United States v. Becker

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 06-19-2012
  • Case #: 11-30250
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Gould for the Court; Circuit Judges Bybee and Bea
  • Full Text Opinion

For purposes of ordering a defendant to register as a sex offender, knowingly taking or receiving obscene matters from an interactive computer service, a crime that does not amount to a categorical “sex offense” under SORNA, constitutes a “sex offense” where the defendant pleads guilty to the offense.

At a change of plea proceeding, Scott Andrew Becker pled guilty to downloading and possessing child pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1462, “a crime that does not categorically constitute a ‘sex offense’ as defined by the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (‘SORNA’).” Becker received a sixty-month custodial term along with a three-year supervised release term. Becker appealed the district court’s order requiring him to register as a sex offender pursuant to SORNA, which the district court issued after Becker violated the conditions of his supervised release. On appeal, Becker argued that the district court committed plain error when it failed to make findings of fact that he was a sex offender as defined by SORNA. He also claimed that the district court erred in failing to provide reasons for imposing the registration requirement. The Ninth Circuit applied “a modified categorical approach to classify an underlying offense as a sex offense under SORNA for the purpose of determining whether SORNA registration was required.” The Court found that Becker’s admissions at the change of plea proceedings confirmed that Becker committed a “sex offense” under SORNA. As such, SORNA required the district court to impose the registration condition. AFFIRMED.

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