defendant went to the Sacramento Sheriff's Department each month to register. He reported that he was a transient in Sacramento County.

Based on this conduct, the defendant was convicted of failing to comply with the registration requirements because, under the definition of "residence" contained in the registration statutes, his travel trailer became a residence when he parked it in front of his brother's residence and, instead of registering at a residence, the defendant continued to register as a transient.

The defendant contends that there is no substantial evidence that he actually knew that his travel trailer became a residence for the purposes of the registration requirements when he parked it in front of his brother's residence. Consequently, the defendant argues, his conviction for willfully violating the registration requirements of the Act must be reversed. We conclude that the defendant is correct and the conviction must be reversed.

REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS

The Sex Offender Registration Act (§ 290 et seq.; hereafter, the Act) requires every person convicted of lewd conduct on a child (§ 288) to register as a sex offender. In this case it is undisputed that the defendant was required to register with the Sacramento Sheriff's Department.*fn2 (§ 290.) All sex offenders, including those who have a residence, must register once a year within five working days of the offender's birthday (§ 290.012, subd. (a)), but transient sex offenders must register once every 30 days in addition to the annual birthday registration (§ 290.011, subds. (a), (c)).

"A transient who moves to a residence shall have five working days within which to register at that address . . . ." (§ 290.011, subd. (b).) This is the aspect of the registration requirement that the defendant in this case was convicted of violating.

Under the Act, "'transient' means a person who has no residence. 'Residence' means one or more addresses at which a person regularly resides, . . . such as a shelter or structure that can be located by a street address, including, . . . recreational and other vehicles." (§ 290.011, subd. (g).)

"[A]ny person who is required to register under the act based on a felony conviction . . . who willfully violates any requirement of the act . . . is guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months, or two or three years." (§ 290.018, subd. (b).)

FACTS AND PROCEDURE

The defendant was convicted in 1995 of lewd conduct with a child. (§ 288.) After a period of incarceration, he was released on November 27, 2000, under the supervision of the Sacramento County Probation Department. At the time of his release, the defendant was notified of his duty to register as a sex offender under the Act. The written form, which an officer reviewed with the defendant, explained 16 aspects of the duty to register. It did not, however, explain the difference between a transient and someone who has a residence. The closest statement in that regard was, "If I have no residence address, I must update my registration at least once every 90 days [now 30 days] and annually within 5 working days of my birthday." (Boldface type omitted.) The form also stated, "I must provide proof of residence with a California Drivers License or identification card or a recent rent or utility bill. This proof is required within 30 days of registration." (Boldface type omitted.) The defendant indicated on the form that he expected to be a transient upon release.

In December 2009, the defendant's brother, Ricardo Aragon, invited the defendant to park the defendant's travel trailer on the street in front of Ricardo's duplex because it had been cold at night. Ricardo plugged an extension cord into a garage outlet and allowed the defendant to plug it into the electrical system of his travel trailer, giving the defendant light and heat. The defendant also used Ricardo's hose to fill his water tank. The defendant entered the duplex only occasionally. About three times in a period of several months, the defendant used the bathroom in Ricardo's ...


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