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People v. Adair

California Court of Appeals, Fourth District, Second Division

August 19, 2014

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
RONALD JAMES ADAIR, Defendant and Appellant.

APPEAL from the Superior Court of Riverside County. No. RIC1213211 Michele D. Levine, Judge.

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COUNSEL

Brian Boles, Public Defender and Joseph J. Martinez, Deputy Public Defender for Defendant and Appellant.

Kamala D. Harris, Attorney General, Dane R. Gillette, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Julie L. Garland, Assistant Attorney General, Steve Oetting, Andrew Mestman and Minh U. Le, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.

OPINION

MILLER J.

The trial court denied defendant and appellant Ronald James Adair’s (1) petition for certificate of rehabilitation and pardon (Pen. Code, §§ 4852.01), [1] and (2) motion for reconsideration of the denial of his petition for certificate of rehabilitation and pardon. Defendant contends the trial court erred in denying his motion because the timelines set forth in section 4852.03, which provide when people convicted of different crimes may be granted a certificate of rehabilitation and pardon, violate principles of equal protection. We affirm the judgment.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

In 1980, defendant was convicted of first degree burglary (§ 459) and granted probation. The conviction was expunged in 2012. (§ 1203.4.) In

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1984, defendant was convicted of (1) annoying or molesting a child under the age of 18 (former § 647a);[2] (2) soliciting a person to engage in lewd conduct (§ 647, subd. (a)); and (3) soliciting an act of prostitution (§ 647, subd. (b)). Defendant was granted probation, which he completed in 1987. In 1994, defendant was convicted of stalking, including violation of a restraining order. (§ 646.9, subd. (b).) Defendant was sentenced to prison. Defendant was released on parole and finally discharged in 2001. In 2004, defendant was convicted of failing to register as a sexual offender. (Former § 290, subd. (g)(2).) Defendant was granted probation, which was completed in 2007. The conviction was expunged in 2012. (§ 1203.4.)

On August 28, 2012, defendant filed a petition for certificate of rehabilitation and pardon. The People asserted defendant’s petition should be denied because it was premature, because he had not met the minimum eligibility date for a certificate of rehabilitation and pardon. Specifically, the People asserted defendant had to wait 10 years from the date he was discharged from custody for his most recent conviction. The People asserted the relevant date was March 9, 2004—the day defendant was placed on probation for his offense of failing to register as a sexual offender. The People argued 10 years had not elapsed, so defendant’s motion should be denied.

On November 1, 2012, the trial court held a hearing on defendant’s petition. At the hearing, defendant’s counsel asserted that in 2004, when defendant committed his last offense, only eight years needed to elapse before a person could be granted a petition for certificate of rehabilitation and pardon. Defense counsel argued a 10-year rule should not be “retroactively” applied to defendant’s petition. The People asserted the certificate of rehabilitation and pardon concerned a privilege, rather than a right, so the retroactivity rules were inapplicable.

The trial court concluded the 10-year time period applied. The court found the 10-year time period had not yet elapsed. The trial court said the 10-year period would elapse in 2014, if defendant did not commit any new offenses in the meantime. Thus, the court denied defendant’s petition, and informed him he could again petition the court in 2014.

On November 9, 2012, defendant filed a motion for reconsideration. The motion was based upon a violation of defendant’s right of equal protection. Defendant asserted felons convicted of producing, selling, or advertising child pornography were subject to a seven-year rehabilitation period. Defendant contended he too should be subject to only a seven-year waiting period, because annoying a minor is similar to the foregoing child pornography offenses and there is no rational basis for the distinction.

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At the hearing on the motion, the court asked how the two groups are similarly situated. Defense counsel explained the two groups are similar because they all have to register as sexual offenders. (§ 290.) Defense counsel said the certificate statute granted an exception to people convicted of indecent exposure and certain child pornography offenses—giving them a seven-year time period, rather than 10 years. Counsel argued, “it seems strange that certain felons get a break ...


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