People v. Picklesimer

Decision Date15 March 2010
Docket NumberNo. S165680.,S165680.
Citation226 P.3d 348,48 Cal.4th 330
CourtCalifornia Supreme Court
PartiesTHE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. ANDREW NELSON PICKLESIMER, Defendant and Appellant.

Law Offices of Dane A. Cameron and Dane A. Cameron for Defendant and Appellant.

Edmund G. Brown, Jr., Attorney General, Dane R. Gillette, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Michael P. Farrell, Assistant Attorney General, John G. McLean, Stephen G. Herndon, Janet E. Neeley and Darren K. Indermill, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.

OPINION

WERDEGAR, J.

In People v. Hofsheier (2006) 37 Cal.4th 1185, 1207 [39 Cal.Rptr.3d 821, 129 P.3d 29] (Hofsheier), we concluded imposition of mandatory lifetime sex offender registration on defendants convicted of violations of Penal Code section 288a, subdivision (b)(1)1 for voluntary oral copulation with a 16- or 17-year-old minor violated the state and federal equal protection clauses. Our decision resulted in the creation of a class of people, those convicted of violating section 288a, subdivision (b)(1) on or before the date of our decision, who potentially might be entitled to relief from mandatory lifetime registration but for whom the precise procedural method of asserting such a claim for relief was uncertain. We resolve that uncertainty here.

We conclude that for those like defendant Andrew Nelson Picklesimer, who are no longer in custody and whose appeals are final, claims for Hofsheier relief—relief from mandatory lifetime sex offender registration based on equal protection—must be brought by way of a petition for writ of mandate in the trial court. A freestanding postjudgment motion for Hofsheier relief, such as the one Picklesimer filed, is not cognizable, as the trial court and Court of Appeal correctly concluded.

A court may in its discretion treat such a postjudgment motion as a mislabeled petition for writ of mandate. In this case, however, for us to do so is not appropriate. This is because defendants who assert a claim for Hofsheier relief and establish a right to relief from mandatory sex offender registration may still be subject to discretionary registration under section 290.006, and the record before us does not conclusively establish that Picklesimer is exempt from discretionary registration and thus entitled to relief.

Accordingly, we affirm, without prejudice to Picklesimer's ability to file a petition for writ of mandate in the trial court seeking Hofsheier relief.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

In 1993, Picklesimer pleaded guilty to violations of sections 261.5 (sexual intercourse with a minor), 288a, subdivision (b)(1) (oral copulation with a minor), and 289, subdivision (h) (sexual penetration of a minor) and was sentenced to four years four months in prison. As an automatic consequence of the oral copulation and sexual penetration convictions, Picklesimer was required to register as a sex offender. (Former § 290, subd. (a)(2)(A), now § 290, subd. (c).) On appeal, the judgment was affirmed. Picklesimer completed his sentence and was released from custody.

In October 2006, after our decision in Hofsheier, Picklesimer filed a motion in the trial court asking to be removed from the state sex offender registry and relieved from his lifetime registration obligation. At a hearing on the motion, the trial court ruled it lacked jurisdiction, noting Picklesimer had failed to identify any authority that would permit the court to rule on such a freestanding motion. Picklesimer appealed.

The Court of Appeal agreed that the trial court lacked jurisdiction. Accordingly, it concluded Picklesimer was not aggrieved by the trial court's order denying his motion (see § 1237, subd. (b)), the order was therefore unappealable, and the appeal must be dismissed.

We granted review to address the proper treatment of claims for relief under Hofsheier.

DISCUSSION
I. Claims for Hofsheier Relief by Individuals No Longer in Custody Must Be Brought by Way of a Petition for Writ of Mandate

(1) In Hofsheier, supra, 37 Cal.4th 1185, we considered a constitutional challenge to the mandatory sex offender registration requirement imposed for convictions under section 288a, subdivision (b)(1) (oral copulation with a minor) in light of the absence of any similar requirement for convictions under section 261.5 (sexual intercourse with a minor). We concluded that, at least for voluntary oral copulation with a 16- or 17-year-old minor, the registration requirement could not withstand rational basis review and accordingly, was a violation of equal protection. (Hofsheier, at pp. 1200-1207.) Following our decision in Hofsheier, the Department of Justice advised Picklesimer and others of the possibility they could be eligible to have their names removed from the state sex offender registry.

