Sometimes the law does not make sense and is counterintuitive. Here is an example:
Law enforcement executed a search warrant at a business address owned by the defendant. They seized three computers which contained thousands of photographic images. About two dozen of these images depicted underage subjects involved in sexual acts. He downloaded the pictures from the internet. He was not the photographer. The defendant was charged with two dozen counts of misdemeanor possession, duplication or distribution of pornographic or obscene matter in violation of Penal Code section 311.1, 311.2, 311.3, 311.9 and 311.11. After a jury trial, the defendant was found guilty and was ordered to register as a sex-offender for the rest of his life. He appealed.
A California Court of Appeal was asked to decide whether the life-time registration requirement as a sex-offender applies to the defendant. The defendant argued that the registration requirement was not applied uniformly because others who are convicted of far more egregious sex crimes involving minors were subject only to discretionary registration under Penal Code 290.006. In other words, when a person was convicted of a far more serious sex crime, the law gave the judge an option to require sex-offender registration. In defendant's case, the law required mandatory registration, even though defendant was convicted of a less serious crime. In looking at the language of Penal Code 290 and its history, the Court of Appeal decided that such registration was mandatory under Penal Code section 290. The judge had no discretion.