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People v. Wilson

Court of Appeals of Colorado, Fifth Division

June 29, 2017

The People of the State of Colorado, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Gregory James Wilson, Defendant-Appellant.

          Prior Opinion Announced May 18, 2017, WITHDRAWN

          Jefferson County District Court No. 13CR2831 Honorable Margie L. Enquist, Judge

          Cynthia H. Coffman, Attorney General, Joseph G. Michaels, Assistant Attorney General, Denver, Colorado, for Plaintiff-Appellee

          Douglas K. Wilson, Colorado State Public Defender, Lisa Weisz, Deputy State Public Defender, Denver, Colorado, for Defendant-Appellant

          OPINION

          DUNN, JUDGE

          ¶ 1 Gregory James Wilson is required to register as a sex offender. After he was released from custody, he did not do so. He was then charged with - and convicted of - failure to register as a sex offender. Wilson now appeals that conviction. We affirm.

         I. Sufficiency of the Evidence

          ¶ 2 Wilson contends that the evidence was insufficient to show that he knowingly failed to register as a sex offender. We disagree.

         A. Governing Law

         ¶ 3 We review de novo whether the evidence is sufficient to support a conviction. Dempsey v. People, 117 P.3d 800, 807 (Colo. 2005). In doing so, we evaluate the evidence as a whole and in the light most favorable to the prosecution to determine whether it is substantial and sufficient to support a conclusion that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. People v. Johnson, 2016 COA 15, ¶ 16. All reasonable inferences are drawn in the prosecution's favor. Id.

         ¶ 4 A defendant is guilty of failing to register as a sex offender when, as relevant here, he does not register with his local law enforcement agency within five business days after being released from incarceration. § 18-3-412.5(1)(a), C.R.S. 2016; see also § 16-22-108(1)(a)(II), C.R.S. 2016.

         ¶ 5 Although the statute does not include any specific mental state, a division of this court has concluded that "the failure to register as a sex offender is not a strict liability offense but includes the mental state of 'knowingly.'" People v. Lopez, 140 P.3d 106, 113 (Colo.App. 2005). Knowledge requires only that the defendant knew the factual circumstances that made his conduct illegal, not the "technical understanding of the relevant statutes." People v. Allman, 2012 COA 212, ¶ 36.

         ¶ 6 Despite the fact that the prosecution argued at trial that Wilson acted knowingly, the People now argue that failure to register is a strict liability offense and that People v. Lopez, 140 P.3d 106, was wrongly decided. Because we conclude that sufficient evidence supports the trial court's finding that Wilson acted knowingly, we decline to revisit Lopez.

         B. Analysis

         ¶ 7 Viewed in the light most favorable to the prosecution, the ...


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