(2) Picklesimer sought relief by filing a motion in the trial court, purportedly as part of People v. Picklesimer (Super. Ct. Trinity County, 1993, No. 92CR065), the People's long-since-final criminal prosecution of him. However, "[t]here is no statutory authority for a trial court to entertain a postjudgment motion that is unrelated to any proceeding then pending before the court. [Citation.] Indeed, a motion is not an independent remedy. It is ancillary to an on-going action and `"implies the pendency of a suit between the parties and is confined to incidental matters in the progress of the cause. As the rule is sometimes expressed, a motion relates to some question collateral to the main object of the action and is connected with, and dependent on, the principal remedy."' [Citation.] In most cases, after the judgment has become final, there is nothing pending to which a motion may attach." (Lewis v. Superior Court (2008) 169 Cal.App.4th 70, 76-77 .)

(3) Although exceptions to the rule precluding postjudgment motions exist,2 Picklesimer does not demonstrate persuasively that any apply. Relying on one of our more ancient pronouncements, he argues that once the Court of Appeal issued its remittitur after affirming the original judgment, the trial court's jurisdiction over the case, largely suspended during the pendency of the appeal, resumed. (See People v. Dick (1870) 39 Cal. 102, 103-104.) While this is true, the argument speaks only to the allocation of jurisdiction between trial courts and Courts of Appeal and does not address the core issue—the actual scope of the trial court's postjudgment jurisdiction. Following appellate affirmance of a trial court judgment and issuance of a remittitur, "the trial court is revested with jurisdiction of the case, but only to carry out the judgment as ordered by the appellate court." (People v. Dutra (2006) 145 Cal.App.4th 1359, 1366 ; see § 1265, subd. (a) [following receipt of remittitur, the trial court has jurisdiction to issue "all orders necessary to carry the judgment into effect"].) As both parties recognize, Picklesimer's registration requirements and placement in the state sex offender registry are not part of the judgment in his case, but rather collateral consequences of that judgment. Accordingly, the trial court's jurisdiction to issue orders carrying out the judgment did not grant it authority to act on a motion seeking to modify an obligation that was not any part of the judgment.3

Nor is Picklesimer's obligation to register part of an unauthorized sentence, which the trial court would have had jurisdiction to correct at any time. (See In re Sheena K. (2007) 40 Cal.4th 875, 882 & fn. 3, 887 [55 Cal.Rptr.3d 716, 153 P.3d 282]; People v. Scott (1994) 9 Cal.4th 331, 354 [36 Cal.Rptr.2d 627, 885 P.2d 1040]; In re Harris (1993) 5 Cal.4th 813, 840 [21 Cal.Rptr.2d 373, 855 P.2d 391] ["`Fundamental jurisdictional defects [i.e., acts in excess of jurisdiction], like constitutional defects, do not become irremediable when a judgment of conviction becomes final, even after affirmance on appeal.'"].) Rather, the obligation is a separate consequence of Picklesimer's conviction automatically imposed as a matter of law.

(4) Finally, we reject Picklesimer's argument that Code of Civil Procedure section 187 creates jurisdiction to address his motion. (See People v. Hyde, supra, 49 Cal.App.3d 97 [relying on Code Civ. Proc., § 187 as authority for a trial court to hear a postjudgment motion for presentencing custody credits].) Section 187 of the Code of Civil Procedure provides: "When jurisdiction is, by the Constitution or this Code, or by any other statute, conferred on a Court or judicial officer, all the means necessary to carry it into effect are also given; and in the exercise of this jurisdiction, if the course of proceeding be not specifically pointed out by this Code or the statute, any suitable process or mode of proceeding may be adopted which may appear most conformable to the spirit of this Code." The section does not speak to jurisdiction; it does not create jurisdiction; rather, the existence of jurisdiction is the premise for its application. Where jurisdiction exists from other sources, Code of Civil Procedure section 187 grants courts authority to exercise any of their various powers as may be necessary to carry out that jurisdiction. To the extent jurisdiction to hear Picklesimer's motion is otherwise lacking, Code of Civil Procedure section 187 affords Picklesimer no comfort here.4

(5) That a postjudgment motion is unavailable does not mean dismissal is mandated. As the People concede, every right must have a remedy. (See People v. Hyde, supra, 49 Cal.App.3d at p. 101 ["[A] right but no expeditious and adequate remedy. . . . is an unconscionable situation which a court of justice cannot tolerate."].)

(6) For a defendant still in actual or constructive custody, a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the trial court is the preferred method by which to challenge circumstances or actions declared unconstitutional after the defendant's conviction became final. (See People v. Fuhrman (1997) 16 Cal.4th 930, 942 [67 Cal.Rptr.2d 1,...

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