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United States v. Boyajian

United States District Court, C.D. California

February 5, 2015

U.S.A.
v.
RONALD GERARD BOYAJIAN, Defendants

RONALD GERARD BOYAJIAN, PRO SE

GEORGE BUEHLER STANDBY COUNSEL, Attorney for Defendants.

CRIMINAL MINUTES - GENERAL

CHRISTINA A. SNYDER, District Judge.

Proceedings: (In Chambers) GOVERNMENT'S MOTION IN LIMINE TO PRECLUDE DEFENDANT FROM ARGUING HE WAS NOT A SEX OFFENSE REGISTRANT BECAUSE OF HOFSHEIER (Dkt. No. 687, filed November 17, 2014)

I. INTRODUCTION

Defendant Ronald Gerard Boyajian is charged with one count of Travel with Intent to Engage in Illicit Sexual Conduct with a Minor in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2423(b), one count of Engaging in Illicit Sexual Conduct with a Minor in Foreign Places in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2423 (c), and one count of Commission of a Felony Offense Involving a Minor While Required to Register As Sex Offender pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 2260A. See First Superseding Indictment, Dec. 3, 2010. The charges arise from defendant's alleged illicit sexual acts with a minor girl in Cambodia, identified as S.L. Further background and facts are known to the parties and set forth in the Court's orders dated November 3, 2011; July 6, 2011; September 17, 2012; and October 9, 2012. Dkt. Nos. 254, 237, 127, 111. A trial in this case is currently scheduled to begin on April 21, 2015.

On November 17, 2014, the government filed the instant motion seeking to preclude defendant from arguing to the jury that, because of the California Supreme Court's decision in People v. Hofsheier, 37 Cal.4th 1185 (2006), he was not required to be registered as a sex offender at the time that he traveled to Cambodia in 2008. Dkt. No. 687. Defendant's former counsel, the Federal Public Defender's office ("FPD"), filed an opposition on defendant's behalf on November 24, 2014. Dkt. No. 722. In a January 5, 2015 filing addressing this and a number of motions after defendant discharged the FPD and elected to represent himself, defendant disagreed with the manner in which the FPD had opposed the instant motion, and represented that he intends to prove to the jury that "he was not registered under the law" by presenting "fact witnesses, experts, and legal analyses." Dkt. No. 753 at 15 (emphasis in original). The motion was discussed at a hearing on January 8, 2015. Defendant filed a further opposition on January 29, 2015, which raised the additional issue of whether 18 U.S.C. § 2260 includes a knowledge requirement. Dkt. No. 787. The government replied on February 3, 2015. Dkt. No. 793. After considering the parties' arguments, the Court finds and concludes as follows.

II. BACKGROUND

In 1995, defendant was convicted of unlawful oral copulation with a minor in violation of California Penal Code § 288a(b)(1). Dkt. No. 687 at 7; Dkt. No. 787 at 7. The court in that case required defendant to register as a sex offender pursuant to the mandatory registration provisions of California Penal Code § 290(c). See Dkt. No. 173 Ex. A. At 2370-71.

18 U.S.C. § 2260A, pursuant to which defendant is charged in Count Three, provides:

Whoever, being required by Federal or other law to register as a sex offender, commits a felony offense involving a minor under section 1201, 1466A, 1470, 1591, 2241, 2242, 2243, 2244, 2245, 2251, 2251A, 2260, 2421, 2422, 2423, or 2425, shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 10 years in addition to the imprisonment imposed for the offense under that provision. The sentence imposed under this section shall be consecutive to any sentence imposed for the offense under that provision.

18 U.S.C. § 2260A.

In an order dated September 17, 2012, the Court denied defendant's motion to dismiss Count Three on equal protection grounds. That order examined the California Supreme Court's holding in Hofsheier that imposing a mandatory lifetime sex offender registration requirement on a defendant convicted of oral copulation with a sixteen or seventeen-year-old pursuant to California Penal Code section 228a(b)(1) violated equal protection because a defendant convicted of engaging in sexual intercourse with a minor of the same age was not subject to the mandatory registration requirement. Id. at 16-17 (citing Hofsheier, 37 Cal.4th at 1206-07). The order explained that, following Hofsheier, a defendant previously convicted of oral copulation with a sixteen or seventeen-year-old was not automatically freed from the registration requirement by operation of law, but could seek relief from that requirement by filing a petition for writ of mandate. Id . (citing People v. Picklesimer, 48 Cal.4th 330, 335 (2010) ("[I]n cases where mandatory sex offender registration has been shown to violate equal protection, the procedure... is not automatic removal of a sex offender from ...


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